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Recovery boards to run education in two councils

The Education Minister has announced the setting-up of Independent Recovery Boards to take over failing education services in two councils. Leighton Andrews had previously said he would intervene following critical reports into Merthyr Tydfil and Monmouthshire councils.

He now says that 'he can have no confidence that Merthyr will resolve these problems itself, even with support' and so its intervention board will take over the day-to-day running of the education service.

In Monmouth's case, the authority will continue to be responsible for the delivery of education services while the board oversees improvements and monitors progress.

Minister should consider position over campaign - Tories

The Education Minister should consider his position in the cabinet because of his involvement in a campaign on A&E services in South Wales, according to the leader of the Opposition. But Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies stopped short of saying that Leighton Andrews SHOULD resign.

His comments follow the revelation that Labour politicians fighting to protect services at the Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant had been told not to use the party's name in the campaign. As Rhondda AM, Leighton Andrews, is the most prominent of those involved in the campaign.

The First Minister insists that Mr Andrews has not overstepped the mark in his involvement but Andrew RT Davies says the Education Minister should consider whether or not he can continue to battle for his constituents' interests whilst remaining in the cabinet.

From what I understand it would be quite difficult for him to continue in the cabinet given what he's said over the first two weeks of this campaign.

– Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Opposition

Minister's twitter 'spat' was 'unbecoming' says Lib Dem leader

The Education Minister should 'stop having spats on Twitter' and concentrate on improving education standards, according to the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. But Kirsty Williams said she's 'relaxed' as a politician and as a mother, about the prospect of different exams in Wales and England.

Her comments follow a letter sent to Leighton Andrews by the Education Secretary Michael Gove suggesting that a separation of the exam system was now inevitable because of changes being looked at in the two countries. Kirsty Williams said it's 'perfectly possible' to have a credible Wales-only exam.

But she attacked as 'unbecoming of a government minister' the decision of Mr Andrews for taking to Twitter to respond to criticism from UK Government sources. She said 'sometimes it seems Leighton Andrews would rather spend his time having a row on twitter than concentrating on his job.'

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Welsh Education minister responds to Gove letter leak

Michael Gove's letter, which I understand the Welsh Government received this evening, marks acceptance by the UK Government of the of growing differences in the exam systems of the nations of the UK. Its tone is respectful and matches what sources described of the tone of last week's meeting.

But there's a more critical tone to remarks attributed to a 'Whitehall source' in the Guardian article who's quoted as saying:

The Welsh are determined to keep dumbing down their exams. Leighton Andrews interfered with exam boards last year. He opposes our attempts to toughen things up and made clear he will continue to interfere to make things easier. It's better that we all go our own way and defend our positions to our electorates.

Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews has taken to Twitter this evening to condemn those remarks.

So, @JohnODowdSF (Northern Ireland Education Minister) and I have a cordial meeting with Michael Gove in which he agrees to respect the different decisions in different countries

And a week later Whitehall sources, quoting directly from a comment in the meeting, start being offensive again.

So, for the record, I am happy to confirm that in that meeting Michael Gove apologised to me for his behaviour.

– Leighton Andrews AM, Education Minister (via Twitter)

Labour AM predicts defeat for 'lacklustre Plaid leader'

Labour's Leighton Andrews has claimed that he's looking forward to fighting Leanne Wood in the Rhondda at the next Assembly election. He said that she can expect a similar defeat to when she last fought the constituency in a Westminster election.

The Rhondda rejected Leanne Wood in 2001 and I’m sure the people of the Rhondda won’t be fooled by her gesture politics this time. This announcement shows just how little faith the Plaid Cymru candidate has in her own ability to win in 2016 and it's cost what little leadership credibility she had. Standing in Rhondda is no more than a political stunt. It’s clear that she plans to get back into the Assembly on the Regional List and the people of the Rhondda will soon see through that.

In 2003, I won the Rhondda back from Plaid for Labour and beat the Plaid Cymru AM. In 2007 I beat the Plaid Cymru MEP. In 2011, I increased my majority. I look forward to the opportunity of beating Plaid's lacklustre leader in 2016.

– Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews
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