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Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

First published:
2 October 2014
Last updated:

This was published under the 2011 to 2016 administration of the Welsh Government

Today, I am launching Qualified for Life – An Education Improvement Plan for Wales. 

Building on the Improving Schools Plan and the actions we have implemented since 2011, Qualified for Life sets out our vision and aims for education to 2020.  This vision is underpinned by four strategic objectives and associated actions which will ensure we continue our improvement journey.  It sets out what we will do over the course of the next six years, very firmly putting the learner at the heart of everything we do.

The document is structured around a clear vision that learners in Wales will enjoy teaching and learning that inspires them to succeed, in an education community that works cooperatively and aspires to be great, where the potential of every child and young person is actively developed.  Our vision is supported by a single aim – that every child and young person should benefit from excellent teaching and learning.  To deliver our aim and vision we are setting out four strategic objectives.

The four strategic aims are:


  1. An excellent professional workforce with strong pedagogy based on an understanding of what works;
  2. A curriculum which is engaging and attractive to children and young people and which develops within them an independent ability to apply knowledge and skills;
  3. The qualifications young people achieve are nationally and internationally respected and act as a credible passport to their future learning and employment; and 
  4. Leaders of education at every level working together in a self-improving system, providing mutual support and challenge to raise standards in all schools.


Our priorities continue to be raising standards in literacy and numeracy and breaking the link between deprivation and low attainment.  There is no watering down of these priorities – they underpin our strategic objectives.

Along with a clear expression of our long term vision for learners’ success in Wales, we are setting out a clear plan of action to turn our objectives into reality and to secure sustained improvement across education, and these are set out in a delivery timeline.

The benefits of an excellent education system are well-understood.  There are positive impacts on the economy, on the health and well-being of the nation, social cohesion, as well as a more equitable and successful society.  This is what I want for Wales.

Our ambition is to achieve scores of 500 in each of reading, mathematics and science in the PISA tests 2021.  At the same time we will significantly decrease the percentage of learners achieving at or below PISA proficiency level 2.

We will regularly measure our progress by:


  1. improvements in learners’ standards of literacy and numeracy, including higher order thinking skills and the application of knowledge and skills;
  2. reductions in the attainment gap between learners eligible for free school meals and their non-free school meals peers; and
  3. improved confidence in the education system among parents/carers, employers, further and higher education institutions.


A Wales Education Report Card will be published annually, setting out a range of performance indicators to evidence progress.