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Senedd to debate calls for urgent improvements to education outcomes in Wales

24 Apr 2024 4 minute read
School pupils

Emily Price

The Welsh Conservatives will today bring forward a Senedd motion calling on the Welsh Government to urgently improve education outcomes in Wales.

The latest round of PISA results in reading, maths and science skills revealed Wales ranked the lowest of all UK nations.

The tests were taken in 2022 in 81 countries and are seen as an important measure of education systems.

The Welsh Government says the Covid-19 pandemic impacted improvements to literacy and numeracy.

Last month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies released its ‘Major challenges for education in Wales’ report.

It examined the challenges for education in Wales, including low outcomes and high levels of inequality.

The report found that low educational outcomes are not likely to be a reflection of higher poverty in Wales, a different ethnic mix of pupils, statistical biases or differences in resources.

It concluded the poor outcomes are more likely down to differences in policy and approach.

The report recommended that policymakers and educators in Wales pause, and in some cases rethink, past and ongoing reforms to the education system.

Independent review

During a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday (April 24), the Tories will call on the Welsh Government to commission an independent review into the current educational reforms being brought forward in Wales.

They will argue for 5,000 more teachers and the assurance that pupils with additional learning needs are being provided with the right support sooner.

The party will also call for the introduction of free schools and academies.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Minister, Tom Giffard says he wants to bring forward “proactive solutions”.

He was appointed the shadow cabinet role last week following a reshuffle by Welsh Tory leader, Andrew RT Davies.


Mr Giffard said: “The IFS Education report is extremely concerning and highlights how badly the Labour Government have got it wrong with their educational reforms.

“It’s completely unacceptable that Wales has the lowest pisa results in the UK, with direct Welsh Government policy and approach being the reason for this.

“In the Senedd today, I look forward to bringing forward a Welsh Conservative debate to bring forward proactive solutions to improve educational outcomes across Wales.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Lynne Neagle will also be responding formally to the debate in the Senedd later this afternoon.

Plaid Cymru have urged the Labour Welsh Government to take responsibility for failing to deliver the change needed by pupils and a workforce in crisis.

Spokesperson for Education, Heledd Fychan MS said: “The latest PISA results prove Labour’s complacency is letting down both pupils and teachers. In 2009, the then Education Minister warned that poor PISA results were a ‘wake-up call to a complacent system’ and ‘evidence of a systemic failure’. Only five years later, the First Minister at the time conceded that his government had taken its eye off the ball on education.

“In 2024, results are at their worst since devolution, pupil absences are skyrocketing, the pupil attainment gap is widening, and schools are understaffed and under-resourced.

“Despite a 20-point plan put in place in 2009 to tackle the systemic failures, Labour reforms have failed to deliver the change needed by our children and a burnt-out workforce. Our children deserve better than a government in denial and unwilling to take responsibility.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Sustained improvements in educational attainment are a top priority for the Welsh Government, and the Cabinet Secretary for Education is committed to working with the education workforce to achieve this.

“Our renewed focus on the vital skills of literacy and numeracy alongside the Curriculum for Wales, which has now been introduced to all school in Wales, will help raise standards and aspirations.”

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Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
29 days ago

There needs to be a totally independent review. That surely must be the conclusion.

29 days ago

The IFS is a Tory think tank. You might as well ask the Telegraph what they think.

As for Welsh education … where do I start? It is a conceptual dog’s dinner. I could write a book on what’s wrong and how to fix it. But then, every time people in the sector tell W.Gov what’s wrong, they get roundly ignored. We get told what’s right and are expected to deliver. No wonder there’s a staffing crisis.

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