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Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru

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“Regional working must focus on raising educational standards” – Aled Roberts

2013 Hydref 1 4:16 PM

Commenting on today's Oral Statement on the Review of Education from the Minister for Education, Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for North Wales and the party's Spokesperson on Education said:

"This Regional Working statement is heavy on consistency of structures and uniformity of financing across Wales, but light on detail with regard to the capacity within the education system in Wales to achieve improvement within our schools.

"I would also query the Minister's decision to have only one representative from each of the secondary, primary and special school sectors on regional governance boards, as in larger regions like North Wales - which includes six counties - there is a risk of a lack of democratic accountability.

"We need to know what process the Minister intends to use to put these representatives in place.

"We also need to have a lot more detail on the financial arrangements for the proposed model, particularly if the Government is now committed to top slicing from council budgets.

"If regional consortia are to prepare their own business plans then costs are likely to vary between all the regions, with a consequent variation in education spend in schools in each region.

"There is a need for clarity as to when the Government will report on the remaining recommendations from the Hill review given that some of the changes, for example to the education welfare service, are inherently linked to improving school attainment.

"The focus now must be on building capacity within our school improvement services in Wales and improving the skills of our school leaders across Wales.

"It is quite apparent that attention also has to be paid to initial teacher training and continued professional development in order that our children can reach their full potential in the education system in Wales".