The Minister for Education and Skills asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales to provide advice on the best ways to provide effective pupil support in secondary schools. In response to this request, we held an expert workshop in November 2015 attended by academics, practitioners, Welsh Government officials from a range of departments and the Minister for Education and Skills. This report, written by PPIW’s Lauren Carter-Davies, summarises the key lessons and recommendations made by the independent experts at the workshop about how to improve pupil support in secondary schools in Wales. Experts stressed the importance of:
- A whole school approach to pupil support. This requires a school ethos that is focused on promoting wellbeing, strong leadership, buy in from staff, the involvement of pupils in the design and delivery of support, engagement with families, communities, external agencies and employers, collaboration between schools and a long term perspective;
- Responsibility for pupil support being shared by all teachers. Nonetheless, it was suggested that specialist teams have a role to play in providing specialist support working with external agencies;
- Putting wellbeing at the centre of the curriculum. This will require a change of attitude among teachers – in particular a greater awareness of the links between academic attainment and wellbeing;
- Improved information sharing between primary and secondary school to help make support during and following transitions more seamless;
- A clear ‘line of sight’ from age 3 to 16. Some young people struggle to come to terms with differences in the ways they are taught in primary and secondary school. Examples are given for how the transition might be eased;
- Improving Personal and Social Education (PSE) in Wales. This involves refreshing the status of PSE, considering how it is assessed and involving pupils in the design of the curriculum.
- Innovation in approaches to pupil support. There is a lot of good practice in Wales which can be learnt from and built on but approaches to pupil support should be flexible and creative to support the diverse needs of pupils.
The Welsh Government’s plans to reform the curriculum, teaching training and Continuing Professional Development in Wales provide an important opportunity to improve pupil support in Wales.
To view the report, click here.
A blog by Phil Jones, Chair of the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education and Head of The Stanway Federation Learning Centre, can be viewed here.