Labour: Wales has "some difficult questions to answer"


Today's international education rankings make sobering reading for the UK, and pretty bleak news for Wales.

The results themselves will be well covered elsewhere so I'll concentrate on some of the reaction here at Westminster.

Labour has been in charge of Welsh education since 1997, a point put to the shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt on BBC Radio 4's Today. This is his response:

"Wales has some difficult questions to answer just as counties like Suffolk or Berkshire or cities like Wolverhampton or places like Herefordshire have difficult questions to answer not least when it comes to the attainment of children from disadvantaged communities and this goes back to the original point which is that the children who I represent in Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere have to have the best teaching possible because they are often not going to get that kind of support at home."

Mr Hunt isn't the only Labour figure to acknowledge the problem: it featured prominently during Alan Milburn's recent review of social mobility.

The results suggest the performance of schools in England is failing to improve, which may be one reason why Michael Gove's people have been keen to highlight the relative underperformance in Wales. (Mr Gove also argues it is too soon for his own reforms to have made a difference).

A source close to Mr Gove claimed education in Wales had suffered due to the decision to abolish SATs in 2004 and the abolition of school league tables.

The education secretary is due to make a House of Commons statement later. I'll update here on any Welsh fall-out.

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

Ministers accused of opting for "comfortable impotence"

MPs have been holding their traditional annual debate on Welsh affairs as St David's Day celebrations continue.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Some difficult questions to answer?
    We'll you are not going to get ant answers from the bay, but you will get plenty of political cliches: 2 to 3 years ago a wake up call. Takes time. Eye off the ball. Challenge for everyone. Remedy situation. No surprise? And that's from the man in charge! the situation has become hopeless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    15 If you spent any time in Ireland you will know that
    1 The language is not part and parcel of daily school life
    2 The language is rarely heard. 1.8% of the population say that they use it
    3 For the last 3/4 years been a growing movement towards removing the language from education
    I agree that the WA are to blame for 14 years of declining standards

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Parents have no way of knowing, that the choice they made, in going down the WM education path, was the correct one, until five years later, when it is too late to do anything about it. The WAG has sole responsibility, to ensure a fit for purpose schooling, end of story. Teaching maths and sciences bilingually, during the same lesson, leads to boredom and falling results, let's be honest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    But worse than the WM emphasis is the abject cowardice of our academics and politicians who just will not question those sacred cows....Is Welsh langauge teaching a help or hindrance to attainment in schools? Are teachers really hardworking and committed? There are two Welsh schools showing good improvements recently Cardiff High and Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen..What are they doing? Monitoring teaching!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    We are very foolish in Wales when it comes to teacher training and recruitment. Only 6% of teachers here come from England but there is ahuge reservoire of talent in the English speaking world. What do we do? we start recruiting only teachers with Welsh language qualifications. For Welsh Medium schools the pool of available talent is even smaller. What do we do? Encourage parents to use WM!!


Comments 5 of 35



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.