In this section
Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
The Welsh village with the longest name in the UK has succeeded in at least making one thing a whole lot shorter – the time it takes to surf the internet.
- Cardiff Airport key to Wales’ position in global market – First Minister
- Consultation on proposals for ground-breaking legislation to reform arrangements for renting homes
- Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
National minimum standards for regulated child care »These standards determine whether child minding and day care settings are providing adequate care for children under the age of 8.Learn more »
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
27 days left
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Jane Davidson, Minister for Education & Lifelong Learning
- It gives me great pleasure to announce today, our plan to introduce a new scheme of student support uniquely for Wales. This delivers on one of the key recommendations contained in the Report published last year which I commissioned from the Independent Investigation Group into Student Hardship and Funding in Wales, chaired by Professor Teresa Rees.
- Once again, I would like to reiterate my thanks to the Group Members for giving us solid evidence which has led to the statement I am making today.
- A key area of concern, particularly for students from low income families, was a perceived financial barrier to continuing with education. The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to breaking down barriers to learning, and today I am announcing a new Assembly Learning Grant which will provide a guaranteed source of extra financial support for students in Higher Education and, for the first time, students in Further Education as well.
- This will operate as an entitlement for eligible students – ensuring that everyone has an incentive to continue their education.
- When Professor Teresa Rees first presented her Report I said that we should need to give it the most careful and rigorous consideration, not least as to costs. That work is now complete. The new Assembly Learning Grant will be funded from total provision of £41million in the financial year commencing April 2002, and over £50million in the next. So for April this year we shall more than double the £20million we set aside for discretionary Hardship and Access Funds for this financial year – which itself doubled provision as against the previous year. These sums have been agreed by the Cabinet and are provided for in the Government’s budget. This is a clear statement of the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to encourage everyone, who has the ability to do so, to continue learning
- The Assembly Learning Grant will be means-tested, and targeted at the least well off amongst learners as part of the Assembly Government’s ambition to overcome poverty of opportunity, and increase access in low income communities.
- The Assembly Learning Grant will not only enable individuals to improve their skills, it will make a real contribution to delivering on our economic and cultural agendas by encouraging our people to set low aspiration aside and to aim for their highest level of achievement. It will help to lift the level of education and skills within the Welsh workforce so as better to meet the economic and all the other challenges we face in nourishing a truly inclusive society.
- It demonstrates that the Assembly has listened to genuine concern about real hardship – and thus about real barriers to learning. These concerns have to be addressed if we are to meet our goals for widening access and participation – for an era in which learning is not, and cannot be, the preserve of an elite.
- Wales already has a better record that any other part of mainland UK when it comes to attracting youngsters from socio-economically disadvantaged groups into higher education. Our record on attracting mature students from less advantaged backgrounds is the best in the UK, and the drop out rate among this group is lower in Wales.
- We want to improve on that record. But every percentage point by which we aim to increase that participation becomes even harder to achieve.
- There are many reasons given why potential students are put off applying for places on courses in both FE and HE. We are concerned that some of the most powerful are linked to student’s fears – both real and perceived – of financial hardship.
- This is why we commissioned the Rees Report. Rees told us that our concerns were well founded and that we should have to do something imaginative to tackle the problem effectively.
- The Assembly Learning Grant will provide support on top of the statutory provisions which are currently to be had, such as Student Loans. The Grant will be for less well off students who have lived in Wales for at least three years and will be available to them wherever they choose to study in Wales or elsewhere.
- The Grant will be payable for attendance on substantial courses for which – on current estimates - class contact exceeds some 200 hours a year. This works out at an average of 7 hours per week and will therefore cover many part-time courses.
- The figures available to us show that we shall be able to provide grants averaging around £700 - £800 for some 43,000 students, with the maximum grant being £1,500. These are learners who would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to commit themselves to a course of Further or Higher Education
- The grants will be available to Welsh-based learners wherever they choose to study. But the system will not leave students who come to Wales worse off than they are now. We shall continue to provide HE and FE institutions in Wales with funds which they can use to provide students from outside Wales with the same kind of financial safety net they currently have under the discretionary Access and Hardship Fund arrangements.
- Some useful work has already been done with local education authorities and others about the practical steps that need to be taken to implement the new Grant. We have also had discussions with the FE and HE sectors and the National Union of Students about the need to market the new grant actively, to reach those who can benefit from this new opportunity.
- A formal, and brief, consultation will now begin on the Assembly Regulations needed to introduce the Grant, and to put the necessary administrative arrangements in place. Subject to that, we envisage that the Assembly Learning Grant will become operational from September this year.
- This is a brand new scheme. It builds upon several initiatives taken by the Labour Government for the whole of Britain. But it goes significantly further. The extension of the scheme into further education makes this different to any previous grant scheme. In this scheme we are deliberately breaking down the barriers between so-called academic and vocational routes into learning. We are determined to extend access and opportunity to all people in Wales.
- To begin with the grant scheme will be kept as simple as possible. The first year will be treated very much as a pathfinder one. We want to learn from that experience, and use what we learn to refine the scheme for future years.
- This is a massive good news story for 43,000 learners right across Wales. It is a major step forward for widening access. It shows we are taking hardship, and the ill effects of indebtedness amongst disadvantaged learners, seriously in Wales. We are the only part of the UK to tackle it in this way. We are doing things differently in Wales. We are getting the conditions for learners right. It is a very good time to prepare to study in Wales and another step towards establishing Wales as a learning country.