Not enough doctors trained, lack of aspiration, falling educational standards. Sian Griffiths reported in The Sunday Times 24th Jan 2016: Welsh pupils ‘risk being left behind’ and prospective medics for Wales might consider The Sunday Times Schools Guide where The UK’s top 2,000 schools revealed (England only) so they can find comparators – and they cannot for Wales. Welsh education has been in decline compared to the rest of Europe for some time. Nicola Woodcock reports on the increasing competition to live in aspiring areas Number of pupils at grammar schools is highest for 35 years – these are the areas with most competition to be a doctor. How close are the rural shires to civil unrest can be assessed in the BBC “Any Questions” in Pembroke Dock this week. Readers may now feel more able to answer the question, but there are other factors such as ignorance of how sociable we are, and how beautiful the country is. Bringing back grammar schools might help, as then more students might obtain places in UK medical schools. Changing the politics might help.. It looks as if education as well as health has suffered under devolution. Wales needs to empower it’s youth to aspire and achieve. Even the Economist in “Young, gifted and held back” agrees. They say that, contrary to the Liberal promise, smaller class sizes are not necessary. This is however what parents want.. West Wales wants to attract GPs. This video may help, but it does not address the educational deficit.
Update 30th Jan 2016: Melanie Phillips in The Times (School class warriors only hurt the poor ) opines…”The real issue is social mobility. Class war has been the battle cry of the left for decades. But they have merely widened the divisions. Obsessed by equality and redistribution, they set about replacing the notion of a meritocracy, with its winners and losers, by the supposedly level playing field of the comprehensive school.
Social mobility has gone backwards ever since. A study by Oxford University published last year reported that, over the past four decades, it had become more difficult to rise up the social ladder; young people were even sliding downwards.
Back in 1997, Andrew (now Lord) Adonis and Stephen Pollard wrote in their book A Class Act: “The comprehensive revolution has not removed the link between education and class but strengthened it.”
ITV News 25th Jan 2016: Concerns about ‘variability’ in the quality of education in Wales
South Wales Argus 26th Jan 2016: Education chief: ‘Schools must take a fresh look at teaching …
The Sunday Times article. PUPILS in Wales are at risk of being left behind in the global competition for jobs and university places, the chief inspector of schools for England has warned.
In a controversial interview ahead of a television documentary about the Welsh education system, Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “I am of the view that the English education system is moving ahead quickly . . . It now really is up to the Welsh government to look at its own performance to ensure it matches the performance of England.”
Wilshaw’s intervention comes a few months before elections to the Welsh assembly in May. Control of education is devolved to the assembly.
About half (48%) of state school pupils in England went to university in 2013. By contrast, it was 36% in Wales.
Wales also ranked bottom of the UK countries for maths, science and reading in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), a study of 68 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Andreas Schleicher, the director of Pisa who will also appear in It’s an Education, a BBC1 Wales documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday at 10.40pm, warned that the teenage children of Chinese builders performed better than the offspring of the wealthiest professional families in Wales.
“Poverty is a challenge but poverty is not destiny,” he said. “You can see, for example, that the 10% of the poorest children in Shanghai come from backgrounds where their parents have no education, where they work as construction workers in the large cities.
“Those children outperform the 10% of the most privileged children in Wales.”
Wilshaw suggests the decision by the Welsh government to scrap performance measures — such as school league tables based on exam results and the national testing of 11 year olds in maths and English — may also have contributed to a decline.
“If you take away those accountability measures it drives down standards rather than drives them up. My view is that that’s what probably happened so they might want to reconsider those policies,” he said.
He also suggested that the Welsh government should consider copying England by allowing schools to become academies, which are free from local council control. “Bureaucracies do not improve schools. People sitting behind desks in the town hall do not improve schools,” he said.
Huw Lewis, the Welsh education minister who recently announced he would step down from the assembly after the elections in May, rejected Wilshaw’s criticisms.
While he accepted that the 2012 Pisa results had been “a wake up call”, Lewis said steps had been taken since then to improve education in Wales.
Lewis insisted that reforms in Welsh education since 2012 were working and said he was confident that Wales’s scores would have improved when Pisa’s next rankings are published in December.