Education Minister Leighton Andrews said on Monday that he wanted to start a debate on whether or not school sixth forms and colleges are offering too many courses leading to quantity not quality. He said,
It made me raise the question, should we be looking in Wales at a narrower range of subjects?
That move has come under fire today from the Welsh Liberal Democrats who have accused Mr Andrews of causing confusion.
They point to the Assembly Government’s legislation in 2009 to require Sixth Forms and colleges to offer at least thirty subjects and to do so by this coming September.
Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said that local education authorities, schools and colleges have been left in disarray: should they continue expensive and sometimes controversial consultations about increasing numbers of courses or should they abandon them following the minister’s comments?
She said the minister should provide clarity.
When I asked her what she was in favour of – more choice or less, she came down on the side of choice. She said,
We shouldn’t be snobbish about whether someone studies Latin or hairdressing: we need a mix of skills and different levels of training.
Plaid Cymru’s former chair, John Dixon has also blogged about what he calls a ‘welcome U-turn’ by Leighton Andrews but he’s pretty clear that the original plan was confusing in itself.