Wales politics

Kirsty Williams: 'Education coalition will raise school standards'

Pupils sitting exams

School improvements will only happen if the Welsh Government, teaching professionals and parents work together, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has said.

Ms Williams told The Wales Report that it was time for a "coalition" in education to achieve high standards and get the basics right in classrooms.

The results of Pisa tests conducted last year are expected in December.

Wales performed worse than the rest of the UK in the last tests in 2012.

A Liberal Democrat AM, Kirsty Williams was appointed to Carwyn Jones' Labour cabinet after reaching an agreement with the first minister following May's assembly election.

She told the programme that her appointment had created "a new dynamic" in the Welsh Government.

More than 70 countries are signed up to the Pisa education tests, which assess the skills of students in maths, reading and science every three years.

Ms Williams said: "I am clear that I can not change education from the fifth floor office of the Welsh Government building.

"We need to create a coalition of Welsh Government, local education authorities and regional consortia who are in charge of school improvement and we also must work with headteachers, teachers in the classroom and parents".

The education secretary added that it would take time for the Welsh Government's educational reforms to reflect an improvement in those tests.

"We have to accept that last year's tests were taken during a process of change and it will take a number of years for our reforms to bed in," she said.

She said her plan was based on reforming teacher training, a new school curriculum, supporting poorer students and securing additional resources for school improvements.

"We cannot afford to be changing and dashing off in a different direction every time there's a bump in the road. We need to stick to it," she added.

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