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Education, News, Politics

School Report

“To have performed at a level lower than the OECD average and to have produced the lowest scores for the UK nations is a significant concern.”
– NUT Wales Secretary David Evans

It was only a few days ago that Leighton Andrews with a sunny smile and a genial air bestowed on us the Christmas present of his announcement on tuition fees.

Hailed a hero by Welsh students it looked an easy ride downhill till Christmas.

But no. It was an ashen faced minister that spoke to us at the lobby briefing this morning.

There were no smiles today as Leighton Andrews unveiled a dismal set of PISA results for Wales

Little did we suspect that while Carwyn Jones said his piece that he was only the warm up act for the star turn that was to follow.

Yes kids it was those pesky OECD PISA results that were to blame.

What are they then ? Keep up! keep up!

They are the results of a survey from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Are you falling asleep at the back Jones minor. Well pay attention it’s not the Christmas hols yet. Oh no , not by a long chalk.

Anyway , its like this , half a million children from 70 countries took part in the OECD’s programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009.

Sadly , Wales came bottom of the UK Nations in international tests of 15-year-olds and was below average in reading , maths and science.

The tables below summarise the mean scores in each of the three PISA domains with a comparison to Wales 2006 results:

Reading

2006 2009 Change
Mean Score 481 476 -5

Mathematics

2006 2009 Change
Mean Score 484 472 -12

Science

2006 2009 Change
Mean Score 505 496 -9

Oh dear ! You mean the basic kind of knowledge that you need to make your way in the world type thing ?

I’m afraid so kids.

But not to worry Leighton Andrews our Education Minister was on the case.

He told us there was no excuses for Wales’s slide down the Education world rankings and that everyone in Wales’s education system should be alarmed at the systemic failure revealed in the survey.

But what about the funding gap? Pupils in Wales are underfunded to the tune of five hundred pounds compared to England. That surely must make a big difference mustn’t it.?

Who said that ? Jenny Randerson at the back . Well Jenny it’s a fair point you make but sorry that is the wrong answer according to Professor Andrews.

The minister said that this was not an “ alibi “ for Wales’s poor performance. Countries that had spent more on Education had fared worse while some that had spent less had fared better.

Whats that you’re saying Jenny? Speak up

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have warned for years that the spending gap of £500 per pupil between England and Wales would have disastrous consequences.

“It is a tragedy that Welsh children are paying the price for Labour’s gross underfunding of schools over the last decade.”

Oh dear the bells have rung for the election campaign.

Any new year’s resolutions before we go? Professor Andrews?

“Let me be clear – we need to address this as a matter of absolute urgency. It requires honesty , leadership and a new approach to accountability”

Merry Christmas. Don’t forget your Xmas homework kids

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