Education minister calls to raise game after dire test results

South Wales Argus: Education minister calls to raise game after dire test results Education minister calls to raise game after dire test results

THE Welsh education minister yesterday said that he and the nation’s education system should take a long hard look in the mirror after a global league table put Wales at the bottom of the British class.

But a Newport head teacher said the results of the international survey, which saw Wales’ performance slump in maths and science, should not cause us to panic.

The so-called Pisa results for 2012, published yesterday, led to heated exchanges in the Senedd on Tuesday with the first minister saying his government takes responsibility for the results.

Under the education rankings Wales remains the worst performing nation in the UK for maths, science and reading, with the whole UK ranked 26th in the world.

Education minister Huw Lewis said the results were disappointing and show Wales still has a way to go.

“Everyone needs to take a long hard long in the mirror, myself included, and accept that we have to raise our game, accept the fact there is an issue, not dodge it, and secondly really uncover what is my role in putting this right,” he told the Argus.

Mr Lewis said he was still committed to the target of getting Wales into the top 20 of Pisa, set by his predecessor Leighton Andrews, despite Simon Thomas of Plaid’s claim it wasn’t now practical.

The minister said the results weren’t surprising, with the last set of Pisa results from 2009 indicating issues to take on board.

Since 2009 the Welsh Government has introduced a number of changes, including new reading and numeracy tests and school banding.

Newport headteacher Jon Wilson said we should “be very careful with these results that we don’t panic”.

He said the last results from 2009 had indicated “what a lot of us felt, that the attention put to basic skills had not been high enough in any agenda” and said a number of measures had been put in place since.

Mr Wilson, of Duffryn High School, said: “It will take a number of years for us to see the fruits of what we are doing.”

Simon Thomas, Plaid education spokesman, said: “After 16 years of Labour in government we have a right to expect better results than this.”

Tory group leader Andrew RT Davies, speaking during First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd, asked if Mr Jones would put his own reputation on the line to see improvement at the next Pisa tests in 2015.

“If you won’t, then you really should reflect on your position,” he said.

But Mr Jones said: “We accept responsibility for these results.” We have put in place a system that will help to improve education in Wales.”

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Lib Dem leader, asked if Mr Jones was ashamed. “No,” came the reply, amid heckles.

Comments (3)

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11:12am Wed 4 Dec 13

Woodgnome says...

Not sure of the blame circus will help. It has to be a team effort by ALL participants. Govt supply the tools, parents encourage their kids and not undermine the process, teachers be good teachers with parental support and kids stop believing they are untouchable and can behave how they like.
There was a piece the other day about a nursery teaching the tots how to eat and to have manners, another piece today in the news about abusive parents on football touch lines and efforts to be made to stop the abuse. All part of the same defective culture
Not sure of the blame circus will help. It has to be a team effort by ALL participants. Govt supply the tools, parents encourage their kids and not undermine the process, teachers be good teachers with parental support and kids stop believing they are untouchable and can behave how they like. There was a piece the other day about a nursery teaching the tots how to eat and to have manners, another piece today in the news about abusive parents on football touch lines and efforts to be made to stop the abuse. All part of the same defective culture Woodgnome

7:36am Thu 5 Dec 13

Evan Owen says...

I read that the NUT Wales representative didn't think passing a test was important, and people blame society as a whole for lacking discipline and ambition!
I read that the NUT Wales representative didn't think passing a test was important, and people blame society as a whole for lacking discipline and ambition! Evan Owen

9:18am Thu 5 Dec 13

Crossbenchtory says...

Two words "Grammar Schools"

These not only gave a massive boost to social mobility and the prospects of working class children with an academic bent, it also allowed those whose skill set lies in the more hands on trades to be developed and nurtured, educationally, according to their abilities, the result of this was that the vast majority of children were enabled to grow into adulthood and succeed to the best of their abilities.
This is diametrically opposed to the socialist ideal, of reducing all children to the lowest common denominator, which we currently see in Wales today.
Devolution, under Labour, has presided over the production of a generation of school levers who are poorly educated and largely unfit for the challenges of the modern world.

One cannot, having listened to the pronouncements of Welsh Education Ministers over a number of years, help coming to the conclusion that this has been done for the sole purpose of differentiating Wales from everywhere else, particularly England. A singularly ridiculous motivation for which the entire Assembly and the teacher unions are wholly culpable.

We need to get back to basics and go back to the 11 Plus and Grammar Schools, a system that worked and was proven to work over generations.
Two words "Grammar Schools" These not only gave a massive boost to social mobility and the prospects of working class children with an academic bent, it also allowed those whose skill set lies in the more hands on trades to be developed and nurtured, educationally, according to their abilities, the result of this was that the vast majority of children were enabled to grow into adulthood and succeed to the best of their abilities. This is diametrically opposed to the socialist ideal, of reducing all children to the lowest common denominator, which we currently see in Wales today. Devolution, under Labour, has presided over the production of a generation of school levers who are poorly educated and largely unfit for the challenges of the modern world. One cannot, having listened to the pronouncements of Welsh Education Ministers over a number of years, help coming to the conclusion that this has been done for the sole purpose of differentiating Wales from everywhere else, particularly England. A singularly ridiculous motivation for which the entire Assembly and the teacher unions are wholly culpable. We need to get back to basics and go back to the 11 Plus and Grammar Schools, a system that worked and was proven to work over generations. Crossbenchtory

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