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Shock at Education Minister's decision to leave

Mr Lewis says 'the time is right for me to move on' Photo: PA

Those in the Welsh education sector have been shocked following the announcement from the Education and Skills Minister, Huw Lewis AM, that he will not seek re-election in May.

He describes the role as 'the job I always wanted to do' but told his local Labour Party that 'the time is right for me to move on'.

"It is out of the blue, but he's been a constructive Minister to work with who bought a change of attitude to the department in terms of wanting to listen and work with the profession."

– Owen Hathway, Wales Policy Officer, NUT

"Huw Lewis has been genuinely committed to a high quality education system for Wales and has been willing to work collaboratively to achieve that aim. No-one could question his dedication to tackling the link between poverty and low educational achievement.

"He has presided over some key developments, notably major steps towards the first ever genuinely Welsh curriculum, a new entitlement to professional development for teachers and further education lecturers, and a change of heart on devolving teachers' pay and conditions.

"A huge amount of important work remains to be done in these fields - and in others such as the conditions of supply teachers. His successor in this crucial portfolio will have plenty on their agenda.

– Spokesperson, UCAC Teachers' Union

Huw Lewis has publicly placed his faith in the workforce to deliver, encouraging the profession to believe in their collective expertise and strength. To lose momentum now would be unthinkable and we are committed to working with the Education Department within Welsh Government and continuing to do the best for every learner"

– NAHT Cymru

As Minister Huw Lewis has overseen some significant changes to education in Wales:

Reflecting on his time in the role the Minister says "seeing the attainment gap close this year between poorer students and their better off contemporaries is something I am incredibly proud of."

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, says Mr Lewis' passion will be 'sorely missed in the next Assembly':

As Education Minister he has overseen record GCSE results in Wales and set in train ambitious proposals for wholesale curriculum reform that will change the way our youngsters learn for decades to come."

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister

The political world has been quick to wish Huw Lewis well, with Plaid Cymru's Jocelyn Davies AM saying: "I wish Huw Lewis well in his life after the Assembly. His decision came as a surprise. Political differences aside, Huw is very pleasant company and has a good sense of humour."

Huw Lewis' announcement brings the number of Labour AMs standing down in May to 10.

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