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Tory Leader hits back on education

Created on 06/01/2022 @ 11:38

Aled Davies, Leader of the Conservative Group on Powys County Council, has hit back after his group came under attack over education policy.

The attack came from Councillor James Gibson-Watt, the council’s Liberal Democrat Group Leader, who accused the Conservatives of descending into chaos following the resignation of two members over school closure proposals.

Councillor Davies took to Facebook to accuse the Lib Dems of trying to stop investment in schools at a time when the Independent and Conservative-led administration was making “desperately needed” changes.

“Education in Powys is changing, and it desperately needed to,” he wrote.

“In 2019, the Education Inspectors for Wales, Estyn, gave Powys Education a poor report, the latest in a succession of poor reports the Council had received over many years.

“Real improvement was desperately needed and at that point in 2019 my Cabinet colleague Cllr Phyl Davies took over the reins as Powys CC Cabinet Member for Education and he has made a positive impact.

“Estyn reports of the past pointed to a long history of unwillingness to take the difficult and important decisions to transform the life chances of our young people. If it falls to the Welsh Conservative Group within Powys CC to lead on taking those difficult decisions, so be it, we must for the future of Powys children.

“Estyn returned to Powys in the Autumn term 2021, two years on from the disastrous 2019 visit, and published a highly positive report, that reflected on the significant and strong changes made to improve our support for schools and learners and Phyl Davies is singled out for praise for his leadership.

“We now have curriculum, leadership and ALN support in place, and our schools are collaborating well. School budgets are now stable, and we are moving towards a fairer distribution of funding.

“Headteachers comment favourably on the leadership now provided by Powys CC, which is a significant change from the previous decades.

“Future planning has a clear direction. We have investment programmes underway, and an excellent strategy for supporting learners with Additional Learning Needs.

“We know there is still more to do to improve but what we now need is for all of our politicians, whatever their political persuasion, to put their ambitions for children across Powys ahead of their own personal ambitions.

“The former Minister for Education Kirsty Williams was passionate about her vision and actively promoted her ‘National Mission’, which was lauded internationally as a coherent and appropriate vision for an education system for the 21st century.

“Kirsty’s vision closely chimes with our own Vision here in Powys.

This is in sharp contrast to her successor, the current Lib Dem MS and also the Lib Dem Council group who take every opportunity to stymie progress and to stop our investment in schools.

“I fully appreciate the strong feelings and emotions relating so some of our proposals, but I will not turn my back on difficult challenges that others before me have refused accept because of their political opportunism.

“Welsh Conservatives are ambitious for our children in Powys and we will work with our communities and schools across Powys to make sure that by the age of 19 every young person in Powys is equipped to Live, Learn, Work and Play here in Powys, or wherever in the world they choose to make their way.”

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