On Thursday 12th November Dr Jennifer Owen-Adams (Teach First Cymru) addressed Gorwel on how top class graduates in the classroom can revive the fortunes of children in under performing school in Wales
Jennifer noted in her talk that recent statistics have indicated that Wales has the second highest rate of child poverty of any area in the UK. This has an impact on academic attainment with pupils who receive free school meals being 2.5 times less likely to receive five good GCSEs than those from wealthier backgrounds. All political parties agree that the need to reverse this situation is essential if we are to develop both an economy and society in which Welsh children match their counterparts across the rest of the Western world. Part of the answer may be in Teach First, itself Jennifer indicated.
Jennifer informed the audience that Teach First Cymru is an education charity which recruits and supports top graduates through an accelerated training scheme, and places them in schools in low income communities. It encourages them to educate, empower and inspire their pupils. Studies of the scheme in England have found that participating schools saw an improvement of a third of GCSE grade per pupil per subject but has the experience been the same in Wales. What has been the impact of this programme in reality in its first two years of operation? Jennifer indicated that they have been as positive as those in England.
Photo Professor Russell Deacon and Dr Jennifer Owen-Adams