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Schools at risk under Labour education plans

14/04/2022

Labour has been urged to scrap its policy of threatening to close schools under-performing schools and instead commit to tackling the core problems in the Welsh education system.  In a speech in February Labour’s education spokesperson, Leighton Andrews said, ‘where a school is found to be failing, and I regard the situation to be irredeemable, I will close it.’  Plaid Cymru, which has committed to making education the priority for the next decade of Welsh government has rejected this approach stating that they do not believe that any child, or school, should be considered as beyond help.

 

One in three schools in Wales under Labour are currently under-performing and their Education Minister was recently criticised by the NASUWT union for having ‘frightening similarities’ to his Conservative counterpart in Westminster.  Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson, Nerys Evans says that the next Welsh government needs to be focused on driving up standards in our schools not holding the threat of closure over them.  Whilst not all school closures can or should be opposed, the proposals by Leighton Andrews suggest the future of any school will be down to the whims of a Minister without consideration for the needs of the community. 

 

Ms Evans, who is the Plaid candidate in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said Plaid Cymru, in contrast to the approach put forward by Labour, has pledged to tackle the issues of illiteracy and innumeracy in Welsh schools rather than just close them.

 

Nerys Evans said:

 

"Labour’s failure on education does not deserve to be rewarded.  Labour’s proposals to simply ignore the problems and threaten the closure of these schools show how devoid of ideas they are.  It is a defeatist and reckless approach that overlooks the problems schools face.  A decade of Labour running our education system and a generation of Welsh children have been let down.  Labour should not expect to be rewarded for that failure.

 

“It is staggering to think that Labour feel the best way forward for under-performing schools, if any particular education minister believes they are beyond redemption, is to shut them leaving students, teachers and communities devastated. 

 

“Plaid Cymru recognise there are occasions where school closures are unavoidable to improve the education services on offer by creating a more appropriate provision.  However we cannot allow the sustainability of local education services to be held to ransom by a Labour Education Minister who will decide to close schools because he believes the challenge is too tough.”

 

Nerys Evans added:

 

"Labour have been in charge of our children's education for over a decade and have left us with too many children leaving school each year not being able to read, write and count properly. 

 

"Plaid Cymru simply does not, and will not, accept the view that any school or any child is beyond help.  When schools are in need of help in Wales we have to get to grips with the problems and give the direction, leadership and support needed to improve standards. 

 

“Plaid Cymru wants to radically overhaul our education system to ensure that children and teachers get the support they need and deserve.  Education must be a priority for any future government and that is why we have unveiled an ambitious plan to tackle the issues of illiteracy and innumeracy in Wales.  We don’t want to just forget about failing schools but ensure that they are not allowed to fail in the first place.

 

“I would urge Labour to publicly state that they got this one wrong and accept that no school should be off limits.”

 

ENDS / DIWEDD

Notes:

 

  • ·         In a speech in February Leighton Andrews outlined his view that, ‘Where a school is found to be failing, and I regard the situation to be irredeemable, I will close it.’