Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has presented her vision for Post-Compulsory Education and Training as part of the Athrofa Seminar Series.
The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, in partnership with the Welsh Government, hosted a major keynote from Ms Williams on Monday at Tramshed Tech, Cardiff.
Ms Williams told an audience of school staff, university lecturers and student-teachers that learners should make use of the many options available to them as they progress through their education.
The seminar closed with a panel featuring Rhonwen Morris, assistant headteacher of Yr Athrofa Lead Partner School Ysgol Y Preseli, in Pembrokeshire; Connor Williams, a third year student-teacher at the Athrofa; and Barry Liles, principal at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion.
The event took place in advance of the forthcoming Welsh Government technical consultation on Post-Compulsory Education and Training (Public Good and a Prosperous Wales – The Next Steps).
Ms Williams said: “I am and always will be a supporter of sixth forms. I also firmly believe in a good mix of provision when it comes to post-16 education and training.
“We need much more consistency when it comes to supporting our learners through this vital stage of their education and on to whichever route they decide is best for them.”
On her commitment to an equitable and excellent system, she said: “We don’t write off anyone, or anywhere. We have high expectations, with the right support, at the right time, for all students, schools and settings.
“By believing in a non-selective comprehensive system, I admit that we are setting ourselves a challenge, when compared to other systems. But it is a challenge with a moral conviction. As a small country, we can’t leave anyone behind.”
Ms Williams’ presentation marked the second in the Athrofa Seminar Series, following September’s successful ‘Tales from Toronto’ event which featured contributions from university staff, Welsh Government officials and five headteachers who travelled to Canada with the Athrofa last summer.
Professor Dylan Jones, Dean of Yr Athrofa, said: “We were delighted that the Cabinet Secretary chose the Yr Athrofa to make her announcement, which provided plenty of food for thought.
“Monday’s Athrofa Seminar made for an extremely interesting evening and we would like to thank all those who attended. Our thanks also to colleagues at Tramshed Tech, which houses our Athrofa Cardiff operation.
“It was wonderful to see Barry, Rhonwen and Connor participate on the closing panel, fielding questions with the Cabinet Secretary herself. This personifies all that we are trying to do as an Athrofa, which is built around partnerships and sharing of resource for the benefit of all in Wales.
“By working together we can achieve so much more – and we consider it our national mission to harness the strength that exists within Wales’ education system and beyond.
“The Athrofa is of the system and for the system – and we are here to better the life chances of all children and young people.”