Michael Gove's letter, which I understand the Welsh Government received this evening, marks acceptance by the UK Government of the of growing differences in the exam systems of the nations of the UK. Its tone is respectful and matches what sources described of the tone of last week's meeting.
But there's a more critical tone to remarks attributed to a 'Whitehall source' in the Guardian article who's quoted as saying:
The Welsh are determined to keep dumbing down their exams. Leighton Andrews interfered with exam boards last year. He opposes our attempts to toughen things up and made clear he will continue to interfere to make things easier. It's better that we all go our own way and defend our positions to our electorates.
Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews has taken to Twitter this evening to condemn those remarks.
So, @JohnODowdSF (Northern Ireland Education Minister) and I have a cordial meeting with Michael Gove in which he agrees to respect the different decisions in different countries
And a week later Whitehall sources, quoting directly from a comment in the meeting, start being offensive again.
So, for the record, I am happy to confirm that in that meeting Michael Gove apologised to me for his behaviour.
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