In this section
Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - The Draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill »We are committed to ensuring that out-of-control and dangerous dogs are dealt with effectively.Learn more »
Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
Health Minister Mark Drakeford has given a clear message to NHS managers to take action in response to the recent NHS Wales staff survey
- Minister supports International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- Porth Eirias set to be major North Wales attraction
- Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
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- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
In this section
Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
National minimum standards for regulated child care »These standards determine whether child minding and day care settings are providing adequate care for children under the age of 8.Learn more »
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Repealing air quality ‘Further Assessments’ from Part IV of the Environment Act 1995
- Equality Impact Assessment of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan for Wales
- Consultation on the Equality Impact Assessments for the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Programmes in Wales
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
28 days left
In this section
Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
The Education Bill
Jane Davidson, Minister for Education & Lifelong Learning
- Mr Presiding Officer, I wish to make a statement about the England and Wales Education Bill, currently before Parliament.
- Members may recall my earlier statement on 27 November, soon after the Education Bill was published following consultation on policy commitments and proposals made in the White Paper for England ‘Schools – Achieving Success’ and ‘The Learning Country’ for Wales.
- ‘The Learning Country’ was overwhelmingly well received. Our proposals attracted strong support from a wide range of interests throughout Wales. In turn, ‘The Learning Country’ agenda has had a huge impact on the provisions in the Education Bill as they affect Wales. Provisions which will enable us to take significant steps forward, at our own pace and in directions best suited to our different needs and circumstances, to realise our comprehensive education and training agenda for:
- improving early years provision and support for parents;
- better transition between primary and secondary schools;
- establishing an SEN Tribunal for Wales and providing
regional provision for children with more complex needs;
- enabling schools to operate more flexibly, innovatively and
- strengthening partnerships arrangements between schools
- completing the development of the national curriculum for
- transforming provision for 14 to 19 year olds; and
- providing more support to practitioners through continuing
- All this shows that devolution is working. Indeed, during the successful Second Reading of the Bill on 4 December, when there was no suggestion of any substantial disagreement with provisions proposed for Wales, the House displayed a ready understanding and recognition of the rationale and nature of the settlement, and the virtue of this Assembly’s capacity to shape and implement its own policy.
- The Education Bill has now moved on to its next stage and, as I speak, it is being scrutinised, clause by clause, in Standing Committee G of the House. The Committee has debated Part 1 (provision for new legal frameworks), Part 2 (financial assistance for education and childcare) and the provisions for the governance and financing of maintained schools. It is currently debating the provisions relating to admissions, exclusions and attendance (Clause 44 onwards). The Bill will be in Committee until 24 January and, subject to confirmation by the House authorities, is likely to reach the Lords by Easter.
- But members may find it helpful now, if I clarify several matters about the Bill which have been brought to my attention.
- I have been asked to confirm that the curriculum requirements for the key stages do not constrain the teaching of Welsh to Welsh-medium schools only. I am happy to confirm that that is not the case as clause 101 (curriculum requirements for the first, second and third key stages) and clause 102 (curriculum requirements for the fourth key stage) provide for the teaching of Welsh in every maintained school in Wales. I would also wish to allay concerns about the teaching of English at key stage 1 in Welsh medium schools. This is optional under the (National Curriculum) (Exceptions)(Wales) Regulations 1995. These Regulations will remain in force and I have no plans to change them.
- The Welsh Local Government Association has expressed concerns about powers for this Assembly in respect of budgets (clause 40); intervention as regards schools causing concern (clauses 51 to 56) and LEAs (clauses 57 to 61); and powers for schools’ governing bodies to form companies etc (clauses 10 and 11).
- The powers about budgets and intervention should not be viewed as diminishing, or a threat to, the functions of local authorities. They are fall -back measures of last resort. The terms on which they would be used would be settled not in London but here. That allows us to take our close partnership with local government into account every step of the way. Our commitment to local government’s role is clearly emphasised in the distinctive provisions being sought to strengthen partnership between schools and LEAs through partnership agreements and the establishment of local forums to consider funding issues.
- As regards powers for schools’ governing bodies to form companies etc this is not about changing the responsibilities of LEAs and governing bodies for the delivery of education provision – it is about giving new LEAs and schools scope to develop new ways of securing the services which they need to deliver education – for example legal, financial , technical or advisory services for which schools already have delegated funding. Clause 11 of the Bill limits the use of such powers so that they cannot be exercised by a governing body except with the consent of the relevant LEA. Furthermore, the Assembly will have regulatory powers to designate a LEA as supervising authority for any company. So the basic control framework will be applied on the basis of legislation devised here. Those regulations will be subject to very full and careful public consultation in advance. It will be for the Assembly to decide on when to commence the powers of governing bodies in the light of that consultation. Clause 12 contains a further power related to companies. The proposed power is for England only - to allow the Secretary of State to form or participate in companies for the purpose of delivering her education functions. We have said that we are content not to have such a power. The circumstances in which it is likely to be needed in England – to promote investment in voluntary aided schools – are unlikely to arise here. Existing mechanisms for delivery of the Assembly’s education functions, including those relating to voluntary aided schools, in partnership with local authorities and others will meet our needs for the foreseeable future.
- The Bill includes at clause 180 provision for regulations to be made for the Secretary of State to pay off, over time, the student loans of new teachers in shortage subjects (expected to be maths, English, languages - including Welsh - science and technology). While this is not a matter devolved to the Assembly it is very welcome since the scheme will provide an increased incentive to teachers of these subjects in Wales and in England to stay in the teaching profession in the early years of their career.
- So I can report very welcome and positive progress over translating our agenda for education and training into the Westminster legislative process. It is no small thing to have set a wholly new constitutional precedent in that context. A process with a bias towards uniformity in legislative provision as between England and Wales has been re-shaped to meet the variable geometry of devolution – to cater for different systems and policies. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of what is happening - and its promise. I shall certainly make a further statement on the results to Plenary in due course.