Prioritising our children's education

Education has been devolved in Wales for the last 25 years.  This means that it is overseen by the Welsh Government in Cardiff.

The Welsh Government levies some taxes of its own but receives the vast majority of its funding from the UK Treasury.  For every £1 that is spent in England, the Welsh Government receives £1.20.

In December 2023, I attended an event at Westminster for the launch of the OECD’s 'Programme for International Student Assessment' (PISA) 2022 results. PISA results measure 15yr olds’ ability to use reading, maths and science knowledge and are a three-yearly comparison of the performance of different education systems.

Continued improvements have been seen in England's PISA rankings in maths, science and reading, with scores above the OECD average. Education reform in England since 2010 has been a big Government success story.

This contrasts with ever worsening PISA rankings for Wales, with scores that fall below the OECD average in all areas and demonstrate that Wales is bottom of the UK nations in terms of education performance.  It is clear to me that the Labour Welsh Government's education policy is holding back the life chances of children.

Indeed, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has strongly suggested an overhaul of education policy in Wales due to ‘sliding education results’ and ‘high inequalities’. The study also states that average Welsh students are only doing as well as the poorest English students. Please find more information here: https://twitter.com/TheIFS/status/1770714461969797253 and here: https://twitter.com/pjtheeconomist/status/1770747852811042954

Educational improvement in England is also seen in the IEA's: 'Progress in International Reading Literacy Study' (PIRLS): 9-10 yr olds and 'Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study' (TIMSS): 13-14 yr olds. The Welsh Government has refused to opt into PIRLS or TIMSS.

Concerns over Welsh education policy have been compounded by cuts in funding to local schools. In comparison, in England, the UK Government is increasing schools’ budgets by £3.5 billion next year, and funding will be at the highest ever level in real terms per pupil by the next academic year, as measured by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. School funding is set to rise faster than forecast inflation in both 2023/24 and 2024/25: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-in-england-to-benefit-from-m…

I met local headteachers and councillors, wrote to the Welsh First Minister and raised the matter in Parliament.

You can read more here:

https://www.jamesdavies.org.uk/news/welsh-government-and-denbighshire-c…

https://www.jamesdavies.org.uk/news/mp-urges-first-minister-closely-exa…

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