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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 »
Widening Access to Higher Education
My ambition as Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning is to see Wales as a country where every individual is given an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential, maximise their earning potential and contribute fully to society and to the community in which they live. This ambition underpins the Government's objective clearly articulated in 'The Learning Country' and 'Reaching Higher, Reaching Wider', to widen access to higher education. It is two years since I published 'Reaching Higher' and, with the introduction of the Higher Education Bill, this is an ideal opportunity to review progress. Today, I will outline where we are, where we want to be and what we are doing to get there.
'Reaching Higher' sets challenging targets, not least in the area of widening access. We are working towards increasing the proportion of all undergraduate new entrants to higher education courses at UK higher education or further education institutions who live in the 100 core Welsh Community First areas. We are moving in the right direction. Our higher education system in Wales is more inclusive than it has ever been. In 1960, there were just under 6,500 full-time undergraduate and post-graduate students at Welsh higher education institutions, compared with 66,000 in 2001-02-that is a 10-fold increase. In 1960, women constituted less than a third of the student population. By 2001-02, women students outnumbered men at Welsh HE institutions. Similar trends can be observed across the UK, as the HE system changed from an elite to a mass system. However, recent statistics clearly show that Welsh HE institutions continue to outperform UK institutions on average in terms of attracting students from non-traditional backgrounds. In 2000, 91 per cent of students at Welsh HE institutions were from state schools, compared with 86 per cent for the UK. Fifteen per cent of young full-time entrants to Welsh HE institutions were from low participation neighbourhoods, while the UK average is 12.5 per cent. That is a strong base on which to build.
However, there are still too many talented and able people who believe that higher education is not for them. We need a more innovative, collaborative and long-term approach if we are to meet our targets. Therefore, I was delighted to provide an additional £2 million in 2002-03, which funded the establishment of four 'Reaching Wider' partnerships across Wales. That is on top of the existing premium funding. I have continued this level of funding for the partnerships in this financial year. Although the partnerships are in their infancy, many innovative and exciting projects are currently being developed across Wales and across age groups. These include student mentoring, family learning, summer and youth universities, higher education tasters, and research in bilingual delivery, to list just a few. All projects involve active engagement with schools and pupils in the primary and secondary sectors. Widening access is not just a higher education activity, but an educational aspiration across all sectors to fulfil our ambitions for a learning country. Clearly, we need a holistic and co-ordinated approach.
This agenda is wider than higher education in Wales, and we cannot rely solely on institutions' altruism. To ensure that we maximise our investment, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has appointed a national co-ordinator to oversee the partnerships and ensure that best practice is shared and widely rolled out as projects are monitored, evaluated and modified in the light of experience. I am convinced that the partnerships are bringing real added value to the widening access agenda. For the first time in Wales, we are co-ordinating our efforts across the sector, cutting out wasteful duplication and carrying out projects within a cohesive and coherent strategic framework, covering the whole of Wales. The Government is also working to complement the sector's activities. I was pleased to launch the 'Aim Higher' Wales campaign in March 2003. It is the first all-Wales widening access initiative, targeted at educating year 9 pupils-our 13 to 14-year-olds-about the benefits and opportunities of higher education. It is crucial that we target young people and ensure that they have the proper information to make the right choices now and avoid closing future doors.
The 'Aim Higher' Wales roadshow has already inspired over 7,000 pupils across Wales in 2002-03, and it will reach over 18,000 pupils in this academic year. Feedback is positive, with ongoing on-line evaluation consistently showing that 80 per cent of pupils were considering going on to higher education after the roadshow, compared with 59 per cent prior to it. However, activity does not end with raising awareness. We are also committed to overcoming financial and attainment barriers. Let us not forget the Welsh Assembly Government's flagship Assembly learning grant. That is a positive demonstration of our commitment to widening access and to ensuring that the poorest members of our communities can access the same opportunities offered by both higher and further education as those from more affluent backgrounds. I am determined that finance should not be a barrier to learning opportunities. That principle will be at the forefront of the Rees commission's work to consider how we respond to new powers in the Higher Education Bill over student support and variable fees.
Raising attainment in schools is also a key contributor to widening access. We are committed to improving school performance. Our widening access agenda is about equipping people to take-up opportunities from which they and society can benefit. We are doing good things in Wales. We are building on our earlier success and are well on the road to a fully inclusive HE sector in Wales. However, this is a long-term agenda and we should not expect to see immediate results. 'Reaching Higher' is a 10-year vision and our actions must be considered in that context. We are investing for the future and will not be deflected from our purpose. I have every confidence that the actions we are now taking will ensure that we will achieve the challenging target set in 'Reaching Higher' and I look forward to Wales reaping the social and economic benefits of a society where every section is offered higher-learning opportunities.