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Flagship education programmes fail to deliver for pupils

“Children in Wales are no better off because of a Labour Government”: Plaid Cymru

Labour’s flagship education policies have failed by their own measure, and children in Wales are no better off in their education because of a Labour Government, the Party of Wales Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas has said.

On the day that the Estyn annual report found standards in primary schools have declined this year and, in many cases, this was due to weaknesses in pupils’ numeracy skills, Mr Thomas has highlighted a series of government initiatives that were intended to close the attainment gap and raise achievement levels, but have failed to deliver considerable progress.

The Mid and West AM pointed to:

    • The Literacy Framework which was intended to raise attainment in reading and writing. Estyn’s report on literacy in Key Stage 3 found that “the LNF was introduced quickly but progress in implementing the framework has been slower than expected.”
    • The Foundation Phase which stated that one of its key aims was to reduce the attainment gap. However an evaluation published in January 2015 found that “inequalities in outcomes have generally not fallen following the introduction of the Foundation Phase.”
    • Flying Start which was intended to improve outcomes for children in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Wales. The IPSOS Mori and SQW evaluation of Flying Start said that “the longitudinal study of Flying Start families showed no statistically significant difference between outcomes for those in Flying Start and non-Flying Start areas.”

The Party of Wales Shadow Education and Skills Minister Simon Thomas said:

“Independent evaluations of the Welsh Government’s flagship education policies show that children in Wales are no better off because of a Labour Government. While the aim of these policies is admirable, what is glaringly obvious is the lack of delivery.

“Delivery is all-important and that’s why Plaid Cymru wants to work with teachers to realise our goals. Significant changes will not happen on the slashed budgets that Labour is passing on to our local authorities and schools. Plaid Cymru is the only main stream voice in Wales opposed to the austerity agenda that has been implemented by the Westminster coalition and supported by Labour.”

The Mid and West AM added: “We have ambitious plans for the education sector. The Party of Wales wants to implement the professional standards that teachers want by investing in teachers’ training, ensuring that all teachers have training in literacy, numeracy, closing the attainment gap and improving attendance and behaviour. All teachers in all parts of Wales will have access to best practice.

“We also want to work with teachers to cut red tape and let them get on with the job of teaching.”