Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Education in Wales - time for change?

We in Wales have a good education system, with many dedicated and hardworking teachers, the question though is it good enough?

In a speech this week Leighton Andrews, Education Minister has ordered a wide raging review of education in Wales, and one possibility might be removing education from the control of local councils. Not unsurprisingly the Local Government Association is against such move, but then again the phrase turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind.

I'm not convinced that education standards will be improved if left up to local councils. Neither am I convinced that best decisions; which in the main should be evidence based and logical, will be made by a bunch of self preening headline grabbing politicians. We on Anglesey have been moribund for decades due to petty infighting amongst our infantile councillors.

The below is a re-post of what I said last September:

Education in Wales - some suggestions

The education system in Wales needs to be reformed, as Leighton Andrews has said we have far too many Education Authorities.

So here are some ideas:

There should be a maximum of 6 Education and Training Boards

All children would be guaranteed a standard education until the age of 18.

A national body would set minimum education standards, but teachers would be allowed to decide how this is achieved.

Each child would have a guaranteed personal education budget for life set by the Welsh Assembly.

There would be a mixture of private and public early learning centres for children between the ages of 5 to 7, with an emphasises on learning by play and participation. Parents would have a choice of where to send there children, however for any establishment charging more than the standard cost parents would need to fund the additional costs.

As these early years are crucial there would be no means testing of the guaranteed element of public funding.

Between the ages of 7 and 16, children would attend area schools. This is where they would learn their 'foundation' education. Parents would have a choice between private and public schools, but parents would need to fund the cost of any private schooling themselves - other than for private or charity 'not for profit' schools.

After 16 they would have a choice of either a vocational course or academic courses, with emphasises for the majority on vocational training.

Vocational courses would in partnership with a private company or public authority or a charity. Public funding would be provided for part of the training, and for small and medium size companies additional tax concessions to encourage participation.

So after 16 (should they decide not to follow an academic route) they could either become an apprentice or stay on at a vocational college till the age of 18. I suppose they could leave school when 16, and there could be many valid reasons why. But say later they change their mind they could still call upon the balance left in their personal education budget to learn again.

The above are mere suggestions, no costing exercise has been carried out, make of them what you may, for I am no education expert, nor do I claim to be one. As I often say my poor grammar alone is proof of that.

See also Time to support and invest in good teachers.

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