Education Minister Huw Lewis this week announced that he is appointing another member to the recovery board which is overseeing education in Blaenau Gwent.
The name is a familiar one in RCT political circles - Gary Owen who amongst other things was a former election agent for Pontypridd MP Kim Howells. Amongst his previous roles he has been
Former Chair and E.C member of Welsh Labour
Chair of Welsh Labour's Policy Forum
Member of Labour's National Policy Forum
Former Chair of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Labour Party
Former Chair Pontypridd Constituency Labour Party
Blaenau Gwent education department was put into special measure in 2011. Two years later a report by Estyn found little improvement and just this week the results of the latest national literacy and numeracy tests placed the authority firmly at the bottom of the table.
It begs the question - just what is this recovery board doing? It certainly does not appear to be addressing the issues of poor education standards in the area. It is difficult to see what Mr Owen will be able to add. He is not an educationalist. He is however, quite obviously, one of the favoured few being rewarded for their loyalty to the Labour party by being given several high profile tasks.
His biography also lists him as a member of the First Minister's Taskforce for Cardiff Airport and a member of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone Interim Board. In case that wasn't enough he was one of the Members of the Williams Commission looking at Local Government reorganisation.
As you would expect he is a good union man - his latest job was as a regional Officer with Unite. He is also a Director, Chairman and Trustee of National Unions UAS Pension Scheme.
All well and good, but where is the mention of education? Unless that is he is being sent there not to talk education but instead to bang heads together amongst the Labour members who run the Council? Either way it is just the latest in a long list of Labour "jobs for the boys."