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About us > News > Basic Skills Agency launches Wales Observatory website
Basic Skills Observatory Wales website
The Basic Skills Agency launches the Basic Skills Observatory Wales

The Observatory contains summaries of basic skills policies, initiatives, and research, and offers signposts and links to further publications and resources. It has been developed as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s National Basic Skills Strategy, which is being overseen by the Basic Skills Agency. The Observatory has been funded by the European Social Fund and has been developed in partnership with a range of organisations (1).

Rhiannedd Pratley, Executive Director for Wales at the Basic Skills Agency said,

“The Basic Skills Observatory Wales will be a vital resource for basic skills policy makers, employers and practitioners, highlighting what’s going on to improve the literacy, numeracy and language skills of working adults across Wales.

“The Observatory will support the work already taking place through the Basic Skills Agency’s Employers Pledge Award scheme, which, like the Observatory, is being run as part of the Assembly’s National Basic Skills Strategy. The Employers Pledge encourages employers to sign up to a formal commitment to improving the basic skills of their employees, and has so far recruited over 70 employers from the public and private sector across Wales.

“Companies in both the private and public sector are finding that getting the basics right in literacy and numeracy can help an organisation to grow and adapt, build employee confidence and improve company morale. We all need good basic skills if we are to succeed at work and in life in general, and I’m sure that the Observatory will help in the drive to raise standards.” Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning said:

“The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to creating a nation of lifelong learners, raising skills across the board from pre-school through to adult education; the Basic Skills Observatory Wales will help us achieve this goal. "The Observatory Wales, bilingual website is providing employers and employees with easy access to up to date, relevant information on essential subjects such as literacy, language and numeracy, enabling them to learn how to best raise the standards of their basic skills.

"In Wales there is determination and commitment to raising standards, we are creating exciting programmes to develop basic skills from birth to the grave, the Observatory is one of those exemplary programmes."

The information contained on the site is based on regional and local information on basic skills activities in the post-16 sector in Wales, and is catalogued by the following 10 occupational sectors:

  • Construction
  • Energy and Water
  • Land Based
  • Leisure
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Sector
  • Retail
  • Service Sector
  • Transport
  • Engineering

    Notes to Editors

    1. Partner organisations include Fforwm, National Council for Education and Training (ELWA), Wrexham ITEC, Cardiff Chamber of Commerce and the TUC Wales. Partners are involved in helping to identify and collate appropriate information on policy, research and practice relating to basic skills and a number of occupational sectors. In addition to signposting the project researcher to relevant information, all partners have contributed to the dissemination and evaluation of the site.

    2. The Basic Skills Observatory Wales is available at

    3. The first phase of the National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales was launched in April 2001. Since that time the Welsh Assembly Government has allocated £40 million for the Strategy. The Basic Skills Agency has been overseeing the implementation of the National Strategy on behalf of the Welsh
    Assembly Government. Phase 2 will be launched in April 2005.

    4. The Strategy aims to provide a coherent approach to raising standards of literacy and numeracy in children, young people and adults. It involves a number of specific measures and partnership with a range of organisations.

    5. The Basic Skills Agency is the national development agency for literacy and numeracy in England and Wales. We are funded primary by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Our mission is to contribute to raising standards of basic skills in England and Wales. Our aims are to develop approaches that most effectively improve standards of basic skills and disseminate good practice. Our Patron is HRH The Princess Royal, the Chairman is Garry Hawkes CBE, and the Director of the Basic Skills Agency is Alan Wells OBE.

    6. We define basic skills as ‘the ability to read, write, and speak in English or Welsh and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general’.

    7. For further information please contact Helen Vaughan-Jones at the Basic Skills Agency on 020 7440 6512, out of hours on 07776 132226 or email
Article published on: 3 December 2004
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