In this section
Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
- Local Government Democracy Bill approved
- Minister welcomes report which could change shape and structure of education delivery in Wales for the better
- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
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- Business and economy
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Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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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.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
- The future delivery of education services in Wales
- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
- Draft industrial and commercial sector plan
- Waste Prevention Programme
- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
Featured consultation »Improving access to substance misuse treatment for veterans
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In this section
Section highlightIndex of Planning Policy Guidance for Wales
Our land use planning policy guidance is set out in two core documents, "Planning Policy Wales" and "Minerals Planning Policy Wales".
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.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Oral - Twenty First Century Schools
As part of the 'One Wales’ agenda, the Government made a commitment to deliver twenty-first century schools.
We said then that,'Schools need to be fit for purpose and properly funded, with highly professional and motivated staff. Children must be able to get the support and resources they need, and follow a curriculum which inspires and encourages achievement.’
'One Wales’ also contains a commitment to'continue a major capital investment programme to upgrade school buildings’.
My statement today will focus on these commitments and provide an update on how we will deliver on them.
Schools in Wales need to be places that inspire our young people: places that can accommodate twenty-first century technology and be adapted to meet the changing needs of learners in a rapidly developing knowledge economy. Schools also need to be resources for their local communities and be inclusive in their approach and they need to work seamlessly and coherently with providers of education and training beyond the age of 16. To ensure delivery of this vision, I am taking forward a long-term, strategic capital investment plan.
The Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills capital investment plan will impact on every school, college and university in Wales. It needs to be seen alongside the considerable efforts that are being made at the local level to manage surplus school places through robust and strategic school reorganisation proposals. The plan will also run alongside developments to transform post-16 education in Wales. I will review the responses to our post-16 transformation consultation and, where the emerging plans require capital investment, I will look to integrate demand with the schools programme.
I have agreed that the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Assembly Government will form a joint board to oversee the planning process. Already the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, colleges and dioceses currently invest around £0.25 billion a year. Together we will plan for the long term and seek to rebuild or refurbish every school in Wales.
The arrangements that I will put in place will allow more effective strategic and asset planning, providing opportunities for joining up funding from DCELLS, local authorities and EU investment with other public services for the creation of facilities for the whole community. Through our work on spatial planning, discussions have begun between the Assembly Government, local authorities, NHS bodies, housing associations, police and other public bodies to identify publicly owned land for potential co-development.
The investment plan seeks to tackle the significant capital investment issues encompassing delivery of investment across all our schools. Our finite capital resources will be deployed in sequence according to need and readiness. I will make an announcement in early March on the first tranche of 2009-10 twenty-first century school capital allocations as the next step in the transition towards a more strategically focused allocation process.
We will build on the Government’s excellent track record of investment in schools. In the period 2004-05 to 2007-08 £667 million was invested in school buildings. Since 2002, 1,931 projects have received Assembly Government funding support through the school buildings improvement grant. That investment has enabled 107 new schools to be built in Wales. Funding during the lifetime of this Assembly will see a total investment of £730 million being realised.
Our work has begun. A group of senior officers and officials from local authorities and the Welsh Assembly Government are now working to take forward the twenty-first century schools programme and have started planning the transition towards a fully fledged strategic programme of investment across education in Wales. That will involve a significant change, seeing a move away from what is now a formula-based process to a strategic investment plan that is targeted to need.
This approach will be proactive, enabling all local authorities to develop and implement, in conjunction with their partners, their investment schemes for twenty-first century schools. I am overseeing our work to ensure that investment in schools and colleges integrates across public services to maximise value and to make community-focused schools a reality. To support the development of the plan, we will develop a programme of expert support for local authorities and colleges to draw on, to take their plans forward, to develop compelling business cases, and to negotiate the best deals to get the most out of their investment.
The current recession particularly affects the construction industry, and the role of public investment has never been more important in supporting the Welsh economy. I have brought forward capital to increase the level of small-scale capital building works this year, supporting local Welsh businesses. However, we face a major challenge to modernise and make the best use of the education estate.
I was glad last year to secure the support of the Cabinet’s committee on capital investment for an additional £29 million for investment in our schools. With that resource, I am able to help Newport and Wrexham to accelerate their successful secondary schools programmes, and support the strategic use of Welsh public capital investment to deliver joined-up services. Newport and Wrexham are integrating their schools programmes with leisure facilities, making best use of the available resources. I am also pleased to provide additional investment to support the community campus in Blaenavon—a school with a primary health centre and leisure facilities integrated on one site. These are good examples of forward-thinking investment to tackle the needs of the education system. It is only a start, however. The need for investment reaches across all our schools, colleges and universities, and that will take many years.
As public finances tighten, it is increasingly important that we make best use of the resources that we have, working across local authority boundaries. We must bring together services to deliver more for less, as in the Blaenavon community campus. This programme will adopt a proactive approach, help to raise the standard of investment, plan over a longer term, and enable us to achieve the delivery of twenty-first century schools across Wales.