The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC, is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. Although all articles need to be viewed together due to their interdependence and equal worth, articles 3,12,13,14,19 28, 29 and 31 are particularly relevant in this current context.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. Goal 4, ‘ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning’ has been entrusted to UNESCO, as the United Nations’ specialised agency for education. UNESCO leads and coordinates the Education 2030 agenda. The Education 2030 Framework for Action provides guidance for the implementation of this ambitious goal and commitments. The 2017 publication, ‘A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education’ is intended to support education policymakers in embedding inclusion and equity in educational policy. The guide assists in reviewing how well equity and inclusion currently figure in existing policies and help to assist with identifying which actions are needed to improve and develop policies. This guide informs thinking in this area of evolving policy.
The Council’s corporate strategy, 2018-2023 Moving Forward in Carmarthenshire: This strategy sets out the direction for the local authority over the next five years, incorporating our improvement and well-being objectives as defined by legislation. It also includes the Cabinet’s key projects and programmes for the next five years, a set of almost 100 priority projects and areas announced by Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole in his ‘Moving Forward in Carmarthenshire’ plan. The strategy outlines the council’s vision for the future in 15 new objectives under four key themes - to support residents to start well, live well and age well in a healthy, safe and prosperous environment.
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015) has been embraced by Carmarthenshire as a vitally important overarching strategic document, in discharging its well-being duties. Carmarthenshire County Council’s Well-being objectives map out our progress towards each of the seven well-being goals. Departmentally, we contribute to a number of the well-being objectives and take a lead in a number, e.g., as described in the ‘Start Well’ component of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Corporate Strategy 2018-2023 (June 2018). For example, the education department takes a lead on Well-being Objective 4: Reduce the number of young adults that are not in education, employment or training.
Education in Wales: our national mission (action plan 2017-21) is Welsh Government’s plan for ensuring that every young person in Wales has an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards via the new transformational curriculum currently being developed nationally. Four key enabling objectives are offered in pursuit of a transformative curriculum. These enablers are infused in our departmental working.
Professor Graham Donaldson’s Successful Futures Report (2015) provides the architecture for the new curriculum for Wales. Realising this initiative is integral to the reform Journey Wales has embarked upon and is strongly referenced in the national mission and in the work of the department.
Cymraeg 2050 aspires to realise a million Welsh Speakers by 2050. Carmarthenshire’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) to 2020 lays the local foundations for this ideal. Within the context of equity, the WESP argues that all learners in all learning settings should derive benefit from the opportunity to become fluently and equitably bilingual. This is viewed as being inclusive for all learners in the respect that we aspire for all to be able to derive benefits from confident bilingualism.
The Social Services and Well-being Act came into force on 6 April 2016. The Act provides the legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support, and carers who need support, and for transforming social services in Wales. The fundamental principles of the Act are:
Voice and control: putting the individual and their needs, at the centre of their care, and giving them a voice in, and control overreaching the outcomes that help them achieve well-being.
Prevention and early intervention: increasing preventative services within the community to minimise the escalation of critical need.
Well-being: supporting people to achieve their own well-being and measuring the success of care and support.
Co-production: encouraging individuals to become more involved in the design and delivery of services.