Friday, 7 September 2012

Raise your game

A high school in Cardiff is going to spend half the school day teaching new entrants reading skills. The head teacher reckoned that nearly half (45%) the kids coming from the primary schools were functionally illiterate.
So the school is going to amend the traditional curriculum for the youngest pupils to ensure reading skills are improved. 

But it’s not just a Cardiff problem, unfortunately to many kids are leaving school unable to read and write and do simple sums.

Whilst the rest of the world was being diverted by the Olympics and the para Olympics I spent my summer preparing a television programme on the Welsh economy. And interesting it was too

One of the theme’s to emerge in the programme from both business people and economists was the need for better educated youngsters. Our economy could not compete with the rest of the world unless our kids raised their game. It was education, education and education.

Whilst many of those appearing had different expectations of government there was little dispute that the Welsh Government should bust a gut in getting educational standards up.

The last Pisa assessments of 15-year-olds show Wales ranked lowest of the UK countries and out of 67 countries taking part, Wales was ranked 38th for reading, 40th for maths and 30th for the tests for science.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests are designed to measure whether students nearing the end of secondary school are well prepared to meet the challenges they will encounter in future life. The programme concludes that  many are unable to meet the challenge and their lives will be blighted.

Is Wales working? To be broadcast on BBC 1 Wales next Sunday at 10:25 pm.


  1. Reading skills in what language? English I bet.

    Most kids these days are speaking and writing in Welsh. English isn't very important for the young Welsh.

  2. Firstly Anon. 13.05:-

    "Most kids these days are speaking and writing in Welsh. English isn't very important for the young Welsh."

    You must be joking! Only 22% of pupils in Wales are in Welsh Medium schools and the standard of Welsh in those schools is lower than the standard of English. Also, in those schools, when they are compared with English Medium schools with a similar Socio-economic profile, the standard of English is lower than in English Medium schools.

    No one is allowed to know that Welsh Medium schools underperform.

  3. What we need is a Labour government in Cardiff and the opinion polls show that the Welsh have an appetite for it. Wait....we already have a Labour government in Cardiff and it's been that way since the Assembly was set up. Silly me!