New Centre to Tackle Educational Disadvantage in Wales

Posted on 2 December 2013

Welsh Government Minster for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM, will today launch a new national policy and research centre which will address the challenges associated with educational disadvantage.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and University of Wales have set up the Wales Centre for Equity in Education, which will be officially launched this evening at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

The Centre represents a commitment by the universities to develop policy, applied research and innovative practice that will contribute to improving equity within the Welsh education system.

Education and Skills Minister Huw Lewis said: “At the very heart of our tackling Poverty Action Plan is the desire to give all children in Wales a fair chance in life.

“I am pleased that the new Wales Centre for Equity in Education, which I’m launching today, will have a specific focus on tackling low educational achievement in Wales, in particular the challenges associated with poverty, ethnicity and gender. I look forward to seeing this work adding value to our policies, improving equity in education.”

One-third of Welsh people officially live in poverty and, as the UK Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission recently reported, over a nine-year period approximately one-half of British citizens find themselves facing poverty. Most of this is ‘in work’ poverty where at least one member of a family is in employment but does not earn enough to keep the family above the poverty line.

Professor David Egan, Director of the Centre, said: “Education has a major role to play in responding to this; providing people, particularly young people, with the skills and qualifications that will enable them to enter the labour market and to earn wage levels that give them and their families a chance to avoid poverty.

“Currently, however, one of the strong features of education in Wales is its inequity. Boys tend to do less well than girls, some ethnic groups have far lower success rates than others and, in particular, children who grow up in poverty do less well in school. Those who need education to empower them most of all are often, therefore, those who do not fulfil their potential and improve their life-chances.” 

Through the Centre, educational equity will become a central theme of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional development activity undertaken by students and staff at the universities, particularly within the Faculties of Teacher Education and Social Sciences at UWTSD.

It will work with policy makers in central, regional and local Government in Wales and with the voluntary sector to develop and evaluate policies designed to improve educational achievement in pre-school, school and post-16 sectors. It will also link with similar Centres in other parts of the UK higher education system and internationally.

In addition, it will support practitioners in a range of education, community and family contexts so that its applied research and policy work has an impact on those living in poverty and seeking, through education, to improve their life-chances.

/Ends

Notes to the editor

1. Filming/photograph/interview opportunity with Huw Lewis AM, Professor David Egan (Director of the Centre) and Professor Medwin Hughes (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales and UWTSD). The launch takes place at 5:30pm on Monday 2nd December at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Senior PR and Communications Officer, on with Huw Lewis AM, Professor David Egan (Director of the Centre) and Professor Medwin Hughes (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales and UWTSD). The launch takes place at 5:30pm on Monday 2 December at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Senior PR and Communications Officer, on 07872 423788 or email pressoffice@smu.ac.uk

2. University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University. It’s Royal Charter (1828) is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the University’s Patron.

3. Founded by Royal Charter in 1893, University of Wales has played a substantial role in the development of higher education in Wales. Over the years the University has adapted in order to be in a position to respond to the needs of students, both in Wales and further afield.

The University will merge will University of Wales Trinity Saint David in the near future.

4. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion will merge with the Group in January 2014.

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