A guiding coalition of experts have put forward their views on how best to improve educational leadership in Wales.

The second meeting of the Wales Education Commission considered the major impact leadership has on school standards and reflected on what some of the world’s highest performing education systems have done to support school leaders.

It follows Education Secretary Kirsty Williams’ commitment to strengthening school leadership through a new National Academy that will ensure all leaders in Wales’ education system can benefit from high quality professional learning opportunities.

The Commission, which brings together educational thinkers from across the world, responded to the Welsh Government’s leadership agenda by presenting a number of thought-provoking observations on best practice across the globe.

It looked at successful leadership strategies in Canada, USA and Scotland and was given a unique insight into the mobilising of head teachers during the celebrated ‘London Challenge’ programme.

The Commission, which will meet three times a year and consider education at all stages, is a key strand of the University of Wales’ Trinity Saint David’s newly-developed Yr Athrofa – Institute of Education.

The group’s dual purpose is to help guide the work of Yr Athrofa and its Professional Learning Partnership of schools and university staff, while contributing actively to the wider education debate in Wales.

Professor Dylan Jones, Director of Yr Athrofa and Secretary to the Commission, said learning from partners across the globe would be of huge benefit to Wales.

He said: “The wealth of international expertise we have brought to Wales allows us to reflect critically, in an innovative manner, what are the appropriate developments for our education system.

“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.

“Moving forward, the key for us will be learning from our international colleagues and relating that knowledge back to the Welsh context for the benefit of our schools, colleges and indeed universities.”

During its discussion, the Commission heard evidence from Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership, established in 2014 to support teachers’ professional learning in leadership at all levels across Scotland’s schools.

Commission members, each with their own record of outstanding success in their field, were then asked to comment on existing education policy and offer suggestions based on their international experience and expertise.

The Commission includes Dr Carol Campbell, Associate Professor of Leadership and Educational Change at the University of Toronto; Professor Trevor Gale, Head of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow; Laura Perille, Chief Executive of Boston-based EdVestors; Mick Waters, Professor of Education at Wolverhampton University; and David Woods, Professor of Education at Warwick and London universities.

Dr Campbell said: “I’m delighted to be a member of the Wales Education Commission, where we come together to discuss the needs of pupils all across Wales, as well as what we can learn from international examples.”

The Commission’s second meeting took place at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea and a follow-up report, together with recommendations for Wales and the Welsh Government, will be published on Yr Athrofa’s website.

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