Improving Schools in Wales: An OECD Perspective

10 Apr

The OECD report commissioned by the Welsh Government looking at our education system has been published today, and to quite a bit of coverage.  No doubt it will continue to be a topic of debate when the Assembly is next in session.

Overall the report does chime closely with many of the things I have been saying on this blog.  Specifically that literacy and numeracy tests narrow the curriculum and the years covered by the tests should be reduced; that access to continue professional development is not good enough; the esteem in which the profession is held needs to be increased; that the frequency of school banding should be reduced; that school banding undermines collaboration as well as the nature of the agreed criteria for assessing quality. I’d like to believe the OECD are big fans of the carrot cake diaries but the truth is much of this is simply just a matter of common sense.

The report will make uncomfortable reading for the Welsh Government.  It is critical of the speed of its reforms as well as, in places, the nature and quality of what has been implimented.  It is fair to say from the report that the OECD is suggesting that the Welsh Government, at least to an extent, is part of the problem rather than the solution.

I am pleased that there are some clear strengths recognised by the OECD including crucially the line, “a comprehensive school system emphasising equity and inclusion.” This is a major recognition that the Welsh Government were correct in their approach to ruling out Acadamies in Wales.

There are also recommendations as to where improvement can be made. These have been broken down into the following headings.

  • Meet the learning requirements of its students and deliver equity and quality.
  • Build professional capital and a culture of collective responsibility for improved learning for all students.
  • Create a coherent assessment and evaluation framework.
  • Define and implement policy with long-term perspective.

Each of these headings contain three or four recommendations.  Over the next few weeks (it would be days but me, my good wife and the Gryffalo are off to Spain on Tuesday) I’m going to work through each of the particular areas and their recommendations in detail.  It is easy with reports of this magnitude (well over 100 pages) that we look at the headlines on day one and then they are forgotten about.  Given this report cost the Welsh taxpayer over £200,000, and more importantly the comprehensive analysis it provides of the Welsh system, I think that would be a real shame.

One Response to “Improving Schools in Wales: An OECD Perspective”

  1. paceni April 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm #
    The Welsh government and Michael Gove are both fans of OECD Pisa and Andreas Schleicher. Both can’t be right. Pick one.

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