Calls for Welsh Government to implement education changes
Vale MP Alun Cairns has called on the Welsh Government to stipulate changes to the education system in Wales to help improve students’ numeracy and literacy skills.
The UK government has announced that pupils in England who fail to achieve at least a C grade at GCSE in English and Maths will have to carry on taking the subjects to the age of 18. Mr Cairns is keen to see the Welsh Government implement a similar ruling to help improve the skills of Welsh pupils.
This follows concerns that too many teenagers leave education without adequate skills in literacy and numeracy needed by employers.
The UK policy to be implemented from September 2013, will see some pupils re-taking GCSEs and others taking less demanding tests, aimed at improving basic skills.
Alongside high levels of youth unemployment a recent CBI survey states that 2 in five employers were not satisfied with literacy levels among school leavers.
The Vale MP wants to see Wales follow suit to make sure that Welsh students are not left behind and disadvantaged in their future search for employment or further studies.
Mr Cairns said:
“I welcome the introduction of the ruling in England that those students who fail to achieve at least a C grade at GCSE in English and Maths will have to carry on taking the subjects to the age of 18.
“The CBI has called for all young people to be encouraged to continue their maths and numeracy education post-16, to support the UK’s need for highly numerate technicians and employees with strong levels of science, technology and engineering – all are grounded in the knowledge of mathematical theory.
“The Welsh Government needs to take urgent action to address the lack of mathematics and literacy attainment in our schools. Current failings are hampering social mobility and Wales’ long term competitiveness.”
The new system in England will mean that for those with near-miss D grades, there is an expectation pupils will re-take to get to a C grade or higher. For those who have weaker skills, there will be other tests or lessons which might not lead to a qualification.
Mr Cairns added:
“This UK ruling follows hot on the heels of the publication of Wales schools’ watchdog Estyn’s report which claims that too many secondary schools in Wales are failing to effectively nurture talented pupils.
“Figures from the UK’s best universities have shown declining numbers of Welsh students being accepted, which suggests underachievement amongst our most talented young people.
“The Education Minister must start taking appropriate action to raise standards across the board in Welsh schools to ensure that all our pupils are equipped to fulfil their potential and help the economy of Wales in the future.”