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No guarantees on education improvement

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Labour’s First Minister has refused to guarantee his government’s literacy and numeracy target will be hit next year.

Questioned in the Senedd by the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Carwyn Jones has effectively failed to put any kind of timeline on improvements in educational standards in Wales.

As it stands, the Labour government has a literacy and numeracy ‘ambition’ of 65 per cent of pupils reaching Key Stage 4, Level 2 by 2015. The current A* to C figure is 52.7 per cent.

Today’s First Minister’s Questions followed the publication of an Estyn report on English lessons – which concluded progress is ‘still too slow for 7-14 year-olds in Wales to catch-up with other areas of the UK’.

Welsh Conservatives have long called for a new approach to Welsh education that bridges the clear gap between early years care and the 14-19 pathway. A ‘middle phase’ could better support pupils as they make the difficult transition from primary to secondary school, and help put an end to Wales’ glaring attainment gaps.

Last week, Labour leader Mr Jones spoke at an education conference, tweeting:

Delivering my first major speech on education since becoming FM this morning

Mr Jones took up his current position in 2009.

Welsh conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM, said:

“Five years in the job and finally Labour’s Welsh boss turns his attention to our children’s futures – yet still he can’t guarantee his own literacy and numeracy target will be met.

“15 years of a Labour-run education system has led to falling standards and a generation cruelly let down.

“Wales deserves to know when the attainment gap will be closed and how Labour ministers plan to do it.

“Welsh Conservatives have a clear vision for the future of Welsh education – directly funding schools, empowering teachers and parents, returning excellence to the classroom, and introducing a much-needed middle phase.”

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