Something peculiar seems to have happened to education in Wales. Not long ago, there was widespread consensus that parliamentary devolution had allowed successive Welsh Assembly Governments to develop important and imaginative policies across the whole range of educational provision, from early years to the universities. These policies were celebrated not merely because they were distinctive from those in other parts of the UK, but rather because they were seen to be tailored specifically to the needs and aspirations of Welsh citizens. More recently, however, popular perception has shifted dramatically. Now, the emphasis is on the failure of Welsh schools – and increasingly other educational institutions – to provide adequate educational opportunities for our children and young people. Educational attainment is not reaching appropriate standards, to the detriment of individuals’ prospects, as well as those of the Welsh economy more widely.
Published: January 2011