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AMs: Supply teaching monitoring and support needed

The Welsh Assembly's Public Accounts Committee has called for more information to be gathered on teachers' absence, and how children progress under supply teaching - as well as more support for school leaders and supply teachers themselves in covering absence.

No teacher walks into a class with the intention of giving a poor standard of education, but a supply teacher covering a period of absence often has to adjust at short notice to different surroundings and different learners while trying to pick up where the permanent teacher has left off.

The Committee believes it is vital that children's education should not suffer during these periods.

It is surprising then that data on absence and cover is not routinely collected to give a detailed picture of the impact this has on education standards, and we note the Welsh Government's acknowledgement that it must do more in this area.

We also want to see better support for school governors, headteachers and supply teachers in covering absence, including improved access to appropriate professional development, to maintain the standards our school children should expect.

– Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee

Call for action to improve supply teaching

Action is needed to make sure children's education does not suffer when teachers are absent, according to a committee of Assembly Members.

The Public Accounts Committee said it was "surprised at a lack of evaluation carried out when supply teachers cover absences as it makes it difficult to determine what impact that has on education standards."

Assembly Members have called for more support for, and monitoring of, supply teachers. Credit: PA

In its report published today, it has made 14 recommendations to the Welsh Government - including that more detailed information should be collected on supply lessons and there should be more support for supply staff.

The Welsh Government has said it will consider the report, and respond in due course.

Last September, reports from the education watchdog Estyn and the Wales Audit Office warned that nearly one in ten lessons in Wales were being covered by staff who were not the usual class teacher, and that children were making little progress in those lessons.

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Welsh MP's protest seized on by SNP

Pro-Scottish independence campaigners have seized on Paul Flynn's criticism of the Public Administration Committee chair Bernard Jenkin. For more details of the Newport MP's criticism and walkout click here.

SNP MP Mike Weir said the episode was 'deeply embarrassing to the anti-independence campaign.'

For a senior Labour MP to walk out of a supposedly impartial committee inquiry on the referendum – claiming that it is a ‘stunt’ designed simply to embarrass the Scottish Parliament - undermines absolutely everything that Westminster committees are claiming about independence.

How ironic that a committee inquiry into civil service impartiality and the Scottish referendum has itself been condemned for not being impartial.

– Mike Weir MP, SNP

Welsh MP's protest over committee 'abuse'

Newport West MP Paul Flynn has walked out in protest from a Commons committee after accusing the chair of turning its enquiry into a political 'stunt.'

MPs were questioning the head of the UK Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake about the service's role in the Scottish independence referendum debate.

Paul Flynn claimed he was being 'silenced' and that the Public Administration Committee session was an attempt by its chair, Bernard Jenkin to 'embarrass the Scottish parliament and the idea of devolution.'

The two men had locked horns on a different matter during a session of the committee last week. The video below shows the latest exchange and Paul Flynn stating that he'll leave the hearing. He's since confirmed that he left shortly afterwards.

Fewer than 40 Cardiff hospitals job losses will be compulsory says health chief

The Chief Executive Cardiff and Vale University Health Board says fewer than 40 staff are now at risk of compulsory redundancy. The board is aiming to reduce staff numbers by 380 by next March. Adam Cairns told AMs that less than 10% of that figure will be found through compulsory redundancies.

Adam Cairns told members of the Assembly's Public Accounts Committee that the board 'had a responsibility to work within the budget' its been given. But he also said he's confident that the board's hospitals can continue to deliver high quality care with fewer beds and staff.

He told the committee that 'nobody wants to stay in hospital longer than necessary' and that enabling patients to leave sooner means fewer beds are needed, allowing resources to be more focussed.