One Wales commits the Welsh Assembly Government to establishing a learning culture that helps to achieve social justice. In that context, the School Effectiveness Framework provides a solid basis for bringing together policies to tackle the link between educational attainment and socio-economic disadvantage. Research has long shown that socio-economic disadvantage is the single biggest obstacle to achievement in education and poverty currently affects one in three children and young people in Wales.
Since 2006, the Assembly Government has addressed this concern with its RAISE (Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education) programme. RAISE has funded schools in more challenging areas to explore sustainable ways of improving the achievements of disadvantaged pupils. In addition, it has provided local authorities with additional funding to improve the prospects of looked-after children.
One of the Assembly Government’s current priorities is to ensure that the lessons of RAISE figure prominently in the implementation of the School Effectiveness Framework. The RAISE grant has placed considerable emphasis on:
encouraging networking, so that schools work closely not only within their clusters, within their communities and with local agencies but also nationwide; and
embedding innovative, effective and sustainable approaches through our education system.
The sharing and dissemination of RAISE project outcomes has been facilitated through the establishment of a RAISE website, which provides case studies, good practice guides and reports to inform our understanding of strategies that work in tackling the link between poverty and under-achievement. The products from the fourth and final year of RAISE will be published here. These will provide a rich resource of guidance in our continuing drive to eradicate the under-achievement of our most vulnerable children and young people. In particular, the website will provide evaluative reports on all RAISE-funded initiatives in 2009-2010.