The Labour Education Minister seems to be upsetting just about everyone these days. Personally I have always found him to be a smug arrogant little man, and he seems determined to prove me right.
Fresh from the triumphant introduction of the school banding system he introduced which nobody seems to approve of except him, he has been busy this week upsetting the Higher Education sector yet again.
In what Media Wales described as a ‘wide ranging speech’ to the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education Conference in Cardiff he “also attacked “parochial small-mindedness” in the higher education sector – giving the strongest hint yet that the merged South East Wales University will happen.”
Why? Because Leighton says so of course.
Now I don’t pretend to have any expertise in this matter. There may indeed be convincing reasons why moves to merge certain Universities would make long term sense, but as usual the Minister does not seem to be interested in discussion or real consultation on the matter. His attitude to most things seems to be ‘it’s right because I said so.’
His attitude is reflected in the way in which he chooses to announce changes. The Assembly is now in recess, so what better time for him to bring forward a whole raft of announcements when there is no chance of him being scrutinized in the Chamber.
He took the opportunity during this speech to announce the creation of a National body to govern and fund education in Wales. And you know what, out of the goodness of his little heart, he is prepared to actually Chair it himself. How lucky are we to have such a man in charge of our education system?
We also read in the press yesterday that he is to set up a new regulatory body. Now there are concerns in many quarters about the effectiveness of the General teaching Council for Wales and it is no doubt overdue an overhaul, but yet again this has come out of nowhere during recess.
What’s the problem Leighton? Afraid of a few questions? Can’t take the criticism? Or does it just boost your feeling of self importance making these pronouncements just because you can?