1. ITV Report

What Minister's decision to leave means for education in Wales

Huw Lewis has announced he will not re-seek election in May Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images

The Education Minister, Huw Lewis AM, will step down from his post in May, after deciding not to seek re-election to the Welsh Assembly.

His decision has been a surprise to many in the education sector.

Mr Lewis told his local Labour Party that whilst his current role was the 'job I always wanted to do' he feels it is time to move on and seek out 'fresh challenges'.

Mr Lewis' announcement to leave comes at a time of great change in the education sector, prompting some concern:

I think in some sense there's a little bit of concern that we're in a stopgap between now and the election - we've got a Minister there who isn't necessarily going to be continuing after the election, although I don't doubt for a second that Huw Lewis will continue with the vigour and determination that he's shown thus far at his tenure as Minister for Education.

– Owen Hathway, Wales Policy Officer, NUT
Many see this as a time of great 'momentum' Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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 including the delivery of every recommendation in Professor Donaldson's report and initiated by the Minister.

– NAHT Cymru
'To lose momentum now would be unthinkable' Credit: DAN PELED/AAP/Press Association Images

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 will leave his position in May Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images

The Welsh Government were keen to emphasise that there will be 'no let up on our drive for better standards', and that they will continue to work 'relentlessly to ensure our young people enjoy the highest quality of teaching and learning'.

So, whilst life in the classroom probably won't be affected too much by the Minister's announcement for policy makers and politicians it has definitely been noted.

The biggest change though, could come in May, when voters decide which party they want picking the priorities for education in Wales.

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