Yesterday the Education Minister performed a U-turn by announcing that Qualifications Wales will take responsibility for awarding qualifications.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long argued for an independent regulator, therefore I welcome this change.
The unholy mess that unfolded in the summer illustrated there was a need for a more robust system of checks and balances. It should never have been up to the Education Minister to be the sole arbitrator on the way exams are awarded.
Just a few months ago, the Welsh Liberal Democrats held a debate in the National Assembly calling for the Welsh Government to establish an independent qualifications regulator. At that time the Education Minister refused to heed our calls and claimed that the regulatory system in Wales had worked – the Qualifications Review has clearly convinced him that he was wrong.
I’m increasingly concerned that U-turns are becoming synonymous with this Minister’s tenure in the education department. Whether it be the home school register, forcing universities to merge, the banding of primary schools, Child Development Assessment Profile’s, the list goes on and on – this Minister is having to dedicate far too much of his time to righting his wrongs.
The Minister needs to listen more from the outset, rather than setting out his course of action without properly assessing the pros and cons of a decision. Teachers and schools are being given no clear direction from the Minister, which can only have a negative effect on education in Wales.