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  • "This is great news for our schools. A small criticism aimed at the Argus that this is lazy reporting. The major reasons for these schools getting the funding, as mad clear in the accompanying letter to schools, is that they must have a significant number of pupils on free school meals, they must be in stated areas of deprivation, they must have specific groups of pupils who have special educational needs, and they must show that they have every chance of making swift and sustained progress. Great news for the schools involved and great to have some extra funding to address the balance of achievement where statistics show that pupils on free school meals do less well at GCSE than those who are not receiving free school meals. This must become a level playing field."
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5 Torfaen schools part of £20m improvement plan

Free Press Series: 5 Torfaen schools part of £20m improvement plan 5 Torfaen schools part of £20m improvement plan

FIVE schools in Torfaen are to be part of a Welsh Government programme to boost standards.

The £20 million programme targets schools that are underperforming and where it is believed they could be doing better, and could improve quickly.

Each school will get a package of support that will be individually tailored under the Pathways to Success Schools scheme.

Some 40 secondary school from across Wales are taking part, selected using a range of different criteria including free school meal eligibility and exam results.

Advisors with expertise in the field of education will help to implement the programme from September onwards.

The Torfaen schools are: Abersychan Comprehensive, Fairwater High School, Llantarnam School and West Monmouth School.

The plan will also work with each school’s feeder primaries.

Huw Lewis, Welsh education minister, launching the scheme, said: “I’ve made no secret of my desire for a relentless focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning here in Wales.

“These schools have been chosen as we believe they have the potential to make swift and lasting improvements which will benefit learners in the short term and long into the future.”

The scheme is all part of Schools Challenge Cymru, the Welsh Government’s improvement programme for schools operating in “challenging circumstances”.

Similar programmes have been seen in London and Manchester.

It’s appointed champion is Professor Mel Ainscow, who was chief advisor to the Greater Manchester Challenge between 2007 and 2011.

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle, welcomed the funding boost for four Torfaen schools saying: “I’m absolutely delighted that four local secondary schools are set to benefit from a significant funding boost, as well as a comprehensive package of intensive support to help improve outcomes for Torfaen’s children and young people.

“We know that we’ve been dealing with a number of challenges locally over recent times, and I’m backing the staff, governors and pupils as they begin this really exciting journey."

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