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Two bills, two years: major education legislation on the way

Two major pieces of education legislation, designed to improve schools and teaching, will be launched in the next two years, the Welsh Government has announced.

Setting out his Government's five-year legislative programme this week, first minister Carwyn Jones said the first education bill, focusing on schools and standards, will be introduced early next year.

The Schools and Standards (Wales) Bill will make changes to the school reorganisation process, force councils to take account of the Welsh language in their education plans, and streamline a number of education grants paid to local authorities.

Mr Jones said a second education bill, which will include measures on performance management and continuing professional development, will be introduced in 201213. The first minister said this bill would also support further collaboration between local authorities.

"We are committed to consortia working as the model for delivering educational services in the future, and we expect our local authorities to commit to working together to deliver the regional working agenda," Mr Jones told Assembly Members.

In the second half of the legislative programme, the Government will also introduce a bill to improve children's rights and expand the role of the Children's Commissioner for Wales.

Speaking after the announcement, Conservative shadow minister for education Angela Burns said: "Following a series of damning reports into literacy and numeracy standards in Welsh schools, we need urgent measures to improve attainment by putting more control in the hands of teachers, parents and governors, because they know what is best for their local school.

"We would encourage proposals to increase the level of funding given directly to schools to improve resources on the front line, but would welcome greater emphasis on the implications of school reorganisations to protect successful smaller schools."

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