Press Releases 2016

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has held a high-profile Education Conference at Cardiff’s City Hall, entitled 'Securing the Future: Building a Self-improving System'


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has held a high-profile Education Conference at Cardiff’s City Hall attended by experts from a variety of education sectors in Wales that also marked the launch of the University’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education.

The conference, entitled, Securing the Future: Building a Self-improving System provided the education community with an opportunity to understand the priorities that will inform the work of the newly elected administration; to take stock of the progress the sector has made in building a self-improving system; and to explore the challenges these priorities will set for leaders of education in the coming years. 

Education Conference June 2016

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During the event, Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor, introduced the Wales Education Commission, established to bring together distinguished individuals who are considered leading thinkers with a record of outstanding success in their own fields of education.

He said: “I consider the establishment of the Wales Education Commission as a key development in the ongoing reform of our education system. The wealth of international expertise brought to Wales allows us to reflect critically, in an innovative manner, what are the appropriate developments for our education system.

“As a nation we need to take ownership of such changes. The quality of our education system and the need to secure inclusive opportunities for young people in Wales are, in my view, above the politics of political parties. That is why universities have a role to play. I am proud of the fact that UWTSD has such a longstanding tradition in this area. We now need to build a future where excellence, high quality professional opportunities and research come together to deliver for Wales.

“I am delighted by the support provided by this distinguished group of individuals; each of whom has gained immense respect for the contribution that they have made to improving education through their own work. In bringing these key individuals together the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is demonstrating its pledge to deliver a quality system for Wales. We should not underestimate the strategic importance of establishing such a commission where international scholars and educators can work with schools and the teaching profession to further our distinctive offer.”

Secretary to the Education Commission and Director of Yr Athrofa, Professor Dylan E. Jones echoed the belief in its impact. “The opportunity to learn from such a talented and successful group of educationalists is invaluable. We look forward to challenging and thought-provoking debates that will have an impact on the delivery of education and opportunities for young people throughout Wales,” he said.

During the event, Steve Davies, Director of Education for the Welsh Government gave the key note address - Securing the Future - and also launched Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education.

The conference’s title came from the Welsh Government’s Qualified for Life: An education improvement plan – a document that clearly affirms the importance and the impact of the education sector in Wales stating: ‘Education changes lives, it provides opportunity, it enables individuals to shape their futures, it builds stronger, more tolerant and cohesive societies, it is the foundation of a strong economy. In short, Education matters.’

One of the aspects the Government’s Qualified for Life policy document focuses on is ensuring that education leaders at every level work together in a self-improving system, providing mutual support and challenge to raise standards in all schools. The event brought together individuals from a variety of education sectors in Wales to discuss this system, including head teachers and governors, Local Authority leaders, senior leaders from Regional Consortia, researchers and academics.

The four sessions of the conference focused on the Welsh Government’s priorities for Education from 2016 to 2021 including system leadership and professional learning; building global leadership networks, and international testing and education policy – how PISA contributes to the development of education policy and strategy.

Speakers included Professor David Woods CBE, member of the Wales Education Commission; Kate Farmer, Associate Director, Asia Society, Professor Louis Volante, Brock University & Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Andrew Harrison, a Professor of Practice at UWTSD and Director of Spaces that Work Ltd and Kate Massey-Chase of Creative Educator.

Professor David Woods, CBE delivered a talk entitled ‘Working together in a self-improving system,’ He said: “We need a school-led system of improvement so that leaders and teachers can learn better from each other about the most effective practice in order to secure excellent outcomes for all pupils and to transform the system to allow a progressive culture to flourish.”

In his speech entitled, ‘International achievement testing and educational policy development – a global perspective,  Professor Louis Volante said: “The increased salience and utilisation of international test results, particularly those stemming from the Programme in International Student Assessment (PISA), presents both opportunities and challenges for governments embarking on large-scale educational reform.”

Professor of Practice Andrew Harrison, in his joint presentation with Kate Massey-Chase, ‘Creative classrooms; Creative Learning,’ said: “There are no stable space types in education. Every space, every level of education is open to innovation.  We need to provide a rich landscape of learning spaces that are flexible, that integrate technology and that support different ways of learning and a wide variety of group sizes”.

Kate Farmer, Associate Director, Asia Society, in her presentation, ‘A global school design for 21st Century success,’ said: "In order to successfully prepare students to navigate and lead in the world, we must transform teaching and learning with a systems approach. It will take aligned change at all levels for this to be actualised but with the UN’s recent inclusion of global citizenship education as a Sustainable Development Goal, and OECD currently developing an assessment for global competence, there is a rich opportunity for collaboration and accelerated momentum. With the launch of the Institute of Education, Wales is uniquely positioned to show leadership in providing a 21st century education to its students."

The Conference followed a successful event held at the Marriot Hotel in Swansea in May to launch the Professional Learning Partnership with secondary and primary schools across Wales.

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YR ATHROFA: the Institute of Education

Mae’r Athrofa, a sefydlwyd gan Brifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant,  yn gyfuniad o arweinwyr addysg rhyngwladol sy’n gweithio i drawsffurfio addysg a thrawsffurfio bywydau yng Nghymru.

Mae tair elfen i’r Athrofa:

1          Partneriaeth Dysgu Proffesiynol yn cynnwys dros 100 o ysgolion o bob rhan o Gymru a Phrifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant. Mae’r Bartneriaeth Dysgu Proffesiynol yn cyd-gynhyrchu rhaglenni ar gyfer athrawon ar bob cyfnod yn eu bywydau proffesiynol ac ar gyfer arweinwyr yn y dosbarth, arweinwyr sefydliadau neu arweinwyr systemau.  Cyflwynir ac asesir y rhaglenni hyn mewn partneriaeth a’u hachredu drwy’r Brifysgol.

2          Sefydlwyd Canolfannau Rhagoriaeth Ymchwil mewn meysydd allweddol: cydraddoldeb mewn addysg;  y Gymraeg a’i diwylliant; ac addysg blynyddoedd cynnar. Yng ngham nesaf y datblygiad gwelir sefydlu canolfannau ar gyfer arweinyddiaeth, addysg fathemategol ac asesu dysgu.  Mae’r Canolfannau Rhagoriaeth Ymchwil hyn yn darparu’r sylfaen ar gyfer rhaglenni dysgu proffesiynol ac yn arwain ymchwil cymhwysol ar draws y proffesiwn.

3          Mae Comisiwn Addysg yn dwynynghyd unigolion amlwg y bernir eu bod yn brif feddylwyr ac sydd â hanes o lwyddiant rhagorol yn eu meysydd addysg eu hunain. Bydd aelodau’r Comisiwn, sy’n deillio o bob cwr o’r byd, yn cyfrannu eu syniadau unigol, eu profiad a’u heriau wrth fynd i’r afael â’r gwaith sy’n angenrheidiol i wella ansawdd addysg yng Nghymru. Mae’r Comisiwn Addysg yn darparu cyngor, arweiniad a sylwadau ar yr heriau a wynebir yng Nghymru a’r cynnydd a wneir o fewn yr Athrofa i godi safonau.


Yr Athrofa, Institute of Education, established by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, is a coalition of international leaders of education working to transform education and transform lives in Wales

Yr Athrofa: The Institute of Education has three components:

1          A Professional Learning Partnership involving over 100 schools from across Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The Professional Learning Partnership is co-producing programmes for teachers at all stages in their professional lives and for leaders who are classroom-based, leading institutions or who are system leaders. These programmes are delivered and assessed in partnership and accredited through the University.

2          Centres of Research Excellence have been established in key areas: equity in education; Welsh language and culture; and early years education. The next phase of development will see the establishment of centres for leadership, mathematics education and assessment of learning.  These Centres of Research Excellence provide the base on which professional learning programmes are founded and lead applied research throughout the profession.

3          An Education Commission brings together distinguished individuals who are considered leading thinkers with a record of outstanding success in their own fields of education. Drawn from across the globe, members of the Commission bring their individual thoughts, experience and challenges to bear on the work required to improve the quality of education in Wales. The Education Commission provides advice, guidance and commentary on the challenges faced in Wales and the progress made within Yr Athrofa to raise standards.