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Labour’s Welsh education scandal

Welsh Conservatives today slammed Labour’s scandalous record in education in Wales.


Under Labour:

  • Wales’ performance in PISA rankings between 2009 and 2012 got worse in science and maths, falling behind Latvia, Slovenia and Poland in key skills.  In 2012, Wales ranked between 17 and 18 places behind England in reading, maths and science.

  • GCSE pass rate for GCSE maths has fallen to 96% - the lowest pass rate in any subject, while 49.4% of students fail to score a C grade or above – 22,000 students in 2014.

  • Wales’ top 20 PISA target has been downgraded


  • Carwyn Jones has admitted that he and his Labour Ministers took their “eye off the ball” on school standards.


  • The school funding gap widened from £496 per pupil in 2009 to £604 in 2011 and Labour Ministers have ceased publishing comparable figures.

  • Former Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, said, ‘the education system in Wales is not delivering the outcomes our young people need or deserve’.

  • The Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission stated that ‘too many poor children in Wales are being let down by the existing schools system’ and warned that ‘urgent action’ is needed to address education access gaps between England and Wales.

  • There is a ‘lack of long-term clarity in policy making with weak implementation approaches’, according to the OECD.

  • GCSE grades still lag behind other parts of the UK with the A*-C pass rate at 66.6%, 2% below England at 68.6%, and below the UK average of 68.8%.

  • Applications from Welsh-domiciled students to Oxbridge universities have halved.

  • The Association of School and College Leaders Cymru has warned that the average Welsh secondary school could soon face a funding shortfall of over £1million.

  • £50million of HE funding is spent every year subsidising students to study at English universities

  • In 2012 Labour promised its university merger policy would not lead to campus or course closures.  It did.

  • Since 2005, modern foreign language learning at GCSE has fallen by a third while A Level study has more than halved with certain subjects down by two thirds.  Since 2010 language study in England has risen by 21%.

  • 17% of Labour’s £2.5billion annual schools budget never reaches the classroom.

  • In 2012 the then Education Minister ordered a remarking for GCSE English Language exam papers to improve grades.

    Angela Burns AM, Shadow Minister for Education, said, “Labour Ministers have presided over a national scandal in the Welsh education system, letting down an entire generation of young people and letting Wales fall behind in the global race.


    “Last year, just half of students achieved a grade C or above in GCSE maths, while there has been a drop in the take-up of other qualifications, including some of the skills that are valued most highly by employers.


    “Labour has run the Welsh education system into the ground for 15 years, meddling in the curriculum, gerrymandering exam results and removing opportunities for comparisons with other parts of the UK and European nations.


    “While Carwyn Jones and Labour Ministers have apologised, that means nothing to the thousands of students who have passed through an education system which wasn’t properly resourced to give them every opportunity to succeed.


    “Every year, £50million of Welsh university cash ends up subsidising students to study in England, while almost a fifth of Wales’ £2.5billion schools budget never reaches the classroom.


    “Wales’ teachers are a credit to our society, but their profession has been worn down by Labour’s interference, a failure to promote continuous professional development and a lack of trust in the profession.


    “Welsh Conservatives would directly fund schools to ensure resources reach the classroom, restore parity between academic and vocational qualifications and trust teachers to get on with their jobs without constant bureaucratic interference.”