Welsh Labour today announced plans to put behaviour in the classroom front-and-centre in the next Assembly term. The party produces its full manifesto next week, and wants to address growing parental concerns particularly in relation to social media.
Announcing plans for a new taskforce, Huw Lewis said Wales had made good progress in recent years increasing attendance rates at school and colleges as well as supporting pupil wellbeing through initiatives such as school based counselling.
Huw Lewis said the taskforce will include school leaders, classroom practitioners and experts to provide recommendations on how to improve behaviour in schools and colleges as well as support teachers to help and manage pupils with complex problems.
Welsh Labour Education Minister Huw Lewis said:
“Schools and colleges have a huge impact on children’s lives, supporting not just their academic achievement but also playing an important role in managing their behaviour, promoting their well-being as well as playing an active role in their emotional health.
“It’s also true to say that they’re are making good progress in addressing challenges of behaviour and supporting wellbeing. Wales now exclude fewer pupils for poor behaviour, pupil attendance rates are at their highest level ever and services such as school based counselling are having a positive effect on the wider well-being of our children.
“However we also recognise that the 21st Century has brought new and increasing challenges for schools. The rise of online bullying and the pressures of social media place new and increasing pressures on teachers to manage behaviour, support pupils wellbeing and deal with emerging forms of intolerance and prejudice.
“In particular the task force will look at how vulnerable pupils can be supported through periods of transition and also make recommendations as to how teacher training and professional development of teachers through the New Deal can be shaped to improve pupil guidance and support.
“We need to explore how earlier intervention in supporting young people at school and college can help resolve patterns of poor behaviour and stop them causing bigger and more disruptive problems later down the line.
“We are currently developing a new curriculum that will include six specific Areas of Learning including Health and Well-Being and this task force will work in tandem with that to ensure we are helping our schools and colleges address the behaviour and attendance issues they increasingly face in the 21st century.
“Our schools and colleges have responsibility for implementing approaches that promote positive behaviour and support emotional wellbeing and the next Welsh Labour Government will work alongside teachers to help them find creative ways to overcome the challenges they face in the classroom.