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PISA chief: Wales 'too tolerant' of low education performance

The architect of the international PISA tests says Wales' education system is too tolerant of low performance.

Andreas Schleichler says the expectations Welsh education sets for its children are much weaker than in higher performing education systems.

There's no reason why you'd expect Wales anywhere near to Greece, which is what the PISA performance shows you.

It's been a fair degree of complacency if you compare that with other countries you know we wouldn't have the level of tolerance for low performance that we've seen in Wales.

– Andreas Schleichler

You can hear more in tonight's Y Byd ar Bedwar, which will be broadcast tonight at 9.30 on S4C. English subs are available.



Welsh Govt: 'Further improvements can be made' in maths standards

The Welsh Government says it knows further improvements can be made in improving maths standards in secondary schools.

It comes after the schools watchdog Estyn found 11 to 14-year-olds are achieving what's expected but there's still challenges.

The Welsh Government says it welcomes the report and it's encouraging to see some improvements.

We are grateful to Estyn for producing this report and we welcome its findings and recommendations. It highlights positive and effective approaches in teaching mathematic skills at key stage 3 and we congratulate those schools highlighted as demonstrating best practice.

While this report is broadly encouraging it also highlights areas where we know further improvements can be made. We will not take our foot off the pedal in our efforts to ensure standards in mathematics continue to rise.

That’s why we have established an independent Maths Task and Finish Group which is investigating how we can continue to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. This report from Estyn will provide valuable evidence for the work of the group.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

MPs to hear from 'zero obesity' pupils from Carmarthenshire

The gym at Duffryn Taf in Whitland houses special equipment Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Pupils from West Wales will be telling MPs in Westminster how obesity levels have been tackled successfully at their school.

Fitness fanatics at Duffryn Taf school in Whitland will travel to London to share their success story in a bid to get more schools involved.

A specially designed gym is at the heart of the scheme, housing equipment used for physical and mental tasks.

The school now runs a specially designed fun and motivational PE programme that has resulted in:

  • near zero obesity within the whole school
  • high levels of participation with both male and female pupils
  • improved grades
The school now has a near zero obesity level. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

One of the experts behind the programme says this new well-being concept could mean massive savings for the NHS and save lives too.

The programme is designed so that any child of any age, gender, ability or disability can benefit.

I am delighted to support this great initiative which tackles a complex issue in a sensible, enjoyable and affordable way.

The pupils will be demonstrating equipment, software and showing a short video that they have filmed of their well-being programme in full action at school.

– Simon Hart, Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Teaching unions: Curriculum review 'game-changing'

Welsh teaching unions have welcomed a major review of the Welsh curriculum published today, with NAHT Cymru describing it as "potentially game-changing."

They have also warned against rushed changes. ATL Cymru said: "quick curriculum reform is botched curriculum reform."

School leaders, teachers, parents and above-all young people should welcome this potentially game-changing report. It frees schools to find the right forms of learning and open up possibilities for all those working hard to learn in them.

Donaldson’s recommendations have the potential to reduce time presently spent on meaningless bureaucratic tasks. He recommends that we abandon the misguided attempt to cram too many subjects into too little time in the classroom.

We need to give these recommendations very careful thought but this could be a game-changing moment. We should make sure that we don’t pass it up.

– Dr Chris Howard, NAHT Cymru Acting Director

Many of Professor Donaldson's recommendations, especially those around the proper place of testing, the true purpose of assessment, the promotion of creativity, and the need for breadth in the curriculum will be very welcome to the profession. The implications and implementation of the recommendations will require careful analysis and reflection. Quick curriculum reform is botched curriculum reform, as we can see from England. We now need a sustained national conversation to tease out and ponder the way forward. There are no prizes for speed but there will be many for careful and considered implementation. We hope the Welsh Government will engage openly and constructively with the profession, pupils, and parents.

– Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru
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