The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Bill will:
- provide a clearer process for school intervention and drive up school improvement through the introduction of statutory guidance.
- reform the statutory process for school organisation so that decisions are taken locally wherever possible.
- remove the requirement for School Governing Bodies to hold Annual Parents’ Meetings and introduce a new right for parents to call meetings with School Governing Bodies.
- give Local authorities and schools greater flexibility over the pricing of school meals.
- mainstream several grant-funded programmes to help streamline current processes.
- make local authorities accountable for planning Welsh-medium provision by making Welsh in Education Strategic Plans statutory.
Leighton Andrews said:
“Education is at the heart of our Programme for Government. All children and young people in Wales should have access to the best education which will benefit them throughout their lives. Reducing bureaucracy and improving school standards is a crucial element of this.
“The Bill laid before the National Assembly will enable us to raise and strengthen school standards by providing statutory school improvement guidance to local authorities which will ensure good practice is applied consistently across the whole of the country.
“It will support local authorities by ensuring they understand their powers to intervene where schools are underperforming. The Bill will also streamline the school organisation process especially when closing schools with few or no pupils. This will reduce uncertainty that parents and pupils currently face.
“The Bill will give local authorities greater flexibility over charging for school meals to help children of families on low incomes not eligible for free school meals.
“It will also help support the development of the Welsh language by ensuring local authorities have in place strategic plans to support and enhance Welsh medium provision in education.
“I have been clear in my desire to raise standards and performance in education in Wales across the board. The Bill I have laid today represents a major step forward in delivering this.”