Education Question

Eluned Morgan:

Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on pupil welfare in education?

Kirsty Williams:
Thank you, Eluned. We have put the well-being of our learners at the heart of our education system and that is reflected in ‘Education in Wales: Our National Mission’. ‘Successful Futures’ contains a specific health and well-being area of learning and experience in recognition of its important link to increased educational attainment.
Eluned Morgan
Thank you, Cabinet Secretary. You’ll be aware that choosing the right subjects to study will make a huge difference to the enjoyment of children in school, but also we need to be encouraging people to study subjects that will lead to good and rewarding jobs. Girls in particular are massively under-represented in studying STEM subjects that lead to engineering qualifications. This morning, I’ve been training with the Scarlets team—[Interruption.] I look like a rugby player, don’t I?—with the Scarlets team and girls from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. We were trying to draw attention to the fact—along with Valero, one of the largest engineering companies in Wales—to the fact that post 16, only 220 girls out of a cohort of 38,000, or 0.6 per cent, took up engineering qualifications in Wales. For construction engineering, figures are even worse, with 0.2 per cent of girls studying relevant qualifications. So, can the Cabinet Secretary explain how we can further capture the imagination of, in particular, 12 and 13-year-old girls to ensure that they study STEM subjects, not just at GCSE level, but at A-level and at apprenticeship level? And will the Cabinet Secretary ensure that more women engineers are invited into schools to provide role models for girls to study those important subjects?