The Acting Director of the National Association of Head Teachers says Wales must pull together in the wake of its poor PISA results.
As expected, Wales has fallen further in the PISA rankings. This is no time for finger-waving or point-scoring between the parties. What is most noticeable about the education system in Wales has been the remarkable degree of political consensus across the parties since devolution. We are all in this together and it’s about time we started working together to put it right.
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.'
Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns says the PISA figures are 'appallingly low.' The Conservative AM said they forecast a 'dreadful future' and make it 'a terrible time to be a teenager here in Wales.'
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams says the PISA figures for Wales are 'a source of embarrassment.'
It's a disgrace. What people will hear about Wales today [in the rest of the UK and the rest of the world] is that we have got an education system that is not as good as it should be. That's what people will know about Wales today and that should be a source of embarrassment to the Welsh Government.
– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader
Wales risks being left behind the rest of the UK in terms of future employment and prosperity, according to the Welsh Secretary. David Jones was responding to the publication of international figures showing pupils in Wales performing worse than in England and Scotland.
Today’s figures are extremely disappointing, and highlight the important challenge that the Wales – and the UK as a whole – faces to ensure our young people are equipped with the tools they need to shine in the competitive employment market.
We are living in an increasingly competitive world and if Wales is to succeed in the global race, we will need more scientists, engineers, and young people who are equipped with the skills to put them at the front of the queue.
Most importantly, we need to inspire them to pursue their ambitions. Today’s worrying figures do very little to help us achieve that aim.
It is vitally important that the Welsh Government now seeks to address these serious educational deficiencies and give the young aspirational people of Wales the skills they need to succeed.
Plaid Cymru's Education Spokesperson, Simon Thomas, says today's PISA figures show that 'something is going wrong in our education system.' He also says the Welsh Government's aim of getting into PISA's top 20 by 2014 is 'completely unrealistic.'
Education Minister Huw Lewis will face an urgent question in the Senedd this afternoon following the publication of the PISA results. The Assembly Commission has confirmed the urgent question tabled by Liberal Democrat Aled Roberts has been accepted by Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler.