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In Conversation With……Bethan Jenkins AM

22 Jul

I was very pleased to have been joined on this edition of the ‘In Conversation With…’ series by Bethan Jenkins AM.


Bethan is the regional Assembly Member for the South Wales West Region having first been elected to that position in 2007.

I asked to sit down with Bethan to discuss the Financial Literacy Bill that she is taking through the Assembly at the moment.  You can read more about the Bill here.  We had a good discussion on the implications for the workforce; why it is needed; what it will hopefully achieve and how it can fit in with the curriculum.  We also touched briefly on the consultation that Bethan and Plaid Cymru have recently launched on getting people active in Wales.  I kind of sprung that on Bethan mind so perhaps it is a topic to return to in future.

You can listen to the discussion here


In Conversation With…… Beth Davies

16 May


It has been a while since I’ve done a ‘In Conversation With…” piece but I was pleased to have had the opportunity to sit down with Beth Davies.

Beth is an NUT officer and previously a teacher and headteacher with over 37 years in the teaching profession.  Beth was a Wales Executive member when I started working for the NUT, she actually appointed me, and up until the National Union of Teachers conference in April she was the President of the Union.

I’m sure I could have spoken for some time with Beth on any one of a number of issues, but while we went of on tangents from time to time, the focus of the discussion was mostly on her time as president.  We had a really good discussions about what she had seen in different areas of the UK and beyond as well as the diverging systems that we are seeing in England and Wales.

Sadly I had the mic on the wrong setting and so Beth’s response, until the last few minutes, are very quiet.  You can still hear them though, just, and given I think she made some really interesting points I didn’t want to waste the interview and so I’ve posted it anyway.

Please click on the link below to hear the interview.


I’m currently having a little technical difficulty with my soundcloud account but when it is sorted I’ll post a link to it there for anyone who can’t listen above.

In Conversation With…….Simon Thomas AM

20 Jan

The second politician that I’ve spoken to as part of the ‘In Conversation With….’ series I met with Simon Thomas AM


Simon is an Assembly Member for the Mid and West Wales Region and Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and the Welsh Language.  Prior to taking up these positions Simon was a special advisor to the One Wales Government and a Member of Parliament representing Ceredigion.

We discussed the recent PISA results and issues around that test in general.  We also discussed banding, the curriculum review, standardised testing and supply teaching.

You can hear the conversation in full by clicking on the following .

Alternatively you can hear it on my Soundcloud here.

In Conversation with….Sian Powell

21 Nov

I was joined for this episode of the ‘In Conversation with…’ series by my good friend Sian Powell. For various reasons I had to cancel the recording twice before we eventually got together so thanks to Sian for her patience.


Sian is a PhD student studying the role of the media and devolution. She has previously written for the Huffington post on culture and democracy and is also a lecturer with Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Amongst other things we discussed the way the UK media has reported divergence in the education systems of Wales and England and how Wales can sell its qualifications to a media that is disinterested. Unfortunately I accidentally stopped the recording half way through so it comes in two parts as a result. Click below for the audio.

You can also hear the conversation on my Soundcloud here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

The Carrot Cake

The accompanying carrot cake came from Kemis in Pontcanna. Very nice it was too.

In Conversation With…. Aled Roberts AM

28 Oct

In the second of the ‘In Conversation With…..’ audio blogs I was pleased to be able to sit down with Aled Roberts AM. (Recorded October 22nd)


Aled has been the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, Spokesperson for Children and Young People and Spokesperson for the Welsh Language since he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales as a regional Assembly Member for the North Wales Region. Prior to that he was the leader of Wrexham County Council.

Please click below to hear the conversation where we discussed the recent budget negotiations to secure additional funding for the Pupil Deprivation Grant; the current state of education in Wales; the role of the local authority and a reaction to Huw Lewis AM’s recent ‘Reform, Rigour and Respect’ speech.

Alternativly you can listen on soundcloud here.

The Carrot Cake

All participants in the audio blog series usually will get carrot cake from me but I’m ashamed to say I didn’t get a chance to pick one up on this occasion. I owe you a slice Aled. Sorry!

In Conversation with…..Gary Brace & Angela Jardine

30 Sep

A few months back I posted about how I was planning to start audio blogs to get the views of different people within the education sector. I was very pleased to be able to start the conversation with Gary Brace and Angela Jardine of the General Teaching Council Wales. (GTCW).

Gary is the chief executive of the GTCW and has been since its inception in 2000, meaning he has been at the heart of teaching standards throughout the devolution era. Before this he was a history teacher for 15 years so there is little doubting his experience in the profession. You can follow him on twitter here.

Angela is chair of the GTCW. I also know Angela through her work as a Wales Executive Member at NUT Cymru and have been inspired by her passion and knowledge of educational issues. She has also given me a lot of encouragement with this blog, including the carrot cake side of things, and so I was delighted she agreed to take part.

Click on the below audio link to hear the conversation. We touched on the work of the GTCW, the challenges facing the organisation moving forward in relation to the impact of the forthcoming Education (Wales) Bill and the supply sector.

Alternatively you can listen to it on my soundcloud page.

Any constructive criticism on this new addition to the blog is very welcome, as are suggestions for people to approach to take part.

You can read more about the GTCW and its work at their website here.

The Carrot Cake

All interviewees will be treated to a carrot cake as payment, combining the two passions of this blog. Given this was the first of these audio blogs I went to the extra effort of baking this particular cake myself.


I blogged on my own carrot cake here.

In Conversation With…..

19 Aug

I’m excited that the blog will soon be taking on a new direction. I’ve decided to start a new section of audio blogs. These audio blogs will vary in length but I’m thinking typically around 20-30 minutes of myself in conversation with various people who have something interesting to contribute to the education debate here in Wales. Hopefully this will encompass teachers, politicians, journalists, academics and anyone else who can spark a debate.

The aim of these pieces will be to have a public debate around a range of education topics and to get to know the views of some of the key people in Welsh education.

I’m pleased a few people have already agreed to take part and hopefully I’ll be lining up a few more in the coming weeks with the aim of posting the first audio blog in September sometime. Please let me know if you have suggestions of people you’d be interested in hearing from.