The programme, to be known as RAISE (Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education in Wales), will target disadvantaged pupils and seek to raise their levels of performance.
In its first year (2006/07) RAISE will be funded to the tune of £16m: £13m is new money coming to Wales as the result of the recent UK Budget statement and the remainder is funding available in the approved Assembly budget for 2006-07.
RAISE will target the links between disadvantage and educational attainment amongst pupils in Wales. Its ambition will be to ensure that all our young people, whatever their situation and circumstances, are afforded the best opportunities and support that our education and training system can provide.
In 2006/07 the £16m available for the RAISE programme will be used to provide funding:
- for disadvantaged pupils in schools where 20% or more of those pupils are eligible for free school meals (excluding schools with fewer than 50 pupils);
- for learning support for looked after children.
The allocations for schools will amount to £14.4m and will be distributed by reference to numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals. A provisional summary by local authority is attached as well as a provisional list of secondary, special and primary schools and amounts for each.
Schools will be required to target the funding on supporting pupils who are disadvantaged and most at risk of leaving school with no qualifications, including groups of pupils seen as under attaining. It will need to be focused on giving them the help they need to get the best out of their education. The funding will therefore be available to provide additional support in the classroom; to withdraw pupils from the classroom for activities focused on literacy, numeracy or other aspects of learning; to provide out of hours activities; to develop home–school links; to draw in community support; to develop collaboration with FE institutions or other partners; to address behaviour or discipline issues. Guidance will be issued as part of the grant conditions.
Schools receiving the funding will need to demonstrate to their local education authority that the funding – which will continue in 2007-08 – is being used to drive significant change for disadvantaged pupils; and will need to agree the pupil outcomes they are seeking.
RAISE will also draw together aspects of the following existing Welsh Assembly Government initiatives:
- Flying Start
- Foundation Phase;
- Children and Young People’s Framework Partnerships;
- pupil transition from primary to secondary school;
- development of Community Focused Schools;
- 14-19 Learning Pathways;
- Extending Entitlement;
- school/LEA partnership agreements.
Taken together RAISE and these associated initiatives will comprise a major element of ‘The Learning Country’ programme. With other major strategies such as Flying Start, the Foundation Phase and 14-19 Learning Pathways, it will seek to make a major contribution to further transforming the nature of educational provision and attainment in Wales, particularly for those pupils who are disaffected from education and in danger of achieving few or no qualifications.