By Anna Morrell, Archbishop's Media Officer, Church in Wales
The role church schools can play in helping to raise standards of education in Wales will be discussed in a seminar today led by the Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews and two Archbishops.
Mr Andrews will give the keynote address at the Faith in Education seminar on THURSDAY (June 23) which is an initiative between the Welsh Government, the Church in Wales and the Catholic Church.
He will also launch their joint document called Faith in Education which sets out the positive contribution of church schools in the publicly funded school system and recognises the role faith communities play in schools across the country.
The event will be introduced by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, and Archbishop George Stack in one of his first public duties as Archbishop of Cardiff.
Following his address, the Minister will take part in a question session with Archbishop Barry, Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham, Dr Oona Stannard , chief executive of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, and Revd Aled Edwards, chief executive of Cytun, Churches Together in Wales.
The seminar will bring together about 130 people involved in education from across Wales to contribute comment and opinion. Presentations will focus on examples of practice from a variety of schools and also look at some of the evidence for how issues of faith have an impact on the learning and well-being of children in Wales.
Pupils from two church schools will also be taking part. Young people from St John Baptist Church in Wales High School, Aberdare, and St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint, will talk about their personal experiences.
The Archbishop Barry, said: “More than 50,000 children and young people in Wales are educated in more than 250 schools with a religious character. This event seeks to support and encourage those schools and also explore ways in which the richness of faith in Welsh education can have an impact on every pupil.
“The Education Minister has set a challenge to schools, to teachers, to governors and to all of us who have an engagement with education to raise not only the standards that children in Wales attain, but also the expectation that the young people of Wales will do the very best for themselves and for our country. I can assure you all that it is a challenge from which we will not shirk – the children of Wales are too important.”
Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, said: “The Faith in Education document aims to highlight the role church schools play in the development of our education system in Wales.
“We are committed to raising standards and attainment for every child and young person in Wales, with a particular focus on literacy and numeracy. Every sector in our education system has an important part to play in this.
"We must all focus on what matters most - improving teaching quality to deliver performance, setting high aspirations for all and focusing on every individual.”
Dr Oona Stannard , chief executive of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales said: “Today is a very important one for education in Wales as the publication of Faith in Education reminds us of the importance of schools with a religious character in this country. I say this because of the way in which our schools enable parents to have choice in education, and because the publication raises awareness of the fact that our schools provide places where people’s faith – whether that of the school or beyond – is respected.
“Faith in Education also shows that parents and politicians can have every confidence in the knowledge that our schools help every pupil to be the very best they can be, in terms of their achievement, personal development and their service to others.”
Other contributors are:
For more information, interview requests or a copy of the Faith in Education document, please contact: Anna Morrell
Archbishop's Media Officer / Swyddog y Cyfryngau i'r Archesgob
Tel: 02920 348208