Central South Wales Challenge
The Central South Wales Challenge (CSWC) was launched in January 2014 to drive school improvement across the region. This strategy, led by headteachers, included schools across the region and drew on the expertise of universities and external experts in school improvement and published international research.
The strategy was based upon six underlying principles commonly found in successful school systems:
- Schools are communities where collaborative enquiry is used to foster improvements in practice.
- Groupings of schools engage in joint practice development.
- Where necessary, more intensive partnerships are organised to provide support for schools facing difficulties.
- Families and community organisations support the work of schools.
- Coordination of the system is provided by school leaders.
- Local authorities work together as the conscience of the system.
School leaders across the region have been actively engaged in the approachtaken by the consortium since this time. They have become more accountable forthe performance of their school, schools in their cluster and in supporting other schools across the region. Since its inception the CSWC has sought to provide the professional learning structures to allow schools to facilitate high-quality professional learning.
Each aspect of the CSWC is designed to meet school improvement needs in different ways operating within a self-improving school system. School leaders should access the appropriate professional learning from each aspect according to their current school improvement priorities.
Taking the Central South Wales Challenge Strategy Forward
Since the Central South Wales Challenge (CSWC) was established, the professional, political and financial climate of education in Wales has altered but the core vision of recognising the value of a school-led improvement system remains a constant.
The CSWC model continues to be reviewed and refined annually following consideration of evaluation of impact and value for money. It’s also driven by robust evaluation of the efficacy of the professional learning offer and regional school improvement needs.
The following key principles remain constant:
- Effective practice is shared so that schools learn from each other.
- Knowledge of school practice and research facilitates and supports the sharing of best practice and collaboration to improve learners’ outcomes within a self-improving system.
- The most appropriate source of support for schools is sourced by the schools themselves or is signposted/brokered by Improvement Partners.
- Improved teaching and leadership can only be sustained by a commitment to PL that is evidence informed and supports the development of schools as learning organisations.
- Resources are focused on opportunities for teachers and leaders to learn from each other, to try out new approaches or lead research projects, to improve their teaching and that of others.
- Leadership skills grown through planned succession leads to improvement across the system.
- Accountability is clear at all levels and used effectively to drive improvement.