Welsh need to look to the future

30th May 2003 at 01:00
AS Wales starts to break away from the dismal Baker-Blunkett model of Westminster diktat in schools, it is right to celebrate the courageous role played by its gifted minister for education, Jane Davidson (TES, May 16).

The Welsh Assembly within the past two years has removed from the sides of its teachers great thorns like key stage 1 tests and secondary league tables. In the process it has shown something almost entirely lacking in England: a real respect for the professionalism of teachers and a genuine spirit of partnership in developing innovatory reforms like a new non-academic foundation stage and the 16 to 19 Welsh baccalaureate.

Yet at such a seminal period in Welsh educational history we still lack a clear vision for an autonomous system of education. We cannot forever rely on talented politicians. Outside government institutions, we lack a proper educational research centre, our standards of educational journalism are mediocre and there is no permanent forum for bringing together different interests in Wales to formulate ideas about the future direction of our system.

Now is the time to establish a standing conference for education in Wales to take these matters forward Paul F Jeremy 8 Badger's Brook Close Ystradowen, Cowbridge

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