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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The continuing need to invest in education and training

Today's Western Mail reports on the shocking statistic that Wales has a higher proportion of working age adults with no qualifications than England or Scotland.

They say that new figures from the Welsh Government show that up to 15% of people in parts of South Wales have no qualifications. Nearly one in six in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot have no recognised qualifications, leaving them far more likely to be unemployed and facing a life a blighted by poverty. Overall 11% of people in Wales have no qualifications, which is higher than in both England and Scotland.

They add that the figures reveal a sharp divide in education levels in South Wales between Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan and the Valleys:

In the Vale of Glamorgan 42% of working age adults are educated to degree level or above and 7% have no qualifications - the highest and second lowest proportions respectively in Wales.

Cardiff has 41% of working age adults educated to degree level or above and 9% with no qualifications.

Just 17% of people in Merthyr Tydfil are educated to degree level or above - the lowest by far in Wales. The next lowest is Caerphilly with 24%.

With the Pisa results due out next month likely to show little or no improvement in educational outcomes in Wales, the need to invest in and focus education and training activities is becoming critical.

A whole generation of people in Wales have been failed by Welsh Labour Governments. That needs to be turned around.
Having lived on Council estates in Caerphilly including Lansbury Park, and with two siblings who attended schools in Caerphilly, and I attended two adult training courses in Cardiff, and I'm a graduate of Cardiff University - I have just one thing to say: 3Rs - there is a huge lack of focus in some Welsh schools IN re the 3Rs.

I had to tutor one of my own brothers who attended a large comprehensive in Caerphilly in basic Maths.

He wasn't stupid, he later went on to do a joint degree in law and sociology at Cardiff University (and was offered several straight LLB offers from other universities but wanted to save money by living close to home; and getting his washing done by mu! While there remains a lack of focus on the 3Rs the PISA data will not get better for Wales.

At every key stage Welsh medium schools underperform English medium schools in the core subjects (where EM schools and WM schools are at the same Free school meals benchmark). With such a clear indication that Wales cannot sontinue with the bilingual experiment why does no one raise any objection to the continuing imposition of more and more Welsh Medium teaching in Wales?
Agreed anon (1:36 PM)> there is a LACK of focus on core subjects in Welsh schools - for some strange reason the political parties in Wales are essentially blind to this issue and harp on about this and that and the other thing; meanwhile too many kids are leaving schools in Wales without the 3Rs firmly under their belt. Welsh politicians of all parties are failing Welsh school children - the teaching union’s excuses lack credibility. Blaming poor focus on the 3Rs on buildings is ridiculous.

I attended Greenway Junior School on the east side of Cardiff - there was great overcrowding in that time in that school - Trowbridge council estate and just come on stream and kids off that estate (me among them) crowded into Greenway - but guess what: the teachers at that school were focused on the 3Rs and we could do long division and long multiplication and write sentences in cursive form. We GOT A GOOD GROUNDING THE IN THE 3Rs.

The teachers at Greenway were brilliant – not because they were really brilliant, but because they were focused on giving us the 3Rs – no nonsense, 3Rs.

We need teaching focused on the 3Rs but try telling the politicians that, they don't want to know. Oh well, Wales will continue to perform poorly in STEM subjects ... good luck Wales.

PS I went on to do a PhD in computational chemistry - my teachers at Greenway set the base line from which I could go on and master writing/debugging code to run on parallel array computers. Cutting edge stuff at the time.

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