Towards the end of last year, the Minister for Education and Skills asked the PPIW to convene a half day workshop to bring together a select group of experts with senior Welsh Government representatives to identify the evidence needs of the primary, secondary and post 16 education system (excluding Higher Education) in Wales over the coming assembly term.
In the coming five years, the education system in Wales will undergo a significant programme of reform intended to fundamentally change the way that it operates. At the same time, there will be sustained pressure to improve attainment levels overall, and particularly for disadvantaged groups; and pressure to ‘deliver’ on the Welsh medium education. All of which will be against a back drop of further austerity which, even if education budgets are protected, will put strain on the education system.
In light of the challenges likely to be faced in the coming assembly term our latest PPIW Expert Workshop, held on 2nd February 2016, bought experts together to discuss the evidence gaps in three key areas:
- The Welsh Government’s package of reform;
- Closing the attainment gap; and
- Welsh medium education.
For each of these key areas, the workshop participants were asked to identify the research questions that will need to be addressed over the next five years; suggest the best approaches to addressing these questions; and highlight any issues of capacity, funding and other resources. Relative importance, cost and timescale were taken into account in prioritising research questions.
The workshop was attended by academics from across the UK as well as representatives from the Education Endowment Foundation, Estyn, the RSA, Qualifications Wales and Welsh Government. We plan to publish a summary of the discussion and recommendations flowing from the workshop in due course.