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
29 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 »
Oral - The Foundation Phase
The foundation phase is one of the most significant reforms that the Welsh Assembly Government is introducing in the 'One Wales’ programme. Its aim is to change the approach to the education of our three to 7-year-olds to provide the best possible start to their learning. Fully evaluated, the foundation phase reforms have been widely welcomed by local authorities, schools and parents. In my written statement of 29 April, I reported that additional funding would be required, over and above the £25 million grant secured in the 2008-09 budget for the roll-out of the foundation phase from September.
I would like to make it clear that local authorities were asked to undertake an audit in 2006 in preparation for the roll-out of the foundation phase; there was a disappointing response. On the evidence of the information provided to date, some authorities have a clear picture of how they will move forward already, but others do not. However, I pay tribute to those authorities that already have the information and have built a clear foundation phase strategy as a result.
I am committed to rolling out the 1:8 adult to child ratio for three to 5-year-olds from September 2008. The information that local authorities have now provided demonstrates that a significant amount of progress can be made towards achieving the 1:8 ratio in the 2008-09 school year.
In order to safeguard the successful pilots and their continuity during roll-out, I am able to announce today an additional £5 million for this financial year, which will be found from within my existing departmental budget. It will be ring-fenced to provide full support for the pilot and early start schools across Wales. Provision will be made in finalising my budget for 2009-10 for this transitional support to continue for the summer term 2009. This additional funding will do two things. First, it will ensure that the pilot and early start schools can maintain their staffing for the foundation phase, to provide high-quality learning for their children and act as champions of good practice for other schools and settings in their authority. It also means that, during the 2008-09 transition school year, local authorities will not have to support these schools for the autumn and spring terms from the £25 million already secured for this financial year. My expectation is that, as a result of this additional funding, local authorities will use more of the £25 million to fund additional staff for the roll-out in their other schools. How many additional staff there will be compared with their current calculations will vary from authority to authority, depending on the costs involved in each pilot and early start school.
As a condition of the foundation phase grant, I am requiring all local authorities to provide the Welsh Assembly Government with their final plans for use of the grant by 30 May. Authorities will be expected to notify schools of their allocations by the end of May to enable them to recruit staff for September. My officials will be assisting authorities in finalising their plans and it is essential that, in turn, local authorities involve their schools. Our tri-level approach is based on a commitment to partnership working. Schools are clearly at the forefront and pupils are at the heart of all that we do.
I can also report that, yesterday, I chaired the first meeting of the foundation phase implementation task and finish group, which includes representatives of the key stakeholders—the Welsh Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Education in Wales, the teachers’ unions, early years experts and Estyn. The meeting was positive, with all around the table committed to seeking the successful roll-out of the foundation phase and welcoming the partnership approach to achieving that. I am also requiring authorities to collect data by the end of June regarding the current position in their schools. This will confirm the workforce currently available to deliver the foundation phase and give an estimate of the total number of three to five-year-olds projected to be in each school in September. The Welsh Assembly Government will work with local authorities to conduct an audit of these data in order to provide a baseline against which to judge progress made in September. The £5 million that I am making available this year will be assessed against this information in reaching conclusions about future resource levels. Close monitoring will be maintained throughout the roll-out, working alongside the WLGA and ADEW. The Assembly Government will also review the January 2008 pupil level annual school census data with local authorities, together with the PLASC requirements for 2009, in order to secure improved information and to achieve an educationally and financially sustainable roll-out in future years.
I will conclude with a brief mention of the expectations of schools and the part that Estyn has to play. We are supporting the 1:8 ratio because we believe that the delivery of the new statutory curriculum for three to five-year-olds will be better as a result. However, the ratio itself is not statutory; it is the quality of teaching and learning that is key to success. Estyn has confirmed to me that the advice to inspectors will be to base their judgments on the effective use by the school of the available resources and on the quality of teaching and learning, not on whether or not the ratio has been achieved. The advice will also reflect the fact that it will take time, in any event, for the foundation phase to bed down. I have spoken with the chief inspector of Estyn, who will be writing to local education authorities to set out Estyn’s position in relation to the inspection of the foundation phase from September 2008.
I am grateful for the support across this Chamber for the foundation phase. There is much still to be done, but I believe that if the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, schools and their representatives continue to work together in the ways that I have indicated, we will see significant progress in rolling out the foundation phase in September—progress that we will build on in future years to secure this fundamental and far-reaching change in early years education.