Sunday, June 26, 2011

Only Leighton can save us now

Leighton Andrews is clearly out of his depth with the education portfolio.  His ego appears to be getting in the way of any real progress and he seems convinced that his way is the only way.
According to the BBC today he thinks that the Welsh Government (yes the Labour one) was wrong to abolish SATS (did he mention that to Janey baby at the time?).   He thinks they ‘may not’ have put in place "sufficient ways of ensuring the judgements that teachers were making were done on a consistent basis local authority by local authority".
Now it is blatantly obvious that they failed to do anything of the sort, but SATS are not the answer.  The abolition of SATS had cross party support, more importantly it had the support of the people who really matter, the teachers!
Mr Andrews is determined to right the wrongs as he sees it of his predecessor. He will no doubt ignore the opinions of anyone else as he rushes headlong into making these random changes, determined to make his mark.
He made his last lot of pronouncements outside of the Siambr which gave no opportunity for scrutiny of or indeed questions on the subject by Assembly members.  His next one is again due to be made outside of the confines of the Assembly at an IWA event next week.
He seems to be missing a major point – testing does not raise standards.  Ongoing assessment which is then acted on does – and I certainly would not disagree that there needs to be a degree of standardisation of assessment methods across Wales.  SATS did not provide that.  Yes the questions were standard, but marking varied greatly and some schools did bend the rules slightly more than others.  As a Governor of a Secondary School I know that SATS certainly did not provide a reliable assessment of pupils’ ability.
Perhaps the Minister should stop rushing around like a headless chicken and take some soundings form the professionals.  In the meantime I’d imagine he’s off Jane Davidson’s Christmas card list.

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