9.5.02

Minister for Education 9.5.02

 

Education in Delyn (National Council Funds)

 

Alison Halford:

 How much of the corporate strategy and plan of the National Council for Education and Training for Wales’s £1.5 billion budget, announced on 11 March 2002, will be spent to help education in Delyn? (WAQ17564)

 

Jane Davidson:

The national council’s expenditure plans for the current financial year are set out in its operational plan, which I approved in April. The operational plan takes account of the strategic goals and priorities that were published in the council’s corporate strategy and corporate plan—the specific requirements and budgetary provision for 2002-03 which I issued to the council in my annual remit letter in March—and the initial regional assessments of need prepared by the council’s regional committees (with input from the community consortia for education and training).The council’s corporate plan also takes account of the budgetary provision made available by the Welsh Assembly Government for 2002-03, together with indicative budget figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05. These indicative figures are subject to possible revision in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review. 


Education in Delyn (New Opportunities Fund)


Alison Halford:

How much will Delyn’s local education authority be receiving from the joint initiative by the new opportunities fund and the physical education and sport programme launched by the Minister for Culture, Sport and the Welsh Language and the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning in November 2001? (WAQ17565)

 

Jane Davidson:

The physical education and school sport taskforce’s ‘Action Plan for Wales’, published in June 2001, established a platform for the improvement of standards in physical education and school sport for all young people in Wales. I welcomed the plan and made resources available to the Sports Council for Wales to take forward the key recommendations. In particular, the sports council has been charged with the piloting of curriculum development centres to test innovative approaches to the delivery of the curriculum.Each curriculum development centre brings together primary and secondary schools to work with local partners, including colleges, higher education providers and leisure centres, to identify and make best use of innovative approaches to the sharing of facilities, expertise and best practice. The approaches used and lessons derived, over a two-year period, will be shared with others to contribute to the raising of standards across Wales.
There are currently three curriculum development centres in Wales. The sports council is in discussion with a number of schools in Flintshire to determine whether there is the potential for the establishment of a curriculum development centre. Given that this is pilot work, costs for the running of a curriculum development centre are agreed on a case-by-case basis with the sports council.
Sports Council for Wales and Assembly officials have worked closely with the new opportunities fund to ensure that the fund’s new opportunities for physical education and school sport programme complements action being taken under the Assembly’s physical education and school sport taskforce’s ‘Action Plan for Wales’. The NOF funding, of £48 million over four years, will be targeted at the building of new facilities and refurbishment of existing facilities. NOF has made an indicative allocation of £1.9 million available to the local authority in Flintshire. The allocation has been calculated by reference to a formula based on school population and the percentage of population in deprived areas. Provision of funding is contingent on proposals being agreed in line with the programme guidance issued by NOF. 


Treatment of Lesbian and Gay People in Schools

Alison Halford:

What action is the Minister taking to ensure that lesbian and gay lifestyles/people are treated equally in all schools throughout Wales, both in teaching material and in the school’s treatment of pupils and staff? (WAQ17566)

 

Jane Davidson:

 I am fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, across every aspect of education. Schools already have a statutory duty to ensure that the curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils at the school and of society. Schools must also prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. I believe that pupils’ development, in particular their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, cannot be properly promoted unless it is built on foundations which recognise and respect diversity.The Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales’s guidance entitled ‘Equal Opportunities and Diversity in the School Curriculum in Wales’, was published in December 2001 and a copy was sent to every school in Wales. The guidance identifies the scope within the school curriculum for teaching and learning about equality of opportunity and respecting diversity. It helps teachers to inform pupils about these issues and enables them to challenge prejudice and stereotyping through work in across the curriculum subjects. Included in this guidance is an example of drama work in which Theatr Fforwm Cymru has participated with year 12 pupils as part of personal and social education. The sixth formers undertake training with Theatr Fforwm Cymru on equality issues such as gender, race, disability and homophobia and then explore situations in which prejudice and discrimination can arise.The personal and social education framework also asserts that pupils should recognise and know how to challenge expressions of prejudice and stereotyping, and emphasises the promotion of equal opportunities for all.
In terms of school life more generally, National Assembly Circular 3/99, ‘Pupil Support and Social Inclusion’ emphasises the requirement on headteachers to take measures to prevent all forms of bullying. This includes homophobic bullying, and I expect schools to reinforce its unacceptability.In the autumn I will also be meeting representatives from all major equality, diversity and ethnic minority groups, and Governors Wales, to discuss diversity in schools and the promotion of equality of opportunity for staff and pupils in all aspects of school life, such as the recruitment of staff and pupil behaviour.
Guidance on equality issues for schools/governors already exists in ‘The School Governors Guide to the Law’ booklet, which is distributed to all governors of maintained schools in Wales. The guide recommends that all schools should have an equality policy clearly setting out the governing body’s responsibilities and policy for the equal treatment of all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic or national origins, and disability. 
Treatment of Ethnic Minorities in Schools
Alison Halford: What action is the Minister taking to ensure that ethnic minority lifestyles/people are treated equally in all schools throughout Wales both in teaching material and in the school’s treatment of pupils and staff? (WAQ17567)Jane Davidson: I am fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of ethnicity, across every aspect of education. Schools already have a statutory duty to ensure that the curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils at the school and of society. Schools must also prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. I believe that pupils’ development, in particular their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, cannot be properly promoted unless it is built on foundations which respect and value diversity.The Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales’s guidance entitled ‘Equal Opportunities and Diversity in the School Curriculum in Wales’, issued in December 2001. I am certain this guidance will play an important role in encouraging young people to have a greater tolerance and understanding of different ethnic groups. A copy of this guidance was sent to every school in Wales.Alongside the curriculum, ACCAC have produced a personal and social education framework which schools may use to address issues relating to prejudice and racism, the value of diversity and the promotion of opportunities for all. The status of the PSE framework is currently under further examination by the Assembly Government.
However, the most significant change in race equality legislation is about to be introduced by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. From the end of this month, new statutory duties will be placed on all public bodies including local education authorities and schools to actively promote racial equality, good race relations and eliminate unlawful racial discrimination. Under the Act, schools will be required to prepare and maintain a written race equality policy. I have recently written to all schools to remind them of their obligations under the new legislation and am currently considering promoting draft guidance prepared by the Commission for Racial Equality designed to help schools prepare a race equality policy.
In the autumn I will also be meeting representatives from all major equality, disability and ethnic groups, and Governors Wales, to discuss diversity in schools and the promotion of equality of opportunity for staff and pupils in all aspects of school life.
Guidance on equality issues for schools/governors already exists in National Assembly guidance entitled ‘The School Governors Guide to the Law’. This document has been distributed to all governors of maintained schools in Wales. It recommends that all schools should have an equality policy clearly setting out the governing body’s responsibilities and policy for the equal treatment for all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic or national origins and disability. 
Treatment of Disabled People in Schools
Alison Halford: What action is the Minister taking to ensure that disabled people are treated equally in all schools throughout Wales, both in teaching material and in the school’s treatment of pupils and staff? (WAQ17568)Jane Davidson: I am fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of disability, across every aspect of education. Schools already have a statutory duty to ensure that the curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils at the school and of society. Schools must also prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. I believe that pupils’ development, in particular their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, cannot be properly promoted unless it is built on foundations which respect and value diversity.ACCAC’s guidance entitled ‘Equal Opportunities and Diversity in the School Curriculum in Wales’, was published in December 2001 and a copy was sent to every school in Wales. The guidance identifies the scope within the school curriculum for teaching and learning about equality of opportunity and respecting diversity. It helps teachers to inform pupils about these issues and enables them to challenge prejudice and stereotyping through work across the curriculum subjects. Chapters 11 to 13 of this guidance show how pupils can explore issues relating to disability through literature, personal and social education, and design and technology.The PSE framework also requires that pupils should recognise and know how to challenge expressions of prejudice and stereotyping, and emphasises the promotion of equal opportunities for all.
From 1 April this year, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 strengthens the right to mainstream education for children with special educational needs. It also places new duties on schools and local education authorities to plan strategically and make progress in increasing physical accessibility to schools premises and to the curriculum.
In the autumn I will also be meeting representatives from all major equality, diversity and ethnic minority groups, and Governors Wales, to discuss diversity in schools and the promotion of equality of opportunity for staff and pupils in all aspects of school life, such as the recruitment of staff and pupil behaviour.
Guidance on equality issues for schools/governors already exists in ‘The School Governors Guide to the Law’ booklet, which is distributed to all governors of maintained schools in Wales. The guide recommends that all schools should have an equality policy clearly setting out the governing body’s responsibilities and policy for the equal treatment of all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic or national origins and disability. 

Equal Treatment of Gender in Schools

Alison Halford:

What action is the Minister taking to ensure that both genders are treated equally in all schools throughout Wales, both in teaching material/methods and in the school’s treatment of pupils and staff? (WAQ17569)

 

Jane Davidson:

 I am fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all genders across every aspect of education. Schools already have a statutory duty to ensure that the curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils at the school and of society. Schools must also prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. I believe that pupils’ development, in particular their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, cannot be properly promoted unless it is built on foundations which respect and value diversity.ACCAC guidance entitled ‘Equal Opportunities and Diversity in the School Curriculum in Wales’, was published in December 2001 and a copy was sent to every school in Wales. The guidance identifies the scope within the school curriculum for teaching and learning about equality of opportunity and respecting diversity. It helps teachers to inform pupils about these issues and enables them to challenge prejudice and stereotyping through work across the curriculum subjects. Chapters 15 to 17 of this guidance show how schools might challenge gender stereotyping in sport, through personal and social education and in history.The PSE framework also requires that pupils should recognise and know how to challenge expressions of prejudice and stereotyping, and emphasises the promotion of equal opportunities for all.
I addition I helped to launch a pack for all secondary schools, produced by the Equal Opportunities Commission, as part of its campaign to tackle gender stereotyping in December last year. The pack, called ‘Women. Men. Different. Equal’, is designed to be a tool for teachers and careers advisers, helping them to break down barriers and give young people the confidence to fulfil their ambitions.In the autumn I will be meeting representatives from all major equality, diversity and ethnic minority groups, and Governors Wales, to discuss diversity in schools and the promotion of equality of opportunity for staff and pupils in all aspects of school life, such as the recruitment of staff and pupil behaviour.
Guidance on equality issues for schools/governors already exists in ‘The School Governors Guide to the Law’ booklet, which is distributed to all governors of maintained schools in Wales. The guide recommends that all schools should have an equality policy clearly setting out the governing body’s responsibilities and policy for the equal treatment of all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic or national origins and disability. 
Equal Treatment of Single Parent Families in Schools
Alison Halford: What action is the Minister taking to ensure that single parent families are treated equally in all schools throughout Wales, both in teaching material/methods and in the school’s treatment of pupils and staff? (WAQ17570)Jane Davidson: I am fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of family situations or background, across every aspect of education. Schools already have a statutory duty to ensure that the curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils at the school and of society. Schools must also prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. I believe that pupils’ development, in particular their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, cannot be properly promoted unless it is built on foundations which respect and value diversity.ACCAC’s guidance entitled ‘Equal Opportunities and Diversity in the School Curriculum in Wales’, was published in December 2001 and a copy was sent to every school in Wales. The guidance identifies the scope within the school curriculum for teaching and learning about equality of opportunity and respecting diversity. It helps teachers to inform pupils about these issues and enables them to challenge prejudice and stereotyping through work across the curriculum subjects. In Chapter 10 of this guidance, a project in Torfaen shows how schools might involve pupils and families experiencing social exclusion for reasons such as race, disability or family set-up, in celebrating the cultural diversity in the community.The PSE framework also requires that pupils should recognise and know how to challenge expressions of prejudice and stereotyping, and emphasises the promotion of equal opportunities for all. Pupils should understand the variety of roles in families and the contributions made by each member. They should also become aware of changing relationships in the family and understand the effects of loss and change in relationships, for example in divorce and bereavement.
Forthcoming guidance on sex and relationships education in schools is also likely to emphasise the Welsh Assembly Government’s recognition that there are strong and mutually supportive relationships outside of marriage and that we live in a diverse society where pupils will come from a variety of family backgrounds. Teachers should take care to approach all children with sensitivity and respect and ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances.In the autumn I will also be meeting representatives from all major equality, diversity and ethnic minority groups, and Governors Wales, to discuss diversity in schools and the promotion of equality of opportunity for staff and pupils in all aspects of school life, such as the recruitment of staff and pupil behaviour.
Guidance on equality issues for schools/governors already exists in ‘School Governors: a Guide to the Law’ booklet, which is distributed to all governors of maintained schools in Wales. The guide recommends that all schools should have an equality policy clearly setting out the governing body’s responsibilities and policy for the equal treatment of all. It states, for example, that the governing body must not discriminate against an applicant for a post or against an existing member of staff on the grounds of sex, race, marital status or disability.


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