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Labour to axe key five A*-C GCSE measure

 Angela Burns AM

The Welsh Labour Government has announced it will no longer publish the key five A* to C grade GCSE measure, the primary indicator of key stage 4 performance in Welsh schools.

New measures will be introduced in 2017 and 2018 as the Welsh Government attempts to move away from threshold measures.

This would make it even more difficult to compare performance of the Welsh education system with other parts of the UK.

The Welsh Government has a target for 65% of students achieving five A* to C grades by 2015. In 2013, the figure achieved was 52.7%.

It is now almost impossible to compare per pupil funding in schools across the UK because the Welsh Government stopped compiling comparable data in 2011. There had been a funding gap of over £600 per pupil.

The five A* to C grade measure is not the only data facing the chop. The Welsh Labour Government is currently consulting on scrapping a series of key health performance measures, which demonstrate that targets have not been met for years. These include the eight minute ambulance response time target for immediately life-threatening calls, which has only been met once in the past two years.

Angela Burns AM, Shadow Minister for Education, said, “This is a worrying and retrograde step, making it more difficult to benchmark the Welsh education system against performance in other parts of the UK.

“It is clear that the Labour Government is pursuing a separatist agenda to evade scrutiny of its 15 years in power and end negative comparisons with education systems in other parts of the UK.

“Yet again we see a Labour Government responding to missing its own performance targets, not through investment or reform, but by scrapping the publication of data altogether.

“As international data shows Wales falling behind in key skills under Labour, now is not the time to drop the focus on a GCSE C grade – the expected level of performance in literacy, numeracy and science.

“This move away from threshold targets will make it more difficult to identify cohorts of students failing to achieve expected levels of performance.

“This is further evidence of Carwyn Jones’ administration covering up its own failures in pursuit of the narrow political interests of the Labour Party instead of driving up school standards.”

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