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Minister's half hearted apology overlooks Labour's failings

December 27, 2013 5:51 PM

It's a slack season for some sections of the media - political journalists for example find themselves at a bit of a loose end. As a result more column inches than usual get devoted to the philosophical ramblings and political opinions of Ministers, such as Huw Lewis, the latest in a long line of Labour Education Ministers desperate to leave a mark on the system in Wales.

Oh and what a mark that is. League tables are certainly not the be all and end all when it comes to judging the standard of education but what does it say to the rest of the world when the latest PISA international tests saw Wales drop further behind the rest of the UK and indeed Europe.

Wales came in at 36th for science, 41st for reading and 43rd for maths, despite promises by both the previous Minister and the First Minister that we could expect improvements.

Obviously overcome by the spirit of Christmas goodwill, Mr Lewis has decided that an apology is in order - well, of sorts.

When asked by a Wales Online correspondent 'whether it would be better for the Welsh Government to apologise and accept it had got things wrong with regards education' he replied:

""I suppose we all need to apologise to young people. Every element of the system - from the minister's office right through to the school governors, local authorities and headteachers - has to step up to this challenge. It's an all-encompassing job of work and we've got to get it right."

He's certainly right about one thing - to put things right will need input from everyone involved. However, it is not governors or headteachers who need to be aplogising.

Education in Wales has been under the control of Labour in Cardiff Bay since 1999. Since then we have seen a stream of Minister's all determined to make a name for themselves by introducing pet projects that have done nothing to raise overall standards. From Jane Davidson's foundation phase to Leighton Andrews ludicrous banding scheme. Constant changes in the curriculum enforced by politicians who know little about education and who are too full of themselves to take any notice of those who do, have served only to confuse the system. Before one system has had a chance to bed in it has been replaced by another.

A recent report said that morale amongst teachers in Wales is lower than average. Is it any wonder given the constant pressure from above? Governors too are being asked to take on more responsibility and undergo more training - and these people are doing this on a voluntary basis remember. The Minister really does have some nerve to suggest that the apology needs to come from anyone but his Government.