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The Welsh Government has begun its Rural Education Plan by connecting rural schools with other classrooms via video technology.
Based on the successful ‘E-Sgoil’ initiative introduced by the Scottish Government in the Hebrides, ‘E-sgol’ will use video technology to connect classrooms. This means that pupils from one school can join classes at other schools remotely, and can access a greater range of subjects in both English and Welsh.
The project aims to bring all schools in Wales into the digital age by introducing innovative teaching techniques. It is just one of the measures in the Rural Education Action Plan which also includes the introduction of a presumption against closure of rural schools, a new Small and Rural School grant, and working alongside BT to improve connectivity in schools in difficult to reach areas. The 21st Century Schools capital investment programme which aims to create modern and sustainable education communities across rural Wales will play an important role in achieving this.
The action plan also sets out additional training and support opportunities for teachers and head teachers in rural areas through the Business Manager Pilot and National Academy for Education Leadership (NAEL) programme; improved emotional and mental health support through the CAMHS in-reach project and aims to ensure schools play a more central role in their communities.
Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, said: “This project will connect pupils in Welsh schools with other schools across the country, and ensure they’re given the best learning experience even in the most rural parts of the UK. If we ensure that pupils and schools in rural Wales have the right support to succeed, then we can ensure that our rural communities and economy will go from strength to strength.”
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