After two years of frothing at the mouth about the education reforms in England by Welsh Labour, Leighton Andrews has now come round to see the light. Last week he announced that he is prepared to remove the responsibility for education from the twenty two local authorities in Wales.
This can't come soon enough for the tens of thousands of children in Wales who have to learn under one of poorest educational systems in the developed world. Tests of Welsh school performance revealed a drop in outcomes for the last 12 years since Labour has come to power in Wales. There are many reasons for this poor performance but the main aspect is one about which the Welsh Minister is in agreement with his English counterpart, Michael Gove: local authorities.
For decades now the schools in the UK have laboured under the gross overregulation and micro-management by local authorities. More than a quarter of the education budget that is meant for schools never reach the frontline and are wasted in county halls for 'educational services', that is council workers and managers who never see a class room from inside.
Tony Blair's government started the process of change. Michael Gove continued and speeded it up. And now Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Education Minister, is about to join the reform camp. Let's see if he can see this through against the vested interests of local councils and teaching unions. The pupils in Wales certainly deserve that he succeeds.
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