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At the Senedd

Your guide to what's being talked about by Assembly members at the latest department of education, lifelong learning and skills committee

LEADERSHIP ISSUES

Susan Lewis, chief inspector of schools for Welsh inspectorate Estyn, told committee members that headteachers needed to delegate more. It came after she was challenged by Lib-Dem chair, Peter Black AM, over lack of leadership claims in her annual report for 2005-06.

Ms Lewis, who faced questions over her report, published in January, replied: "Heads do not have to do everything themselves. There's a difference between accountability and responsibility."

Mr Black retorted: "Non-teaching duties, such as health and safety, is getting in the way of heads providing strategic leadership."

READING CONTROVERSY

Plaid Cymru AM Owen John Thomas argued that children's creativity could be stifled if they were pushed to read "before they were ready".

His remark comes after reports on the Read a Million Words campaign launched by the Basic Skills Agency earlier this month. More than 751 Welsh primaries signed up for the initiative that encourages pupils to read a million words by reading around the clock.

STRATEGY FOR YOUTH

A new national youth service strategy for Wales will be launched on March 15, it was announced.

Jane Davidson, minister for education, lifelong learning and skills, said 60 responses had been received during the consultation period which ended in January.

Ms Davidson said the strategy was not to drive young people into youth centres. But she was aware there were groups of young people hanging about outside the youth club. She said: "We must ask these people what they want."

DIVIDED OPINION

More than 350 consultation responses to future assessment arrangements for KS23 have been received, according to the minister's report. Provisional results show that while there is support in principle, there are concerns over manageability and workload.

Just over half of respondents (55%) supported plans which, from 2008-09, would make Year 5 skills assessments optional. However, a significant number (45%) felt they should be statutory. At KS3, according to the report, there is strong support for proposals linked to the model of accreditation of teacher assessment.

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