Saturday, February 04, 2012

I agree with Leighton

For once I agree with Leighton Andrews – no don’t worry I haven’t had a knock on the head or been taking any banned substances.  I agree with the headline attributed to him in the Western Mail that an ‘adequate’ education system is not good enough for our children.
There is huge scope for improvement in Local Authorities across Wales – yet they have not been helped by constant changes of direction and frankly some crackpot schemes from Labour Cabinet Ministers.  Janey baby before her transfer to the environment department and her mission to save the planet spent some considerable time running around the world bringing back ideas which were then part implemented, usually without adequate financing.
Curriculums change at the drop of a hat depending on the latest idea to waft around the ether at the Bay.
And now we have Leighton.  Possibly the most hated figure in education today.  His single minded arrogance is quite extraordinary and whilst the headlines say all the right things – education needs improving, it is not good enough, we need to do better, etc.,  his actions give little hope to those of us working at school level.
His much criticised banding system has attracted much media attention.
What has attracted less attention is his plan to change the measurement of core subject indicators.  The core subjects for some years now have been maths, English (Welsh in Welsh medium schools) and science.
In future only maths and English will count.  This could well lead to a downturn in science standards.  Schools will no longer have to push that subject in order to keep their base standards measurement up.  There is a new measure of the best 8 GCSE results attained by each pupil.  There may then be a tendency to settle for pupils sitting exams in ‘softer’ (easier to pass) subjects.
The knock on effects of this could be substantial.  We will not be turning out scientists.  Where will our engineers come from? How does it match up with Edwina’s plans for enterprise zones based on energy and engineering?
Joined up thinking appears to have gone out of the window.
Adequate is not good enough for our children.  But until the likes of Leighton start taking on board some proper professional advice instead of trying to make a name for themselves it will not improve.

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