Welsh government remain unconvincing on GCSE results

2014 Mawrth 11 4:14 PM

Both the First Minister and Education Minister categorically failed to provide sufficient details on how they supported schools with regards to the introduction of the new English Language GCSE exams, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have today argued.

This follows an investigation launched by the Welsh Labour government over "unexpectedly low" grades for new GCSE English language exams sat in January.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, challenged the First Minister on why had his government seemingly not properly prepared schools for the significant changes. Whilst the party's Shadow Education Minister, Aled Roberts, is calling on the Welsh government's review to be rapid, robust and to provide much need clarity.

Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"The WJEC have said some schools might have struggled to cope with the changes to the exam and have not prepared well enough. Yet the First Minister seemed unwilling to accept this to be the case.

"Whilst poor GCSE results might only be a political hiccup and yet another bad headline for the Welsh Labour government, for the pupils these are results that will stay with them for life. It's hugely disappointing that the Welsh Labour government has seemingly failed to take the profession with it and failed to make sure schools were prepared in time.

"Even more worrying was the Education Minister once again piously lecturing the chamber how everything is fine, rather than pledging to rectify the problem. Pupils, parents and teachers deserve better."

Aled Roberts AM said:

"It is essential that the Welsh government's review is rapid and robust as the last thing teachers, parents and pupils need is more uncertainty.

"At the end of the review there must be clarity for the future and no concern whatsoever that the GCSE results which are released in August will be in any doubt as to their veracity.

"In the meantime, the roles of the WJEC and the Welsh government in setting the standard for January's examinations will need to be scrutinised. We need to know what feedback they received from teachers earlier in the year and what interventions were and are available to the Welsh government.

"The portability and quality of Welsh examinations must be beyond reproach, and the Minister must accept that at the moment there is a great deal of uneasiness surrounding the grading process".

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