The Welsh Government will get its spending plans passed with the help of opposition parties whose criticism is increasing
Our weekly look at First Minister's Questions.
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There are two problems for the Labour politicians running the Welsh Government. Firstly it is they who made PISA results such an important measure of progress in education and it's they who have been in charge of education here since the Assembly began, even when it was run by coalition governments.
The first is why the First Minister and Education Minister made no attempt to portray the figures as anything other than a disappointment. The second explains why opposition parties joined forces in the Senedd in a rare concerted attack on the First Minister. But watch Westminster closely too.
You'd expect Tory MPs to pin the blame on Labour. But it was Labour's Shadow Education Secretary who said that 'Wales has some difficult questions to answer' and some Welsh Labour MPs are also privately worried. You can be certain that they'll let their Cardiff colleagues know their concerns.
Owen Hathway, Policy Officer for NUT Wales, says today's PISA results are 'disappointing' but 'not unexpected'.
He added: "While they are a snapshot, and an important one, they probably don't accurately reflect the entire system as it is - and certainly not as it's going to be, once the reforms that were previously brought in are bedded in effectively."
First Minister Carwyn Jones has acknowledged that the PISA results for Wales are 'not good enough.' Responding to criticism from opponents during First Minister's Questions, he listed reforms that the Welsh Government had introduced since the last set of PISA figures.
But he agreed the figures were 'disappointing' and accepted the need to improve but said it will 'take some time for these measures to bear fruit.'
Welsh Conservative MP Alun Cairns described Wales' PISA results as 'nothing short of a scandal' and said that 'parents across Wales are genuinely worried about their children's education.'
Education Secretary Michael Gove said that Wales was like a 'control sample' in an experiment, saying that Wales is
– Michael Gove MP, UK Education Secretary
almost an object lesson in what happens when you abandon reform and succumb to the NUT orthodoxy which has suffocated education in the Principality.
The Acting Director of the National Association of Head Teachers says Wales must pull together in the wake of its poor PISA results.
– Dr Chris Howard, Acting Director, NAHT Cymru
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 Education Spokesperson Aled Roberts says 'every year of failure' in the education system represents 'a group of youngsters who themselves have been failed.'
He was responding to international PISA figures showing how Wales has performed compared to other nations.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams says the PISA figures for Wales are 'a source of embarrassment.'
– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader
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.
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.
– David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales
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.