Estyn’s Annual Report for 2011-12 makes sad reading about the current state of education in Wales. Following a whole catalogue of numerous initiatives that seemed to have, rather than improved matters, actually made things worse, the Welsh Labour Government must start tackling the underlying weaknesses in our education system.
The Welsh Labour Government first believed that scrapping annual exams was the answer to improving numeracy and literacy. Now, after years of decline in school standards, the Education Minister is reversing that decision. Following over thirteen years of Labour rule, teachers and schools have been given no clear direction and it is Welsh pupils that are paying the price for this chaotic approach to education.
It is hugely disappointing to see that the number of schools ranked good or excellent has declined over the last year, while nearly half of schools underperformed to the extent that they need a follow-up inspection. Wales is still facing massive problems when it comes to teaching our pupils the basics such as reading, writing and numeracy. Is it any wonder that Wales’ economy is lagging behind the rest of the UK when we are not even equipping our pupils the basics before they leave school?
It is welcome that the Education Minister has in the past recognised the many failings of his party’s record in Government, but it is now time for him to stand up and take responsibility for his department as we can’t allow another generation of Wales’ young people to be left behind.