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Wales education figures 'a scandal' says Tory MP

Welsh Conservative MP Alun Cairns described Wales' PISA results as 'nothing short of a scandal' and said that 'parents across Wales are genuinely worried about their children's education.'

Education Secretary Michael Gove said that Wales was like a 'control sample' in an experiment, saying that Wales is

almost an object lesson in what happens when you abandon reform and succumb to the NUT orthodoxy which has suffocated education in the Principality.

– Michael Gove MP, UK Education Secretary

Education Secretary blames Labour for Wales' schools international failings

UK Education Secretary Michael Gove has pinned the blame for Wales' poor performance in the PISA results on Labour Welsh Governments. He told MPs that 'if you want to know what our education system would look like [under Labour] you only need to look over the Severn Bridge.'

But Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies criticised the Education Secretary for that response. The Ogmore MP said there are failings in all parts of the UK and to 'make political capital... is the wrong approach.'

Welsh Conservative MP Guto Bebb asked Michael Gove if he blamed 'a £600 per head funding gap or a Labour [Welsh] government which has accepted teaching unions' dogma.' The Education Secretary said simply, 'both.'

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Wales-only GCSEs could push standards up - Plaid

A senior Plaid Cymru politicians says different exam systems in Wales and England could lead to higher standards in Wales. Rhodri Glyn Thomas was responding to the news of Education Secretary Michael Gove's letter to his Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts suggesting a split is on the cards.

The Plaid AM said he 'would welcome the opportunity to separate the exam system in Wales' from that of England and he rejected claims that it could lead to reduced standards, saying

I don't think it necessarily would lead to a situation where standards drop. I would hope it would lead to a situation where standards would rise.

– Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru

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)

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