Sunday, 8 December 2013

Note Toby Young but ignore his solutions

The  argument over Wales PiSA standing goes on and it at times like these we need Syniadau to repeat that... "the extremely strong relationship that exists in Wales, compared to more successful countries, between living in relative poverty and disadvantage and not doing well in PISA".

What we don't need is  the like of "Toby Young, co-founder of free school, claiming Welsh education system is 'a basket case' while health service is a 'death trap' and economy is 'in the toilet' so he can premote his own education agenda.

He writes ...
The poor showing of Wales in the Pisa international league tables published earlier this week is a reminder of just what a mess Labour has made of the Welsh education system. In 2006, Welsh schoolchildren were ranked 30th in maths, 29th in reading and 22nd in science. In the latest tests, they fell to 43rd in maths, 41st in reading and 36th in science. Wales isn't simply the worst performer in the UK, it's well below the OECD average.
The blame for this pitiful state of affairs can be laid squarely at the feet of the Labour Party, which has been in charge of education in Wales since 1999. The education reforms that successive governments have introduced in other parts of the UK in that time have left Wales largely untouched. League tables were abolished in 2001 and not a single academy or free school has been set up. As the Economist points out inthis damning analysis, parental choice in Wales is limited to deciding whether to send a child to a school where lessons are taught in English or Welsh. The country has indulged in what David Reynolds, an educationalist at the University of Southampton, describes as “producerism's last hurrah”. Hardly surprising, then, that 26 per cent of the Welsh population over 16 have no recognised qualifications, according to the 2011 census.
But education isn't the only devolved area that the Welsh National Assembly, which has been Labour-controlled since 2000, has messed up. The Welsh health system is, incredibly, even worse than the Welsh education system. As the Prime Minister pointed out in the House of Commons earlier this year, the Welsh NHS hasn't met a cancer target since 2008 or an A&E target since 2009. (FactCheck confirmed the first of these claims here.) The picture is no better when it comes to waiting lists. Between March and September of this year, the number of patients waiting more than nine months for treatment in Wales more than doubled, increasing from 5,414 to 11,672. The Welsh Ambulance Service has failed to hit its target of responding to 65 per cent of the most urgent calls within eight minutes for the past 16 months
It is embarrassing that a right wing journalist like Toby Young who has his own  agenda in education, should be  given this ammunition

 Young is the lead proposer and co-founder of the West London Free School, the first free school in Britain to sign a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education, and now serves as the chair of the charitable trust that established the school The trust opened a primary school in Hammersmith in September and has been approved by the Department for Education to open a second primary in Earls Court in 2014

We must ask is whether Young agenda is also Anti-Welsh or Anti-Labour. but clearly he ca mix both . Interestingly he doesn't point to the Scottish Government better PISA scores because that would mean praising both Labour and the SNP there to some extent.

But one thing we can't do is either listen to Young's solution of Free Schools  or believe defending Welsh Education from attacks by right wing English journalist means we have to defend Labours record.

We need a radical rethink over Education here the problem is that it would probably take a decade for any changes to show results and in the mean time the Toby Young's of this world will be gleefully claiming we are still failing.

But no change will come when Labour still hold the reins in this country we need a change of government but I bet it isn't what Toby Young would approve of.


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