Calls for action as research reveals high levels of education inequality in Wales
Plaid Cymru has called for an urgent review of education inequality in Wales after new research revealed that pupils from poorer backgrounds are, on average, nearly two years behind their peers when they sit GCSEs.
The research published today by the Education Policy Institute shows that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average 22-23 months behind their peers.
This increases to 29 months for children from ‘long-term’ poor families.
Researchers also conclude that Covid lockdowns increased the gap
Plaid Cymru’s Children and Young People spokesperson, Heledd Fychan MS, said the issue must be addressed urgently given that the cost-of-living crisis is likely to exacerbate inequalities over the coming months and years.
“These findings give considerable cause for concern and show that there is still a long way to go in closing the attainment gap in Wales,” she said.
“This issue must be looked at by Welsh Government as a matter of urgency as the problem will only get worse with the cost-of-living crisis.
“The education minister should consider undertaking a Rapid Review of why the situation in Wales is so disappointing and report on a set of meaningful recommendations before the start of the autumn term.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS, criticised the Welsh Government’s record following the publication of the report.
“Whether it’s educational attainment or levels of poverty, it’s clear that the poorest in Wales are suffering under Labour,” she said.
“They’ve had 23 years to help the most vulnerable but have failed spectacularly. Labour in power means child poverty rates increase and education standards get worse.
“Remember, children in Wales missed more days of school on average than any other part in the UK due to Labour’s lockdowns – and there’s no plan for them to catch-up.
“Instead of Labour’s lacklustre approach, what we need to see is a clear commitment from this Labour Government to ensure our children are supported in every way possible so that learners can get the very best education they deserve.”
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