Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, comments on the Welsh Government’s proposal for a new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, contained within the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill introduced on Monday 1 November at the Senedd.
Commenting on the Welsh Government’s proposal for a new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, contained within the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill introduced on Monday 1 November at the Senedd, Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, said:
“The timing of this announcement is yet another indication, as if we needed it, of just how out of touch the Welsh government is with the reality of the massive disruption being felt across our schools and colleges due to coronavirus.
"While we agree that reforms to the education system are required, we have to ask if now is the time for yet another huge policy shift while we are in such a period of instability and uncertainty.
“Education leaders across Wales are run ragged and, above all else, totally exhausted by the task of simply keeping our schools and colleges open in the face of massive levels of Covid-related absence among both learners and staff.
“The funding of post-16 education across Wales has been savaged in recent years and, if the Commission is to be effective in transforming this underappreciated and overlooked sector, schools and colleges will want to see a funding increase to ensure a broad, high-quality, provision for all learners.
“Leaders will also want to see details on how the Commission will regulate value for money in school and college settings and, most importantly, that the Bill ensures post-16 learners across Wales have as wide a choice as possible in terms of the options open to them after taking their GCSEs.
“These are big issues for schools and colleges and they do not need Welsh government attempting to railroad through critically important change at a time when their efforts are focused on the continuing chaos caused by the pandemic. The Education Minister needs to pause for breath and allow schools and colleges across Wales time to recover.”