Responding to the Estyn reports on education in Merthyr and Monmouthshire, Plaid Cymru Education Spokesperson, Simon Thomas AM, said:
“These reports confirm the emerging picture of a dysfunctional and unequal education system in Wales. To date, not one local education authority has been judged “excellent” and three are in special measures already. Now both Monmouth and Merthyr have been found wanting. In the case of Merthyr, the writing has been on the wall for some time and it is disappointing the authority has not improved. The Minister needs to consider intervention there.
“The whole saga underlines the sorry state successive Labour education ministers have left Wales in since 1997, and in many cases equal failure by Labour local education authorities. Plaid Cymru when in coalition with Labour supported and urged the current programme of school improvements but these reports highlight the need for even more decisive action. Clearly the review of the future of local education authorities is necessary and some kind of restructuring and refocus is needed. However we must not let this get in the way of the simple improvement of classroom teaching of literacy and numeracy and key skills. The teaching profession needs to be supported and praised where it is good and action taken where poor leadership is letting our children down.
“In the light of the clear link between poverty and educational attainment, and the higher levels of deprivation in Wales than the rest of the UK, not addressing this issue holds back our economy and lets our children down.”