On the defensive: The Welsh Labour Government's First Minister Carwyn Jones is questioned on why Wales has the worst results in the UK in International PISA tests

On the defensive: The Welsh Labour Government’s First Minister Carwyn Jones is questioned in the Welsh Assembly today on why Wales has the worst results in the UK in International PISA tests

The seamless one-party state –  stitched-up by the Labour Party in Wales –  has once again ensured that Wales continues to have the worst education system anywhere in the UK.

Labour controls the Vale of Glamorgan Council – (the local education authority running Penarth schools) and controls the Welsh Government in the National Assembly which is in charge of education throughout Wales .

The PISA tests are an international benchmark of education standards - and Wales has done badly - yet again

The PISA tests are an international benchmark of education standards – and Wales has done badly in then – yet again – for the fourth time running.

Once again Labour’s inherent inability to run the education system properly has been highlighted in the latest internationally recognised PISA tests which  compares the performance of school pupils in Wales with those in other countries around the world

The PISA tests are taken by 15-year-olds every 3 years and this is the fourth time in succession that Wales has come bottom of the UK league-table. The results – released this morning – again show that schoolchildren in Wales are continuing to underperform those in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In MATHS the results were

  • England  493
  • Northern Ireland 493
  • Scotland 491
  • Wales 478

In READING the results were

  • England 500
  • Northern Ireland 497
  • Scotland 493
  • Wales 478

In SCIENCE the results were

  • England 512
  • Northern Ireland 500
  • Scotland 497
  • Wales 485

The continuing underperformance of the education system in Wales is the direct responsibility of a succession of Welsh Government Education ministers all of whom were proved to be patently unable to improve the performance of schools in Wales.

Education Mnister Huw Lewis stood down as an AM in April and became eligible for a resettlement grant

Described as “hapless ” the former Welsh Government Education Minister, Huw Lewis (Labour AM for Merthyr) stood down in April this year… and became eligible for a £51,824 “resettlement” grant

At the time the latest tests were taken the Welsh Government Education Minister was Penarth resident Huw Lewis – but he quit as an Assembly Member in April and did not stand for re-election in this year’s Welsh Assembly Elections.

 Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem Brecon and Radnor) the current education minister for Wales, claims to be "doing the right things" .

Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem Brecon and Radnor) the current education minister for Wales, claims to be “doing the right things” .

The current Welsh Government Education Secretary is the only  Lib Dem AM that’s left in the Welsh Assembly  – Kirsty Williams.

Today she said : “We can all agree we are not yet where we want to be. While we have seen a 10 point lift in our maths score, the results for science are disappointing.”

Last month I invited the OECD to look at how we are doing in Wales; their advice to me was unambiguous: Stay the course, be brave, you are doing the right things.”

Opponents however. were excoriating in their criticism of the Welsh Labour Government – past and present.

  • The Welsh Conservatives education spokesman Darren Millar said the PISA results represented a scandal of monumental proportions”.  He said “In spite of all the tough talking and promises to do better from the First Minister, today’s figures place us, yet again, in the bottom half of the global education league table and re-confirm Wales’ status as the worst performing school system in the UK.”
  • Plaid Cymru Education spokesman Llyr Gruffydd AM said the results showed Labour had “failed, failed and failed again when it comes to our children’s futures”.
  • Mark Williams MP, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, called the results “extremely disappointing but sadly not a surprise “.

Whether or not the Welsh Labour Government’s  and Kirsty Williams’s latest policies actually work or not won’t be revealed until results of the next set of PISA tests come out in December 2019.


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  1. Mark Foster says:

    Given educators like this what honestly do you expect?


    This is how they teach music.

  2. Peter Church says:

    Huw Lewis quits to spend more time with his family (or maybe not?’?!#!)

  3. Big Davey says:

    It has really become clear over the last 10 years, almost regardless of which colour is in power in the Assembly, the AM.s and their team have comprehensively failed in:


    If we had to manage our own finances we would be at the feet of the IMF with a begging bowl.

    When will this terrible and failing experiment end. The English ratings for PISA were good, our health system is below par compared to England and every other part of life in Wales is being that of England. Why? Well probably because they have more and better professionals governing. We should abandon the Assembly, rely upon our MPS to get representation and re-instate the WDA.

  4. Christopher David says:

    Spot on Big Davey. Oh but wait a minute- we haven’t heard The Lindsay advice yet. The power and talent lies in Westminster- we just get the also ran’s that can’t hack it. The pity is it suits London to devolve the problems to the local self important, Mitty like huffers and puffers. Sad and these results are the end product.

    • Daft o dull says:

      We have been let down my the Welsh Government and nothing will change in my life time unless the is a Wagxit!

  5. Frank Evans says:

    Maybe the answer is to give up welsh

  6. CelticMan says:

    Shocking – what a legacy to leave to our children. A non-public organisation would wield the sword on those responsible but not these gutless politicians of whatever party. Throw yourselselves on the sword and I may forgive you but I hold no chance of that happening. We need people who can manage Health, Education etc. who have the experience and commitment not ministers who appear to be overnight experts in Finance, Health, Education etc. and are moved from post to post such as Drakeford who suddenly becomes an expert in Finance – not Health. I could never secure a position in my profession without years of experience and qualifications that took years to achieve but we leave our future to these guys. Doomed!

    • david kerslake says:

      They are not interested in qualifications just in looking after each other JOBS FOR THE BOYS OR GIRLS !!!. Look at how many jobs jane hut has had. Only comes out when there s a camera about .Get rid of them all, !!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Ann Other says:

    The PISA result is predictable given that the approach to education since devolution has been to avoid all forms of reorganisation and renewal that would leave the Assembly with less power. What is needed is exactly the opposite of this – the allocation of power to schools themselves and the refreshment of the tired soviet-style system of central control through the release of innovation at a local level. The Assembly makes things worse by doing more and more of exactly what does not work. Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity!

  8. Peter Church says:

    I may get shouted down here, but here are the reasons education standards are so poor in Wales:

    1. Welsh being taught is a big factor why Wales is the lowest out of the 4 UK nations, kids minds and teaching time is finite.
    2. Gene pool severely depleted, the brains have gone east to London! (e.g. Statistics office in Newport can’t get people to stay other than low paid secretaries)
    3. Hard to find decent teachers, who wants to move into Wales and specialise in a Welsh curriculum. Same as in the medical profession, medics outside Wales are very reluctant to commit to the Welsh NHS are this limits their scope for jobs outside Wales in the future.

    Devolution has been a very bad thing for Wales, the only ones who benefit are the AMs and hangers on.

  9. Nigel Bull says:

    These results are so sad, but not unexpected. We do not have critical mass in so many areas and the pushing of a naturally dying and irrelevant language does not help, unless of course it eases you into an establishment role. A case in point being a Welsh Language A level physics text book, try finding one……….

    Being, and I wonder why, a Labour party member, I find these results yet again showing not just how poor, but damaging the Welsh Assembly experiment has been. I personally find all of the reasons mentioned above buy others both plausible and realistic, without even a hint of possible disaffected Tory bias because of my initial standpoint.

    Given the lack of success in so many areas since it’s inception it is clear now that the time has come for a complete overhaul of responsibilities and electoral system now in place. This should not include the current kite flying of extra ineffective AM’s which would be funny if the results released were not so poor! If this recognition of failure and appropriate streamlining does not occur, then the future may come from the “Abolish The Assembly Party” They now have a vote that allows for election broadcasts so the appearance of a vocal supporter with a little screen presence might well make a Wagexit happen. Not necessarily my choice, but I understand Canute’s message

    As a Labour member, the issues above combined with self serving political class gravy train has exemplified by our very own Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales Alun Michael employing fellow party supporters makes me both angry and embarrassed of a once proud raison d’etre. The national party is about to get wiped out due to a ineffective leadership and MP’s that represent a failed past with no clear, attractive vote for the future.

    Make no mistake, it is in T May’s interest for Wales to wallow in failure with Labour in charge, so expect little help from that direction. Unless the people of Wales stand up and by that I mean those with views like those above taking an active roll where they can, there is worse to follow.

    I did what I could with True Wales trying to highlight the issues that needed attention during the last referendum within the constraints that the precise question allowed. We tried to shine a little light with little help and virtually all of the Welsh Establishment against us. It gives me little satisfaction to see my previous view of the future crystallising before my eyes, but our warning have proved to be uncannily accurate.

  10. Chris says:

    Perhaps the 1 day a week collectively assigned to compulsory Welsh and Welsh Acc is the deciding factor – a 25% increase in time for maths english and science would surely close the gap

Comments are closed.