New OECD report praises Welsh schools

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

Sadly, however, the OECD only praises them for minimising gender differences in attainment.  Boys and girls now do equally badly, it seems.  This is not what equal opportunities was supposed to be about.

I searched the report in vain for the much-promised conclusion that all the focus on ESDGC in Wales had borne fruit.   It wasn't there.  Actually, there was no mention of ESDGC; odd that, given that part of it's purpose was to create a world-class education system.  There were lots of references to sustainability, sustainable, sustain and the like, but these were all in the sense of keeping going – that is, keep on trying to do better by the children (and the economy) of Wales.

The report's Foreword ends with this:

The report Improving Schools in Wales: An OECD Perspective proposes a comprehensive strategy tor Wales to support equity and quality in its school system building on a comparative perspective.  It draws upon lessons from PISA, high performers and successful reformers in education, and on the research and analysis of key aspects of education policy in Wales undertaken by the OECD-Wales Review Team (Annex A).  This report identifies the main strengths and challenges of the Welsh school system and provides a number of recommendations and policy options for further improvement with a longer term perspective.  The report recommends that four areas are given priority:

  1. Ensuring that schools meet the learning needs of all their students;
  2. Building professional capital and collective responsibility throughout the system;
  3. Developing a coherent assessment and evaluation framework to promote improvement; and
  4. Defining a long term education strategy that builds on a select number of core priorities, is adequately designed and resourced and has appropriate governance and support structures.

Devastating.  This suggests that, if the OECD were Ofsted, Wales would be in special measures.

This week's Economist has a feature on the Welsh economy which sees school reform as vital; but it says that things won't get much better  without structural educational reform – which has been ruled out before, it seems, as it would upset the teacher unions and collectivist-minded parents.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education  has "welcomed" the report.  Remember, however, that this is the same Ministry that, last year, ordered the Welsh Exam Board to raise the grade of over 2300 GCSE scripts, so how much confidence can we have in their having the political will to do anything about what the OECD report has to say?  I know what I think.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


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