YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM, Jocelyn Davies
4:03pm Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
It is with great disappointment that the latest international educational rankings – known as the PISA test – show that Wales has slipped further behind in terms of standards of reading, mathematics and science. The PISA tests compare the performance of the world’s fifteen year-olds in these important fields.
The results show that Wales is the worst performing country in the UK. It is particularly disappointing that we haven’t moved forward since the last results in 2009 despite recent predictions by the Carwyn Jones that we would, and also given that so many other countries are facing similar challenges in terms of poverty and economic difficulties.
Scotland leads the PISA league table in Britain and the Republic of Ireland ranks in the top ten in the world for reading. The Welsh Government’s performance is just not good enough. Our children are being failed, and good, hard-working teachers are being let down too.
One party has run education in Wales, without interruption, since 1997. A decade and a half to make a difference should be long enough. How much longer must we wait for an education system our young people deserve?
I have great sympathy with business leaders who expressed their disappointment at the latest figures. For Wales to prosper and for our economy to grow, we need an education system that equips our young people with vital skills. The leader of the CBI called this week’s revelations a ‘wake-up call’ for those who care about the future of our education system.
Businesses need the best conditions for success which includes a highly-skilled workforce. But as consumers, we too can make a difference. Readers may not be aware that this weekend is ‘Small Business Saturday’ and in the run-in to Christmas we have a great opportunity to support local shops and businesses especially along our high streets.
The impact of spending £1 on the High Street rather than in the larger stores is far greater – in fact that pound stays in the local economy three times longer than if spent in a supermarket. For many small, local businesses, the Christmas period is vital to see them through the rest of the year.
I would also like to reiterate, as we enter the festive period, the fair alternatives to pay-day lenders. Across Gwent, there are community credit unions with competitive rates and who act ethically. Readers can find out more by visiting: www.FindYourCreditUnion.co.uk
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