Don't mention the GCSE: ministers gather in No 10

 

A Welshman, a Scotsman, a Northern Irishman and an Englishman go into a room.

Yes, the joint ministerial committee has been meeting again, today in 10 Downing Street, with the prime minister in the chair.

The agenda covered the economy, public finances and aviation policy, although energy and transport costs also featured prominently.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones renewed his case for the Welsh government to be given borrowing powers, suggesting they were the key to funding improvements to the M4.

He also pressed for the devolution of air passenger duty which he said would help airports in north and south Wales. The first minister says he told David Cameron the idea of a "Boris Island" airport in Essex was "fanciful".

Mr Jones's counterparts in Scotland (Alex Salmond) and Northern Ireland (Peter Robinson) were also present, along with their deputies and the Welsh Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant.

The Wales Office, the UK government department that looks after Welsh interests, was represented by its newest recruit, junior minister Baroness Randerson, who had to rush to another meeting afterwards so was unable to be interviewed about her new education role. (Secretary of State David Jones is abroad on a family holiday - his first for a year - that was booked before his recent promotion.)

The official communique has now been published by No 10. This paragraph caught my eye: "The meeting also covered the state of relations between the four administrations of the UK. Ministers reaffirmed the importance they each attached to the respect agenda, to effective inter-governmental relations and to the underpinning machinery such as the memorandum of understanding which established the joint ministerial committee."

Carwyn Jones was happy to field questions about the continuing GCSE row, although he suggested it was time to move on.

He said his government is talking to Northern Ireland about the future of GCSEs on the assumption that an exam known as the English baccalaureate certificate would not be appropriate for Wales.

He said politicians would always disagree on some issues, but reserved his strongest criticism not for Michael Gove but for the regulator in England, Ofqual, which has criticised academic performance in Wales. "For a chair of an arm's length body to criticise another nation's education qualifications is unprecedented," said Mr Jones.

The "respect agenda" clearly remains a work in progress.

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 36.

    *34 Boxer the Horse your inflammatory comments about the Welsh and the Language reminds me of a dictator who onnce tried to conquer Europe and make everything Germanic. I can asssure when I speak Welsh it is not about the Mabinogion or signs.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 35.

    Quite right! Alot ot overseas[Not foreigners, thats' a English term] students are educated in Cardiff which is one the leading univerities in the world for medical research, business and law and then of course this Bangor for Marine Biology, Should i go on.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 34.

    Because, most foreigners think of Ewrop as one place, and international recognition of educational qualifications increases their value in several ways, For the USA, British degrees are Oxford, Cambridge, possibly 'London' and elsewhere. That's how it is, sorry Bristol, St Andrews, etc.
    So, one Board outside ministerial control could, in time, restore respect for a hard-earned qualification.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 33.

    Why?? Are you suggesting Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same.
    Different culture needed to be catered for like the rest of Ewrop sorry Europe

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 32.

    #31 If the Courts take the view that Ofqual's decision is not ultra vires and not irrational, it will leave the Welsh students with a qualification, equal on paper, but known to be woreth less. It will leave the English students with a grade that is a Fail for their purposes -admission to A-Level, knowing other students with the same grade have a pass.
    We need an All-UK (Eng +Wales+NI) exam.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 31.

    Local authorities, teaching unions and schools began a legal challenge against Ofqual's refusal to re-grade GCSE English papers in England. BBC News Friday 22nd September 2012

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 30.

    Take it as being fed up of your negativity and Rule Britannia outlook on life. Read the recent article in the Western Mail [Its in English not Welsh]
    Wales has some of the best young entrepreneurs in the UK. ITS OFFICIAL. Sorry to be positive about Wales

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    Stopping knocking Wales all the time. If you are not happy why don't you move you seem to be telling everybody else to get on their bike. By the way an I on its own use a capital.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 28.

    did anyone see is wales working?
    a classic example was that young girl from the bridgend area.She gave up her hair dressing job,she couldn't give a coherent answer as to why and then complained that there were no jobs in her area and that she should have listened in school!and cardiff was to far away to go and get a job!it's only 20odd miles away!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 27.

    ... to lift up from the educational mire people might sign up with Coursera digbic ...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19647938

    ... it's free, great topics, very focused with each topic taking a month or so.

    There are no universities from Wales involved but it is early days.

    Unfortunately for the youngsters of today, literacy is the single important prerequisite for participation ....

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 26.

    re23 woodsey

    it's not really hard to dismiss the efforts of the welsh though is it?
    what have we achieved since devolution?how much has our economy improved?how far up the rankings have we gone in educational terms?
    i live in the rhondda and believe you me it is very grim and very depressing.u know the people are useless when they think travelling to cardiff for work is to far away!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    we languish at the bottom of educational leagues,health leagues and economically we are a laughing stock.On the bright side however we still ride high on the teenage pregnancy tables,drug and alcohol abuse and are not far behind america in the obesity leagues!What an awesome population we have in this beautiful land.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 24.

    #23 I will take that as a T.K.O. in the 23rd round.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 23.

    I no longer want to enter into a discussion with someone who is so dismissive of anything Welsh

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 22.

    #19 'Headteachers, Kent Council[which is a Tory Council] Unions etc have all called for remarking.'

    Woodsey: you could call for remarking ! But neither of us believes that your request would have equal clout as a request from the Minister. You can't recommend CBEs or an official enquiry.
    Mr Gove could interfere, but - thus far - hasn't. Independent Exam-Boards are more credible.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 21.

    I will treat that with the contempt it deserves.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    #12 ' I taught in Ireland for five years and I can assure their qualifications are infinitely inferior to the WJEC'

    Do you think that this may be due to their having virulently anti-English governments for longer, and trying to force the use of their minority tongue in Education for longer?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 19.

    Only Welsh Ministers influence outcomes?? Do you honestly think that Ministers in the UK Government don't mislead with statistics. Headteachers, Kent Council[which is a Tory Council] Unions etc have all called for remarking.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    I'm not sure what "excellence" is, in the context of Cardiff Bay politics, it seems to be second best, whether education, health or political thought.

    Our recent ancestors who struggled to gain Universal suffrage must be turning in their various resting places seeing such mediocrity.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 17.

    #15 'Are you suggesting because we (are) Welsh we are not capable of producing an appropriate examination' ??
    I am suggesting that because the minister can and does influence the examination board, and because it will be in his interest to have a higher % of A* grades by Welsh pupils, the credibility of the WJEC will be lowered. So it won't be an 'equal qual'.

 

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