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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
22 days left
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
15th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers
Along with Education Ministers and representatives from 48 Commonwealth Countries, I attended 15 CCEM, which was held in Edinburgh from 27-30 October. The Theme of the Conference was Closing the Gap – Access, Inclusion and Achievement. Underpinning this theme were 6 Action Areas, which we sought to address, namely achieving universal primary education; eliminating gender disparity; Improving quality in education; using distance learning to overcome barriers; supporting education in difficult circumstances; and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in education
The Conference itself was divided into 4 interrelated elements:
- Ministers Conference;
- Parallel Symposium;
- Youth Summit; and
- Showcase of Best Practice
It was an intensive programme. On Monday 27 October, I held informal discussions with ministerial colleagues and officials following which, along with Charles Clarke and Jack McConnell, I met with representatives of Oxfam to accept Action cards, which formed part of a Global Campaign for Education. The key objective of that campaign is to secure Commonwealth Ministers commitment to ensuring that that the 59 million children throughout the Commonwealth who are missing out on schooling are provided with it. This objective was reflected in the eventual conclusions of the Conference.
The following day, I chaired the joint Opening Session and introduced brief speeches from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Hon Don MacKinnon, Jack McConnell, Scottish First Minister and Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education and Skills. All of us took the opportunity of highlighting the ways in which in our various spheres we were supporting the Conference theme. It was then my privilege to introduce the keynote speaker, Professor Amaryta Sen, who is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and a world renowned expert and a nobel prize winner, who provided a personal and incisive overview on Access, Inclusion and Achievement, His views were drawn not only from extensive research but also his own wide experience in these fields. The Opening Session was brought to a conclusion by the Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson.
There followed two days of intensive and detailed discussions on the Conference theme, many of which I attended and during which I took the opportunity of feeding into the deliberations our experience here in Wales. Over lunch on 29 October, we joined together with the Youth Summit delegates at Murrayfield to hear at first hand their emerging views on the Conference themes.
This Symposium, which was attended by about 180 academics and experts from across the Commonwealth, took the opportunity of considering the same issues as Ministers but clearly in greater detail and with a much deeper level of knowledge and insight. Wales was represented by 3 delegates – Meirion Prys Jones, Deputy Chief Executive of the Welsh Language Board, Dr Heledd Hayes, the Education Officer for NUT Cymru and Mark Sims, Head of the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service of Cardiff County Council. The feedback from all 3 Welsh attendees has been positive.
For the first occasion at a Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference, a Youth Summit was held. This provided a real opportunity for the youth of the Commonwealth to contribute to these important strategic issues. In the UK, invitations were extended to local authorities and other institutions to nominate 2 individuals who would be matched to 2 similar young people from another Commonwealth country. Not only would this pairing be maintained during the week of the Conference but would be followed the following week by the pairings returning to the host UK authority/area where a further week’s programme of activities would have been arranged.
Wales had 4 groups of youth delegates drawn from Cardiff, Carmarthen, Wrexham and Funky Dragon (Newport). They were matched with delegates from respectively St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius and Malaysia. During the following week the host local authorities made arrangements for the young people to engage in a range of relevant activities in their locales and also to be interviewed by the local press and media. On 5 November, the youth delegates and their guests visited the Assembly and I met with them to discuss the workings of the Assembly itself and also to elaborate on education policy in Wales.
The youth delegates made a major contribution to the consideration that took place at Edinburgh and the Conference endorsed their recommendations that priority be given to universal primary education, eliminating gender disparity, improving quality in education, the importance of open and distance learning, education in difficult circumstances and to improve education throughout the Commonwealth on HIV/AIDS.
Showcase of Best Practice
The Welsh Assembly Government exhibited for all 3 days at the Conference. The theme adopted was “Making Wales an Outstanding Place to Teach as well as Learn”. The stand was staffed throughout by Assembly officials and over the period there was considerable interest in our emerging and innovative education policies, including the Learning Country, Foundation Phase, Extending Entitlement and Reaching Higher. In fact, the interest was so great that we had to arrange for additional copies of the Learning Country to be couriered overnight to the Conference. The stand also contained a range of curriculum material from ACCAC, which again generated considerable interest.
Bilateral Ministerial meetings.
Over the 3 days, I met generally with a wide range of ministerial colleagues and had very useful discussions. Amongst these was with the representative from Lesotho with whom we are giving consideration to teacher exchanges which would build on links already being led by Dolen Cymru. In fact, as result of these earlier links Lesotho has appointed an Honorary Consul in Wales.
I also took the opportunity of supplementing these more general discussions with specific bilateral meetings with key Commonwealth Education Ministers. These included meetings with Dr Brendan Nelson, the Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, two provincial Canadian Education Ministers, Hon Jack Ootes and Ron Lemieux, and the New Zealand Minister, Hon Trevor Mallard. These meetings, will I hope also lead to the establishment of links between, for instance, higher education interests. There are also continuing opportunities for us to share good practice in other key policy areas such as early years and language development and I will be seeking to take these forward.
This Conference provided a very positive opportunity for Wales. Apart from raising our standing within the Commonwealth, the contacts that I was able to develop or re-establish hold out real prospects for further mutual co-operation and support.