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Welsh Curriculum

Volume 599: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2015

2. What discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on ensuring that the new Welsh curriculum is accepted across the UK. [R] (901172)

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I too congratulate Labour Front Benchers on their appointments.

My hon. Friend raises an important issue. Greater mobility means reputable, recognisable and comparable qualifications are more important than ever. The CBI has said that employers believe that qualifications across the UK need to be directly comparable.

Is the Minister aware that if one puts the words “Wales”, “Labour”, “Education Minister” and “apology” into Google, one can read an admission from that Education Minister that Welsh Labour’s education policies have been an absolute failure? Does he agree that if we are serious about raising educational standards in Wales, we need only wait until the May Welsh Assembly elections, when instead of ditching the curriculum we can ditch the Labour Welsh Assembly Government?

In the first instance, we need to recognise the success of pupils who passed their A-levels and GCSEs in the summer. However, there is a worrying gap between the trends in Wales and England. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education has said, the results speak for themselves. With free schools, academies and other reforms in England, 1 million more children are in good or outstanding schools here—sadly, those reforms have not been made in Wales.

One great success story in Wales is the growth of Welsh medium schools and the emphasis on language learning in the Welsh curriculum. We have put paid to the nonsense that people in this country have to be monolingual. How will the Minister share that success right across the nations of the UK?

There has been great success in encouraging people to learn Welsh in Wales. Of course, that should not come at the cost of any other language. It is important that we champion that success: bilingual education can work and does work. We will encourage as many people as possible to learn not only Welsh, but modern foreign languages in Wales and across the UK.

I know that the Minister, who has a coterminous boundary with me, will want to congratulate the pupils and teachers in schools in his constituency and mine who this year produced record summer results for A-level students and an improved performance at A* to C in GCSEs in English language, Welsh, maths and science. Rather than talk them down, will he congratulate those students and schools?

The hon. Gentleman either ignored the answer I gave earlier or prepared his script before he came to Question Time. I did congratulate the students who succeeded. My point was that we need more students in Wales to succeed because there is a worrying gap between the success in England and the success in Wales.