Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Plaid Cymru debate on education

The education minister said that it was a matter for local authorities to establish the regional consortia and not his remit.

Leighton Andrews AM was responding to a Plaid Cymru debate on education on 7 November 2012.

Plaid Cymru Education Spokesperson Simon Thomas said that it was their duty to hold the minister to account on his promises.

A report into the structure of education services last year said the idea of regional consortia was a more sensible way of organising resources rather than allowing 22 authorities to go their own way.

It was the government's intention for the local authorities to have the regional consortia in place by September 2012.

Members of all opposition parties called for the minister to give assurances that the consortia would be in place forthwith.

But Mr Andrews was adamant that the matter was for local authorities to decide.

He said that the members had to decide whether they want "central" control of education, or for the work to be done by local authorities via the regional consortia.

The latter means "uneven" development of the consortia, he said.

"That is the choice that faces them.

"There is nothing in the creation of regional consortia that removes the responsibility on local authorities to deliver in this area."

The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives took the opportunity to criticise the current banding system, saying it does not have the support of teachers or pupils.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Aled Roberts said that "we do need to understand from the minister what action has been taken for those schools" in lower bands.

The minister responded that those schools were "key" to the success of the system.

He added that if the system doesn't work "then there may be other models we will need to look at for ensuring support for our schools".

"We are open to that."

The motion as amended was agreed.

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