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Education Secretary - 'we are not yet where we want to be'

Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams says the Welsh Government recognises there is more to do to raise standards here.

Ms Williams, who took on the education portfolio in May this year. said that while it would be the easy thing to 'rip up the plan and start again,' the government will continue to deliver its education reforms.

We can all agree we are not yet where we want to be. While we have seen a 10 point lift in our maths score, the results for science are disappointing.

Last month I invited the OECD to look at how we are doing in Wales; their advice to me was unambiguous: Stay the course, be brave, you are doing the right things.

The hard work is underway. We have plans in place to develop an excellent professional workforce, a new curriculum and we are introducing robust qualifications that will be nationally and internationally respected. But we recognise that there is more to do...

The easy thing to do would be rip up the plan and start again. But we owe it to our pupils, parents and the profession to do what is right. The OECD has identified Portugal as a country that has much improved. It has taken them 14 years, pursuing reforms that work and holding steady to the course. They took the much needed tough decisions and now they reap the rewards. Wales will have the courage to do likewise to ensure that we deliver our national mission of education reform.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Education Secretary

Wales lagging behind rest of UK in reading, maths & science

Credit: PA

Wales is still behind the rest of the UK when it comes to reading, maths and science, according to the latest PISA rankings.

Organised by the OECD they test how 15 year olds apply skills in science, maths and reading to real life situations.

Published every three years, Wales was behind England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the OECD average in the 2012 results too.

Maths

  • Score: 478 - below the OECD average
  • 2012 score: 468
  • 2009 score: 472

Reading

  • Score: 477 - below the OECD average
  • 2012 score: 480
  • 2009 score: 476

Science

  • Score: 485 - below OECD average
  • 2012 score: 491
  • 2009 score: 496

Earlier this year the then Education Minister Huw Lewis said that there had been improvements education here with better GCSE results, and narrowing the poverty attainment gap be he added evidence ‘an entire system moving forward …must be reflected in PISA results’.

PISA: Wales waits to find out world education ranking

Wales will find out later where its education system ranks, compared with the rest of the world.

Credit: PA Wire

The rankings are decided by the results of the so-called PISA tests, which are taken by 15 year-olds from more than 70 countries.

The tests, by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), form the world's biggest international education survey.

They are held once every three years and test students on their maths, reading and science skills.

In 2012 Wales’ results were worse than all other parts of the UK and below the PISA average.

The results for 2015 will be published at 10am.

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Severn bridge tolls on the rise again for 2017

The tolls on the bridges increase again in January 1st. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Car drivers will pay an extra 10p to cross the Severn Bridge or Second Severn Crossing next year.

Severn River Crossing PLC, the company that runs the bridges, has announced the tolls for next year:

  • Cars and motorvans will pay £6.70 - up from £6.60
  • Small goods vehicles and small buses will pay £13.40 - up from £13.20
  • Heavy goods vehicles and buses will pay £20 - up from £19.80.

The new tolls will come into effect on January 1st.

Read more: Call to abolish Severn tolls

£1 billion of EU structural funds invested in Wales

The Welsh Government says more than £1 billion of EU structural funds have been invested in schemes across Wales.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford also confirmed that the Welsh Government will continue to negotiate directly with the UK Government about future regional funding so Wales does not lose out when the UK leaves the European Union.

We have now invested £1.16bn of the 2014 -20 EU Structural Funds allocation for Wales, supporting schemes including apprenticeships; the Wales Business Fund; Cardiff University’s Brain Imaging Centre; the Menai Science Park and Deep Green marine energy technology.

This achievement follows our success in securing an extended guarantee from the UK Government to cover all investments in projects approved before the UK leaves the EU.

Wales voted to leave the EU but it did not vote to see investment in Wales cut by the UK Government. Wales must not lose a single penny of funding as a result of Brexit.

– Prof Mark Drakeford AM, Finance Secretary
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