The Welsh Liberal Democrats have said today that the Welsh Labour Government’s “catalogue of failures” on education can no longer be left out of the spotlight.
Ahead of the debate on the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government Annual Report, Kirsty Williams AM has warned that its lack of focus risks leaving a generation of Welsh children behind their peers in the rest of the UK.
The Annual Report claims that 48 of the 49 commitments relating to education have either been delivered or are on target, yet this claim to achievement contrasts sharply with both the PISA international rankings and the Estyn Annual Report which both point to serious concerns within schools.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“If Labour Ministers think they’re succeeding in getting our education services into shape, then they are seriously kidding themselves. But they won’t fool the people of Wales; just like our health service, people are realising just how badly the Welsh education system is being run by Labour.
“This report claims the vast majority of Labour’s education commitments have either been delivered or are on track. If that is true, then I suggest that this Labour Government should take a long, hard look at its priorities. The vast gulf between what Labour are defining as success and what parents, teachers and pupils experience in our schools is astonishing.
“Our school inspectorate says standards in our primary schools are slipping. International test rankings have Wales behind every other part of the UK. Compared to the top performing countries in the world we have very few high achievers, and children in every corner in Wales are not being helped to achieve their full potential.
“In fact, if it wasn’t for the Welsh Lib Dem Pupil Premium helping close the attainment gap between pupils from poorer backgrounds and their peers, this Labour Government would have hardly anything positive to say about education at all.
“For a Government that’s been in place for over 16 years, the utter complacency showed by Labour on education is truly shocking. Our children deserve to be taught in an environment that allows every child to reach their full potential. That is the level of ambition the Welsh Liberal Democrats want to bring to our education system.”