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Summary

  1. Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 13.30 with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
  3. Statement by the Chair of the Finance Committee on the Budget Process
  4. Plaid Cymru Debate on "Welsh Second Language"
  5. Plaid Cymru Debate: the importance of full membership of the European single market to the Welsh economy
  6. Welsh Conservatives Debate on transport connections in north Wales
  7. UKIP Debate on grammar schools
  8. Short Debate: Unlocking Children's Natural Potential - The Role of Outdoor Education in the Learning Process.

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl

Another busy day in the Senedd comes to an end.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 27 September.

Senedd
BBC

Short Debate - Unlocking Children's Natural Potential

And finally for today a Short Debate by the Labour AM for Cynon Valley, Vikki Howells. 

The subject: Unlocking Children's Natural Potential - The Role of Outdoor Education in the Learning Process. 

Children's playground
BBC

The same Kirsty Williams?

'First class education'

Kirsty Williams, the only Liberal Democrat member of the Labour Welsh Government, says the debate should be "about how all children have a first class education... not about what type of school they go to". 

She promises she would never allow a selective education system in Wales.  

Kirsty Williams
BBC

Grammar schools 'encourage educational inequalities'

Plaid Cymru's Shadow Education Secretary Llyr Gruffydd says his party felt grammar schools "encourage educational inequalities", and accuses the Welsh Conservatives of being confused about their stance on the issue.  

Llyr Gruffydd
BBC

'Extending parental and pupil choice'

Conservative Darren Millar says the Welsh Conservatives are "not currently persuaded" that allowing schools to select pupils by ability is "the right way forward" in Wales.

The Welsh Conservatives raised the prospect of re-introducing a form of grammar schools in 2013, but the idea failed to make it into the party's 2016 assembly election manifesto.

The Conservatives argue instead for "extending parental and pupil choice" as "the best way to improve standards in our schools".

They call on the Welsh Government to "free schools up from local authority control and enable popular schools to expand to enable more pupils to access schools that they and their parents choose".

Darren Millar
BBC

In figures: grammar schools

There are currently around 163 grammar schools in England, out of some 3,000 state secondary schools, and a further 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland.    

'Follow the lead of the UK government'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says "it's time for this Labour Government to follow the lead of the UK government and introduce legislation in this chamber to allow local authorities to offer a more diverse mix of educational options according to the needs of the area and the desires of the parents."

Michelle Brown
BBC

UKIP call for the grammar system's re-introduction

Now for a UKIP debate calling for the grammar system's re-introduction in Wales.

Wales' last selective state school, Whitland Grammar School in Carmarthenshire, closed in 1988, and UKIP was the only party in the 2016 assembly election promising a return to selective education.

It would mean pupils being tested at the age of 11, with the brightest going to grammar schools and those not getting top grades attending other schools.

Under the old selective system non-grammar state schools were called secondary moderns.

Critics say the 11-plus exam brands most children as failures for life
BBC
Critics say the 11-plus exam brands most children as failures for life

Summit held within the first 100 days

Economy secretary Ken Skates says that within the first 100 days of this government, an economic summit was held in north Wales.

Franklin Roosevelt was the first to talk of a government's 100 day milestone
AP
Franklin Roosevelt was the first to talk of a government's 100 day milestone

'Much chimes with issues we face in West Wales'

The journey between north and south Wales

Janet Finch-Saunders cites this article: North to south Wales travel: 'A jigsaw piece missing'.

The number of people travelling on the A470 reduces significantly in the more isolated parts of Wales
DFT
The number of people travelling on the A470 reduces significantly in the more isolated parts of Wales

Welsh transport smart card

Plaid Cymru's Dai Lloyd calls for the introduction of a "Welsh transport smart card for the whole of Wales to connect all communities through an integrated transport system." 

'Basis for improving the economic performance of north Wales'

Conservative Mark Isherwood says the proposals contained within the Growth Vision for the Economy of North Wales offer the basis for improving the economic performance of north Wales.

'Full and unfettered access'

On behalf of the government, Ken Skates emphasises the importance of "full and unfettered access for goods and services to the EU single market".

Ken Skates
BBC

'Ignoring the will of the Welsh people'

"You are ignoring the will of the Welsh people", UKIP's David Rowlands tells Plaid Cymru.  

Wales voted to leave the European Union by a majority of just over 5%.

'Rich of the Conservatives'

Labour's Lee Waters says it's "rich of the Conservatives to call for clarity as we don't have clarity from the UK Government".

Lee Waters
BBC

Importance of access to the EU Single Market

Conservative Mark Isherwood's emphasis is on "access" to the EU Single Market.

He calls for clarity on the Welsh Government's position on the free movement of people between the UK and the EU, post Brexit.

Mark Isherwood
BBC

Full membership of the European single market

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price expresses his party's views about the importance of full membership of the European single market to the Welsh economy.  

'Education is being reformed'

Alun Davies insists that education in Wales is being reformed, with Qualifications Wales strengthening the Welsh Second Language GCSE as an interim measure, and from 2021 the new curriculum will remove the distinction between Welsh and Welsh Second Language.  

'Unpalatable choice' at the age of 14

Neil Hamilton says that he faced an "unpalatable choice" at the age of 14 between Welsh and German, and he chose the latter.

He describes the minister for the Welsh language, Alun Davies as the "bulldozer of the administration".

"If anybody can achieve the ambition it is him".  

Neil Hamilton
BBC

Government has 'wasted time'

Conservative Suzy Davies says that the Welsh Government has "wasted time" since the publication of Sioned Davies' report. 

She calls upon the Welsh Government to improve Welsh language skills development in all Flying Start settings, and to set out its plans for developing Welsh language skills within vocational courses and studies undertaken in community learning settings.

Suzy Davies
BBC

'Difficult to recruit and train the additional teachers needed'

Analysis

Arwyn Jones

BBC Wales Political Correspondent

Plaid Cymru's call that all pupils follow one Welsh GCSE qualification by 2018 would need a far greater emphasis on the subject in English-medium secondary schools. The party says Welsh should be a core subject in all schools, not just Welsh-medium schools, as is the case now. That would mean more time on the curriculum for Welsh at the expense of other subjects such as English, maths and science. A Welsh Government commissioned report into the teaching of Welsh as a second language raised concerns about the number and quality of teachers able to teach the subject. Plaid Cymru wants to "invest substantially, and seriously plan, through a series of innovative initiatives, in order to quickly increase the number of education practitioners who teach through the medium of Welsh". However, if they want a new GCSE qualification to be taught in two years' time it will be difficult to recruit and train the additional teachers needed to deliver the course."

Welsh-medium education for all

In its assembly election manifesto, Plaid Cymru said the aim should ultimately be Welsh-medium education for all.  

The role of education in promoting the Welsh language

Plaid Cymru will now use a debate to stress the role of education in promoting the language.

First Minister Carwyn Jones announced the target of one million Welsh speakers at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny in August.

In the motion for debate, Plaid Cymru call for a "clear timetable" for a new GCSE to replace the one for Welsh as a second language.

It said a new Welsh course for all pupils should be introduced by 2018, pointing out it was three years since the idea was recommended in a report by Prof Sioned Davies of Cardiff University for the Welsh Government.

Spin the wheel in Welsh
BBC

New budget process required

As new fiscal powers are devolved, a new budget process is required in readiness for the draft budget of 2018/19, says the chair of the Finance Committee, Simon Thomas. 

"We hope that the Wales Bill will allow us to put our budgetary procedures on a statutory footing with an annual budgetary bill, which is a further step in the assembly's evolution to being our parliament," he says.

Simon Thomas
BBC

Motions agreed

Members agree motions to:

  • elect Rhun ap Iorwerth (Plaid Cymru) as a Member of the Business Committee in place of Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru).
  • elect Nathan Gill (Independent) as a Member of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in place of Michelle Brown (UKIP).
  • appoint Adam Price (Plaid Cymru) as a member of the Assembly Commission in place of Dai Lloyd (Plaid Cymru). 

No questions tabled

Yet again no questions have tabled to the Assembly Commission, the corporate body responsible for ensuring that property, staff and services are provided for the Assembly.

'You couldn't make it up'

Labour AM tweets

Four-weekly bin collections

UKIP's Gareth Bennett refers to the fact that four-weekly bin collections have begun as part of a year-long trial in Conwy to encourage residents to recycle more.

He says such a scheme has failed in Bury, Greater Manchester. 

He says "in the UK we have many disused quarries and gravel pits so we don't need to comply" with EU targets.

Gareth Bennett
BBC

Pressures facing rural councils

Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders calls for a review of the funding formula to consider extra pressures facing rural councils.

Mr Drakeford says the formula is reviewed every year. 

A tax cut or not?

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price says that the announcement that the business rate relief scheme will be extended to 2017/18 is not a tax cut as it's a continuation of the current scheme. 

Mr Drakeford says it "most certainly is a tax cut". 

He adds that "businesses would have been paying that tax, now they will not".

Adam Price
BBC

'Victory has many fathers'

"Victory has many fathers" says Mr Drakeford, quoting Tacitus, after Conservative Darren Millar welcomes the "conversion" to promising  to establish a development bank.

Referendum threshold

Mr Drakeford says it's an option available to all councils, subject to a referendum.

He does not accept that a threshold of 10% of the electorate needed to trigger a referendum is "absurdly high". 

Mark Drakeford
BBC

Prynhawn da

Plenary begins at 1.30pm with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford. 

The first question is by the Conservative AM David Melding: Will the Minister make a statement on the process to establish elected mayors in Wales?  

Meeting in private

The committee is now meeting in private. 

Senedd Live will be back at 1.30pm for the plenary.

Welcoming refugees

Asked by Bethan Jenkins about what the Welsh Government is doing to facilitate the process of welcoming refugees, Mr Sargeant says "the levers are with the UK government". 

He adds that "negotiations will continue... we want to play our part". 

refugees
Getty Images

'I anticipate a seat-belt style rush'

In response to Joyce Watson's comment that a "relatively low number of landlords" have registered as part of the Rent Smart Wales scheme, Mr Sargeant says "I anticipate a seat-belt style rush" by landlords ahead of the deadline.

The law now requires all landlords to register, and agents and self-managing landlords to obtain a licence, by 23 November 2016 .  

Around 20,000 landlords have registered so far. 

Joyce Watson
BBC

'That disturbs me' says Labour AM

When Mr Sargeant says that building regulations are the responsibility of Lesley Griffiths, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, their Labour colleague Jenny Rathbone comments:

"That disturbs me, because I'm afraid Lesley Griffiths told us that was your responsibility."

Jenny Rathbone
BBC

Bill to end the Right to Buy

Mr Sargeant says that one of his priorities is to legislate to stop the Right to Buy in Wales.

He says he will be introducing a bill to end the Right to Buy in the first year of the government’s legislative programme, to protect the social housing stock from further reduction and give social landlords the confidence to build new homes.

Carl Sargeant
BBC