The BoJo affect has spread into Wales and the Welsh conservatives are riding high in most of the recent polls.
Political geeks in the so-called ‘Welsh media’ are predicting the unthinkable happening in Wales – A Tory majority in May 2021 elections and becoming the governing party in the recently renamed ‘Welsh Parliament’.
Due to lack of scrutiny, the unthinkable might just happen, and the Welsh Tories with their bland and nearly invisible leader, Paul Davies, could become the governing party.
For that very reason, I chose to look at the Welsh Conservative education policy, as education is the key to future prosperity or the misery of any nation (*).
I don’t think anyone can disagree factually that Welsh education died under the Welsh Labour governance, but how different are the Welsh Tories?
During my research, I came across a fascinating video taken in the Welsh Assembly some three years ago. Ended up ‘gobsmacked’ when I heard a two-minute-long clip where Darren Millar MS, spells out the Welsh Tory education policy, on behalf of his party leader Paul Davies:
No more pretence and from the ‘horse’s mouth,’ “Welsh Conservative Party is 100% behind the Welsh Labour Government’s Cymraeg 2050 policy to create one million Welsh-speakers”.
Darren’s toxic diatribe against the parental rights or parental choice in how to educate their children is truly staggering, not even the ‘fag paper’ can now separate The Welsh Tories from the Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru. The man even dared to call compulsion ‘an opportunity’ – Beyond parody.
Without even taking a breath, Darren delivers his closing comment: “Conservatives will make sure that Welsh Medium education is extended to every corner of Wales irrespective if the Welsh language is prevalent there or not”.
No mention of the international expert opinion that the best educational outcomes, come from schools where pupils are taught in their home language and no mention of the United Nations Human Rights Article 26 (3) that expressly states that the parental choice should be respected:
What Welsh Conservatives say in their Manifesto?
“DELIVER EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION by transforming teacher training and directing more funds to the classroom”.
Then they say: “Our nation is home to some of the world’s most inspiring teachers and ambitious pupils” – Inspiring teachers? Mainly derived from the Welsh Medium teacher training colleges, where only a small percentage have meaningful degrees in STEM subjects – Most can be at best defined as the Welsh Language Missionaries.
On ‘ambitious pupils‘ – where is the ambition when most children are dumbed down by a warped state ideology that comes before pedagogy?
Then they carry on with even more nonsense:
“There is no reason why Wales shouldn’t be performing alongside the best educational systems in the world. Under Labour, however, Wales has been falling down the rankings of the international school league tables and continues to be outperformed by other UK nations”. – A truly evil and a dishonest statement, as by adopting the key Labour’s policy on ‘growing’ the Welsh-speakers, no education system can ever flourish.
“A successful education system is critical to ensuring young people become well-rounded, responsible citizens, who are ambitious, take pride in their community and who are equipped to provide for their family and contribute to society.” – Genuinely wonder about the sanity of the people in the Welsh Conservative Party if they believe in the nonsense they portray as the party policy?
“Already facing the prospect of major curriculum change, the education profession has grown weary of excessive political interference. Welsh Conservatives recognise that successful learning relies on people far more than structures, which is why we trust teachers, parents and young people, themselves to be the key to moving on from the one-size-fits-all approach which has dominated education in Wales since 1999″. – Trusting parents by denying them the teaching language choice and by implication denying to most that precious link of parental involvement in their child’s educational journey?
Had enough of analysing cynical propaganda but for anyone wishing ‘self-harm’, they can read the full document here: https://www.welshconservatives.com/files/welsh_manifesto_finalenglish_0.pdf
As I was trying to formulate the closing arguments as to why the Welsh Tories, Labour and Plaid should not be trusted with the future of Wales, I remembered a brilliant note that I got from a friend after she watched the full video and I’ll use it in place of anything that I might come up with:
“Honestly, there is no room for balanced debate is there? It’s total bulldozing of a policy through the Senedd regardless of the different needs, characteristics and social histories of the communities in Wales.
Still insisting that demand for WME outstrips the supply of WME schools is totally inaccurate (based on data from Cardiff schools). It is now policy driven not demand-driven which anyone can read on the Welsh Government’s website.
Of all politicians that spoke in the Senedd, Neil Hamilton came across well and the arguments he made were fair and honest. I’m really concerned that the later speakers did not appreciate the concerns of parents he spoke for or highlight the dangers of ignoring dissenting voices. Private schools will be full to bursting, homeschooling will continue to rise, tutors will continue to be used to support those struggling to keep up in WM schools. These costs will be absorbed by parents.
I wonder how many of these people making these decisions are trained teachers? I wonder how many of these people pushing this agenda grew up in an English speaking Welsh household on a low income? I wonder how many of them sent/send their children to WM schools from EM households.
I wonder whether these people actually celebrate diversity and appreciate that the face of Wales has changed? It seems that they are trying to demand that Welsh people fit a mould of their choosing.
The aim? That ALL 16 year olds leave school able to communicate in Welsh.
To what level? For what purpose? At what cost? For what benefit? For whom?
People are not unthinking robots. It doesn’t matter how many signs are replaced with Welsh first, people whose first language is English will seek out the English translation and ignore the Welsh. It could even stoke resentment particularly when it makes driving more hazardous. I’m not sure it’ll encourage people to absorb more Welsh or rush to learn the language if that is indeed one of the aims.
It’s a pity the debate is so closed. I fear a two-tiered system will be the result of this policy. But hey, what do I know? I’m only an English speaking Welsh citizen and a teacher.”
Has anything changed in the Welsh Tory education policy since 2017?
One would need to be a masochist to watch the full video as it truly got me depressed the first time I watched it, but for transparency sake here it is, in its full ‘glory’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDWf78YAhI8&feature=youtu.be
Jacques Protic 14.05.2020
(*) Future prosperity or misery of Welsh people borrowed from the great Gwyn Thomas, the Welsh playwright (6 July 1913 – 13 April 1981).