Sunday, 16 August 2020

The Silence of the LibDems.

 It  must be truly awful for Welsh Liberal Democrats like Peter Black,as he considered what to Blog about last week to be looking at a open goal , only to realise the goalie in his case his one of his own

Left Foot Forward report that

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds in England were worst hit by the downgrading – while private school kids benefited the most. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has now suggested it could step in given the unequal impact of the marking algorithm.

Lib Dem Layla Moran – who is currently running for the party’s leadership – is now calling for the Education Secretary to go following a litany of errors, including the failure to ensure disadvantaged pupils had access to remote learning devices, and botched efforts to open schools more widely before the pandemic was under control.

The party is calling for all pupils to have a right to appeal their grade awards with no charge, and the chance to sit the examinations at the earliest possible date at no cost.

Labour has not yet called for Williamson to go, instead calling on the UK Government to scrap its “fatally flawed” system which saw hundreds of thousands of A-Level results downgraded.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: “The shambolic handling of A-level results has left many young people in crisis. Despite the warning signs from Scotland, the Education Secretary pushed ahead with plans which ignored teachers’ advice and have disproportionately affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. With this unfair system, he has created untold confusion and distress.

“Gavin Williamson is an Education Secretary out of his depth and out of excuses. He must take responsibility for his mistakes and step down with immediate effect. Our young people and our country cannot afford these blunders to continue into September, ahead of a potential second wave.

“If the Government continue to refuse to put their trust in teachers predictions, they must ensure every pupil has the right to appeal free of charge, and the opportunity to sit these examinations should they wish. We also need to see clear guidance from the Government to universities to ensure greater leniency in admissions decisions

But  LFF  whilst reporting that Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party also criticises the "English" Education secretary seem to miss the fact that ii Wales it is Labour Government and more so oe with a Liberal Democrat  (Kirst Willaims )Education Minister (in Not a coalition) who are responsible for an even worse fiasco in Wales.

In a letter to the First Minister Mark Drakeford, MrPlaid Leader Adam Price said: 

“If the criticism from your parties in England is to mean anything other than political game playing , you must now re-assess your approach as a Welsh Government to ensure that no pupil is disadvantaged in what has already been an anxious year.”

“The hypocrisy from UK Labour and Liberal Democrat parties in their vocal outcry of UK Government’s “botched grading system” and of “robbing” these students of their future while their Welsh Government counterparts commit the same gross error is staggering.

“Mistrust in the system couldn’t have been communicated louder by students, teachers and even Welsh Labour’s own back-benchers. Pupils who were awarded lesser grades than the teacher assessments in A-level and AS exams should be upgraded to the teacher assessment grades. If this approach is being advocated by the UK Labour leader in England, why is the Labour First Minister in Wales so stubbornly against?”

Responding to the Adam Price’s comments, a Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson said: “No student has been downgraded. Kirsty Williams introduced a no-detriment policy to ensure that every student is guaranteed at least the grade achieved in their AS level last year.
“This is only possible because we have kept AS levels in Wales, which is a better indication of a student’s abilities. Even Gavin Williamson has admitted that he would like the AS system that we have in Wales.”

 Nice try but the fact remains  Just over 42% of Welsh A-level students have had their results downgraded from teacher estimates.

When she led the Liberal Democrats from the opposition benches i what was then the Welsh Assembly . I nicknamed Kirsty Willaims La Pasionaria half mockinly and half admiringly  for her blistering attacks on the Welsh Laboir Government  particularly regarding Health and Education.

Indeed with no real visible improvements in Education in Wales , I can easily imagine her if still in opposition , tearing into a Labour Minister last wee.

I would also imagine Peter Black the leading Welsh Lib Dem , blogger almost screaming from his pages about how hundreds of Welsh children have had their future plans dashed as their fail to get into the University of their choice and in some cases no University because , they have had their results downgraded.

Indeed the LibDems might well have seen the opportunity  , to recoup thier former Student power base lost under Nick Clegg particularly as  sixteen to eighteen year old will have a vote in next years Senedd Elections.

So we are likely to have silence from the Welsh LibDems and a hope , they can escape a youth backlash.

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