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''War of words must not continue" says Shadow Minister for Education, Aled Roberts AM

Following the Education Minister's statement that he is issuing the WJEC with a Direction to implement re-grading, the Welsh Liberal Democrat ,Aled Roberts, Shadow Minister for Education has said:

The Education Minister previously said that he would give the WJEC board reasonable time to to comply-that appears to be no longer the case as the Minister has instead resorted to issuing a directive to the examination board merely twenty four hours after his original statement. The war of words that has unfolded today has spiralled out of control and cannot be allowed to continue.

Rather than have the Education Minister, Ofqual and the examination board engaging in institutional warfare, they must all sit down and work together for the best interests of the students.

– Shadow Minister for Education, Aled Roberts AM

Mr Roberts went on to say:

Welsh students are not best served by this twitter based policy making and is no way to reach a calm and moderate conclusion.

– Shadow Minister for Education, Aled Roberts AM

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Education Minister issues direction to the WJEC on English GCSE re-grade

Education Minister Leighton Andrews has issued a direction to the WJEC to re-grade this summer's English GCSE English language results for qualifications delivered in Wales.

Yesterday the Minister sought an undertaking that the WJEC would re-grade the qualification.

A spokesperson has told ITV Wales that no such undertaking has been received, resulting in the issue of a formal direction this afternoon.

The Minister for Education, Leighton Andrews, said:

Yesterday, I published a serious, thorough and detailed report from my regulatory officials which stated that this year's awards were unfair to candidates. It is not right that hundreds of our learners should have to live with the consequences of having been awarded what, in all likelihood, is the wrong GCSE grade.

We are fortunate in Wales that we have a regulatory system which allows swift resolution of injustice. We have acted to protect the interests of students in Wales by issuing the direction to the WJEC.

– Education Minister Leighton Andrews AM

The Minister says that he has given the WJEC seven days to implement the required re-grading.

Welsh Government responds to Gove plans for scrapping GCSEs in England

It's been widely reported today that Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove is planning to replace GCSEs with an O-Level style system in England - to tackle "a culture of competitive dumbing-down".

Plans apparently leaked to the Daily Mail suggest that 2013 would be the last year in which English pupils sit exams under the GCSE system.

The Welsh Government has responded to the news.

We know that GCSEs are widely respected in both Wales and England. At the moment we are looking at whether or not the qualification system in Wales meets the needs of learners and employers, but we are looking at this in a considered, evidence based way via consultation.

If it emerges that there are some issues that need to be addressed, then whatever decisions we make will be announced in conventional ways and we will ensure that counterparts in England and Northern Ireland are well aware of our intentions before such announcements are made.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Welsh Labour names its candidates for Police Commissioner

Welsh Labour has today named its candidates for the newly created post of Police and Crime Commissioner. The new role has been designed to replace police authorities in each of the four Welsh force areas. Elections are to be held on 15th November.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael, the Welsh Assembly's first leader and a former Home Office Minister will stand in South Wales. His son Tal Michael will stand in North Wales. Former Welsh Government Minister Christine Gwyther will contest Dyfed-Powys and Hamish Sandison stands in Gwent.

Their key pledges included being tough on crime and on the causes of crime and to protect the police from political interference. The four candidates have signed a contract to respect the independence of the Chief Constable.

Shadow Welsh Secretary ,Owen Smith MP said in support of the candidates:

If Labour were in Government right now, we wouldn't be cutting police officers.We would be focusing on cutting crime instead. The Tory cuts will see 750 police officers cut in Wales. Labour firmly believe when it comes to policing the Tories are out of touch.

– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary

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Cheryl Gillan in lively visit to the National Assembly for Wales

Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan has spent the afternoon addressing Assembly Members at the Senedd on the wide range of subjects that were contained in the legislative programme announced by the UK Government earlier this month.

She started, though by praising our armed forces.

Can I just begin by paying tribute to our armed forces who do so much stirling work at home and especially overseas. I think we all take a great pride in the valuable contribution Wales makes to our armed forces and want to pay tribute to those who have died in Afghanistan since we last met. Our thoughts are with their family and friends.

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP

She spoke about how it was two years since her last visit which was shortly after the UK coalition was formed and said the Government had achieved a lot since then.

Thirty two Acts, a reduced deficit , capped welfare, scrapped ID cards, raising of personal allowance allowing 95,000 people in Wales to be lifted out of tax altogether, much needed political and constitutional reform and we have fulfilled all of our three commitments to Wales in the coalition agreement.

First of all ,I took forward the housing legislature competence order which if you remember had been blocked. I enabled the referendum to be held under which the Assembly has assumed primary legislative powers in the 20 devolved areas and also established the Silk Commission .

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP

Mrs Gillan took questions on subjects as diverse as the Water Bill , electrification of the railway line to Swansea , the establishment of a Valleys Metro,Remploy workers, devolution of energy, the Barnet formula and this week's Green paper on Electoral reform , the latter which caused some reaction

I have expressed a preference but that doesn't mean to say I have a closed mind. I want to have ,don't laugh, I haven't got a closed mind. I'm very open minded about it.

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP

UK Government needs to wake up to the scale of the crisis.

Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood is accusing the UK Government of having failed to wake up to the scale of the economic crisis. she went on to say that the Queen's speech contained no measure for jobs

During these tough economic times the priorities of the people of Wales are jobs, wages and their standard of living.These priorities are being totally ignored by the UK Government.

Our alternative legislative programme for the UK outlined a range of proposals that would kickstart the economy. We want to see the electrification of Wales's railway network and economic investment throughout the nation. We have also called for for full control over our own energy resources and water so that Wales can harness the full potential of the green economy.

– Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru says the Welsh Government should make up any shortfall when council tax benefits are devolved to Wales.

Plaid Cymru's weekly presser today was about how the devolution of council tax benefits would affect the poorest people in Wales. Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said that there would be a shortfall of some 23.4 million pounds to fund the benefits which he said must be addressed by the Welsh Government.

The AM said that any devolved shortfall could be paid for out of the 80 million pounds of Barnet Consequentials that would be on the way to Wales next year and claimed that funding the shortfall "would not be a problem."

The Minister for Local Government, Carl Sargeant will be making a statement this afternoon on new arrangements to provide support for Council Tax in Wales.

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