Statement on “Raising schools standards” speech
Commenting on the "Raising schools standards" speech (29 June 2011) by Education Minister Leighton Andrews, Nick Griffin, Director for Wales with Voice: the union for education professionals, said:
"I was pleased to hear the minister’s commitment to raising standards, his recognition of the importance of teaching quality, leadership, and his intention to provide greater support and development for schools and teachers in Wales.
"The Master’s course for teachers is a bold step towards raising standards and enhancing the status and self-confidence of the teaching profession.
"However, I remain concerned that the reading test could be a very expensive exercise to produce yet more league tables. Wales has a good track record in reducing its pupil testing regime so this could be a backward step and very costly at a time when public expenditure is being cut. It would certainly need to be coupled with improved training for teachers and with the resources to provide extra support when needed.
"A significant investment will be required in order to construct and pilot such a national test and to determine its validity and reliability. The best judges of how well children are reading are their teachers as they hear them read on a regular basis.
"I am not sure that a national reading test will have any real benefits or be of any diagnostic value. The results will be uninformative as they will only produce information that teachers already know from their own assessments. They will not give information on individuals’ levels of engagement or how they make sense of what they are reading.
"There are serious issues to be addressed, particularly the funding gap between schools in Wales and England."
Contacts: Voice Press Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 01332 372337 or 0794 871 0413, Director for Wales Nick Griffin (email@example.com) on 01332 378 029, Professional Officer (Wales) John Till (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 01332 378031 or General Secretary Philip Parkin (email@example.com) on 01332 372 337 or 077 259 601 32.
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