Welsh success

1st March 1996 at 00:00
There seemed to be little coverage outside Wales for the Welsh report by Roy James, its chief inspector. Such reporting as there was, however, was positive about the state of education (TES, February 23).

Mr James commented: "I am pleased to be able to report improvements in the quality of education provided by schools and in the standards achieved by pupils." This is, of course, not the kind of reporting that was seen and heard in connection with chief inspector Chris Woodhead's report on English schools.

Should one conclude therefore that education in Wales is considerably better than that in England? Not at all. Journalists could so easily have quoted from the English report as follows: "The successes this year are many and real. Standards of pupil achievement and teaching are satisfactory or better in the majority of schools. Examination results in both GCSE and GCE A-level are comparable with standards achieved in recent years.

"The social and the moral development of pupils are secure and standards of behaviour are generally good in all but a few schools. There are some signs of improvement in the curricular provision for pupils with special needs.

"As their experience grows, teachers are meeting national curriculum requirements more confidently. Schools appear to be responding constructively both to the Dearing review, and, in the secondary sector, to the challenge of broadening curriculum provision in key stage 4.

"General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) courses are increasingly common in sixth forms. Many schools provide a wide range of extra-curricular sporting and cultural activities for their pupils."

This could have precipitated the headline "English Education - a success story". This would have been as misleading as the actual reports.

What is needed is balanced and fair reporting upon which constructive strategies can be based.

JOHN ANDREWS General secretary Professional Association of Teachers 2 St James Court Friar Gate Derby

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