Plaid Cymru hoping to 'build' Anglesey coalition with Labour
Plaid Cymru councillors on Anglesey are 'trying to build a coalition' based on a partnership with Labour members, according to a leading party figure. But Simon Thomas AM said voters on the island deserve 'clear party vision' for the authority.
Last week's election left the council with no overall party or group in control. Even if Plaid and Labour reach an agreement, they'll still only control half of the council's seats. But Mr Thomas said his party is 'interested in leading a coalition.'
Other party figures have ruled out working with Independent councillors in any administration.
Should Wales have shorter school holidays asks Plaid
Plaid Cymru has called for a radical look at the school year in Wales, following what the party says is evidence that long summer breaks cause problems particularly to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Education spokesperson Simon Thomas said,
It’s time we look afresh at the school year. The current structure was set up in the Victorian times, and is not the most beneficial structure for children. Spreading school holidays over the year, rather than having them in one large block will help children retain information and help them in their studies. This is Plaid Cymru’s priority.
Redistributing school holidays will also benefit working families by making it easier for working parents to arrange their holidays and childcare, which is particularly important in this economic climate. It will also help families who want to go abroad or go away chose more affordable times to do so.
– Simon Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson
Plaid also wants to start consulting on ways of making sure students continue to get the assistance of education after 16.
Whatever the outcome of the consultations, Simon Thomas says Wales will need to have power over teacher's pay and conditions, currently agreed at a Wales and England level.
Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas says he won't be in the Senedd chamber for Tuesday's tributes to Margaret Thatcher. He's the second Plaid AM to do so: former Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas has also said he'll boycott the session because he disagreed so profoundly with the former Prime Minister.
Plaid Cymru calls for standard national qualification
Plaid Cymru's education spokesperson Simon Thomas is today calling for a single exam system to set GCSE and A level qualifications in schools and colleges across Wales to standardise the system. It follows concerns raised by qualifications watchdog OFQUAL that papers are becoming less demanding.
I am very concerned about the consequences of the creeping marketisation of the education of our young people. I want to seestandard qualifications introduced across the nation so that examination boardsare not competing against each other and trying to ‘sell’ their courses toschools.
The concern is that the marketisation of the qualificationssystem can lead to schools being tempted into choosing the ‘easiest’ coursesrather than those that test their pupils’ abilities
– Plaid's Education spokesperson Simon Thomas AM
Mr Thomas added that he was concerned that schools are finding that they need to "market" themselves to parents and therefore are looking for courses that will bring results
A market based approach is not in the best interests of pupils, of schools or of wider society. The Welsh Government needs to take clear and decisive action to reform the education system, to make it fit for purpose rather than fit for the market.
In order to provide qualifications that measure pupils’ abilities, we need to measure educational attainment. In particular we need a system that ensures that qualifications are only awarded to students with appropriate levels of literacy and numeracy. We will be looking for serious and decisive action from the Welsh Government on this.