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Poor ratings for Welsh Government's performance

The latest Wales Barometer poll asked people if they thought the Welsh Government is doing a good or bad job in three of the main policy areas for which it has responsibility. The figures show that there is widespread disappointment with its performance.

  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with the NHS?
  • Good 25%
  • Bad 43%
  • Neither/Don't know 32%
  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with schools?
  • Good 24%
  • Bad 39%
  • Neither/DK 37%
  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with the economy?
  • Good 25%
  • Bad 31%
  • Neither/DK 44%

The performance of the Welsh Government has been heavily criticised by Labour’s opponents. To see whether such criticisms have had much resonance with the public we asked respondents to evaluate the Welsh Government’s record since the last Assembly election in 2011 in three key policy areas. The results will not make pleasant reading for Carwyn Jones and his team.

– Professor Roger Scully, Wales Governance Centre

Since the 2011 Assembly election, Labour has governed alone after winning exactly half the seats in the Senedd. Labour supporters were somewhat more positive about government performance.

  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with the NHS?
  • Good 37%
  • Bad 31%
  • Neither/Don't know 31%
  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with schools?
  • Good 36%
  • Bad 26%
  • Neither/DK 39%
  • Is the Welsh Government doing a good or bad job with the economy?
  • Good 41%
  • Bad 20%
  • Neither/DK 39%

What will surely frustrate Labour’s opponents in Wales is the apparent lack of connection between voters’ assessments of Labour’s record in government in Wales and their current voting intentions. Not many people seem to think that Labour have done a good job in government in Wales, yet many Welsh people still intend to vote Labour.

– Professor Roger Scully, Wales Governance Centre

£20m scheme launched to improve schools in Wales

The scheme will help secondary schools across the country that are under performing. Credit: PA

A new £20m scheme called 'School Challenge Cymru' will be launched this morning by the First Minister Carwyn Jones and Education Minister Huw Lewis.

It aims to help up to 40 Welsh secondary schools which are under performing and is based around schemes which have already taken place in Manchester and London, which supported schools to help them improve.


  1. Tom Sheldrick, Carole Green & Adrian Masters

Estyn: 'Pace of improvement needs to accelerate'

The education watchdog Estyn says nearly a quarter of the secondary schools inspected last year were judged as 'unsatisfactory' - the lowest grade.

Its report, published today, warns school standards are not improving as they should be.

NASUWT: Report 'does nothing to restore credibility'

Responding to the Estyn Chief Inspector's Annual Report, the largest teachers' union in Wales said:

It is regrettable that, once again, the Chief Inspector has used the Annual Report to pander to Welsh Government policies and initiatives and apportion blame for any lack of impact on the profession.

This report will do nothing to restore Estyn's credibility with teachers.

– Chris Keates, General Secretary of NASUWT

ATL Union: More development for teachers needed

Teaching union ATL Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to improve professional development for teachers and school leaders.

Responding to the annual report from education watchdog Estyn, Dr Philip Dixon, Director or ATL Cymru, says "too much seems at a standstill and some sectors are going backwards. However there are definite signs of hope."

It would easy to become despondent reading the Chief Inspector's Report of progress made in the last year.

Too much seems at a standstill and some sectors are going backwards. However, as one reads deeper, there are definite signs of hope.

There is some excellent, innovative practice being developed and most schools which have been revisited by Estyn are showing improvement.

It's also heartening to read that some schools are reducing the effects of poverty quite considerably.

The report highlights the absolute crucial importance of good quality professional development for staff and leaders.

The Welsh Government should take heed and prioritise that need.

The Chief Inspector's observation about the lack of attention given to pupil's views on what and how they learn is a timely reminder that children and young people are at the heart of the system, and that must never be forgotten by anyone involved in education.

– Dr Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru

Welsh Govt: 'We are making progress' in education

The Welsh Government has insisted "we are making progress" on improving school standards.

The annual report from education watchdog Estyn, published today, warns that "standards of education in Wales have not improved in the main."

The Welsh Government admits "building an excellent education system will take time."

We welcome the Chief Inspector’s comprehensive report and thank Estyn for their work.

We’ve been honest and up-front about the challenges facing our education system and it’s clear from this report that we must continue to work together to improve key areas such as teaching, assessment and literacy and numeracy.

Building an excellent education system, which is the ambition of everyone in the sector, will take time but we are not complacent and we are making progress.

We know there is a lot of good practice across Wales and, as last year’s GCSE results showed, we are closing the gap with England when it comes to performance.

We are determined to put the right policies and initiatives in place to create an education system that truly delivers for our young people.

We will now consider the report and will respond formally in the plenary in March.

– Welsh Government spokesperson


Estyn: 'Very concerned' about secondary schools

Estyn's Chief Inspector has said the watchdog is "very concerned" about the standards in Wales' secondary schools.

Ann Keane admitted: "I had hoped to see better signs of improvement across the board."

23 per cent of the secondary schools inspected in the last year were judged as 'unsatisfactory', up from 14 per cent the previous year.

She told our reporter Tom Sheldrick that the common problems in those schools were weaknesses in leadership, policies on marking and absenteeism not being applied consistently, and not enough being done to help particular groups, such as children from deprived backgrounds.

23 per cent of secondary schools 'unsatisfactory'

Nearly a quarter of secondary schools inspected by Wales' education watchdog in the last year were judged 'unsatisfactory.'

The proportion ranked in the lowest category by Estyn is now 23 per cent, a jump from 14 per cent the previous year.

Estyn's has published its annual report today, and warns "standards of education in Wales have not improved in the main. The pace of improvement needs to accelerate and leaders in schools need to keep pace with the best, both inside and outside Wales."

Estyn has said it is disappointed that there have not been improvements in school performance. Credit: PA

Last December, Wales fell further behind in the so-called 'PISA' worldwide assessment of pupils' maths, reading and science skills.

Estyn has highlighted problems with the quality of teaching, assessment, literacy and numeracy, and leadership within schools.

It said special and independent schools continue to perform well, while the majority of primary schools are good or better.

However, the watchdog will be returning to 70 per cent of secondary schools next year for follow-up inspections, due to worrying standards in particularly areas, or across the whole school.

NUT blasts 'discredited' school banding system

NUT Cymru have always objected to the school banding policy given its flawed approach to measuring performance.

It is hard to see exactly what tangible benefit parents, pupils or teachers have seen since the introduction of school banding.

Seeing schools bounce around widely within the bands does not do much to fill anyone with confidence that they are having a consistent or balanced view of school performance.

Banding, as it currently is, has become discredited in the eyes of the profession and parents and is really hindering the efforts of those wishing to deliver the highest education standards possible.

– David Evans, NUT
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