12/10/2016 The Wales Report


12/10/2016

What are the key challenges facing Welsh schools and universities? Bethan Rhys Roberts speaks to education secretary Kirsty Williams.


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Testing times ahead for Welsh schools and

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We speak to the Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams.

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what role for Wales in trying to settle the UK's

:00:11.:00:13.

And the harsh reality of prostitution in towns and

:00:14.:00:19.

would decriminalisation make sex work safer?

:00:20.:00:31.

People judge us. They say because we are street workers, we are this or

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that. We're not all the same. Good evening, and welcome

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to the Wales Report. Does education in Wales

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pass the test? How could our schools

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and universities do better? You can join our discussion

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tonight on social media Well, the woman in charge,

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the Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, takes

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on the role of Education Secretary at a time of very

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big decisions ? higher education funding,

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a new curriculum, and how to improve Wales's performance

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in the international So, it's a pretty full

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in-tray for the Education Secretary, and we'll hear

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from Kirsty Williams in just But first, let's take

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a look at some of the The only Lib Dem in Government,

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Kirsty Williams faces vital decisions about the future of our

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schools, colleges and universities. First up, higher education. Last

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month, Professor Ian Diamond delivered his recommendations for

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how universities in Wales should be funded, and the sector seems to

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think it is just what is needed. It has been long in gestation, the

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report. I think it is positive for students, applicants, who will be

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the students of the future, and for their families as well, and for

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Wales, because it is important that we have a fair system of support for

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students who come from Wales, and it's important that universities in

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Wales are well funded, to the degree that allows them to play their part

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in the future of this country. Next, schools and the new PISA rankings in

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December. Wales's results started badly and have been getting worse.

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Is improvement expected this time? I don't think they will be better,

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they may be worse. If they are the same or worse, we have the radically

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think about what it is that we have done in these last ten years. There

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is no point in going on as we have in the last ten years if the

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headline indicator we are all committed to shows you are going

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nowhere. Yet another set of disappointing PISA results will be

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sober reading for the first Minister. For more than a decade,

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the Wales Government has tried to improve Wales's performance, with

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intense pressure on teachers and schools. Local education authorities

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have been placed into special measures, and regional education

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consortia have been created to drive up standards. But some think the

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problem for the education Secretary is far closer to home. The great

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thing we have never tackled, as far as I can see, is to reform the

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Department of Education itself. The OECD, who run PISA, were damning in

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a report they published in 2014, saying the national Government, the

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Wells Government, hadn't provided a coherent narrative for education in

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Wales. We are feeling our way towards that. It would be something,

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if Kirsty Williams wanted to leave office having achieved something,

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would be to say, we have a clear, coherent vision for education. We

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still do not and we are feeling our way towards it. We badly needed, but

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if we don't get it, we won't improve in PISA and our students will lag

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behind compared to other students in the United Kingdom. And there is a

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warning to the Cabinet Secretary to reach out and listen. I think Kirsty

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Williams has to tread carefully, because she can end up carrying the

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can for 17 years of Labour rule. She has been -- she has to be very

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careful about where she takes advice from. If she takes it from her own

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department, she is only receiving the same as in -- the same advice as

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her predecessors. She needs to make sure she is getting advice and

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expert opinion from outsiders who will tell her things civil servants

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won't want to hear. For an outsider brought into one of the most

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high-profile jobs in Wells Government, the stakes could not be

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higher. A radical new curriculum will be brought in from 2018.

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Teachers will have to be prepared. Some are warning that the coming

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years are make or break for education in Wales. I think there

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are challenges, obviously, but it is a huge opportunity. I think if she

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can connect with the Welsh teaching profession in may be ways that some

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of her predecessors didn't, and if she can set the right emotional

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tone, and if she can actually get teachers and the Welsh nation to

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think that we need some kind of crusade here. To the Welsh and

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well-educated as part of our history but not the case now. If she can put

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together a crusade and put together a coalition of teachers and parents,

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then it would be an incredible contribution to our future. Without

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it, one fears for our future. Earlier, I spoke to the education

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secretary, Kirsty Williams, in the Senedd. Huge challenges ahead for

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you - how will you be different from your predecessors? It is a big

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challenge, but it is an exciting one. I am ambitious for Welsh

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education, for our children and for our teaching profession. I think we

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are embarking on a new national mission that recognises that working

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with the profession, with parents, we can make Welsh education

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stronger, high attaining education system. For many years, we have

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looked around the world for examples of good practice, and we will

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continue that, to challenge ourselves against the best. But I

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want us to be the nation that people look to to see what we have done.

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Maybe you are referring to Wales or the Welsh Government. It is

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intriguing how this works. You're the only Lib Dem in the village,

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when it comes to the table. Are you trying to implement Lib Dem

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education policy and a very different vision to what we've had

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for 16 years? You yourself have been so negative about what we have had

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for the past 16 years. When I say we, I mean Welsh Government, but I

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also mean the teaching profession. I am clear that we cannot change

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education from the fifth floor office of the Welsh Government

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building. We need to create a coalition between Welsh Government,

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those in local education authorities and regional consortia, who are

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charged with school improvement, working with head teachers, teachers

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in the classrooms, and parents. It is only by working together to share

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that national mission of high standards, getting the basics right

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in our schools, that we will make a difference. And yes, being the only

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Liberal Democrat creates a new dynamic. Let's be clear, when I

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wasn't in the Government, my party prioritised education spending in

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our budget, and only recently, we have seen the gap between the

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performance of our poorest children closing. It is a noble aspiration,

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but I'm trying to get out what is going to change now that we have a

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Lib Dem in charge of education. We will have a new vision, which the

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OECD called for, which sets out our strategic ambitions for our

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education system. We will have a relentless focus on standards,

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looking at how we improve our initial teacher training so that

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those coming into the profession have the skills they need. New

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professional standards for teachers as a whole, ensuring they have the

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opportunity to constantly improve. What about money, then? Can you

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guarantee the money? Next week, we will hear about cuts in the budget,

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and educational have to be cut, it? Next week, we will see a challenging

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set of financial circumstances that the Welsh Government find themselves

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in, so we will be ensuring that the money that is available to me as

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Cabinet Secretary for education is spent on those priorities. So,

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additional resources I hope we will see for school improvement in the

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budget, a continued commitment to the pupil depravation grant. But

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what will you cut? You will have to cut something. We will have to see

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how the budget is published, but I am clear that we need to use the

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resources available to do what we need to do, to fulfil that national

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mission. So, reforming teacher training, additional resources for

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school improvement. Let's talk about school improvement. You're not

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expecting good PISA result in December, you have said that. Do you

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not expect any improvement? The test that were taken last year, we have

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to accept, have taken place at a time when we are in a process of

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changing and reforming the system. When the OECD came and wrote a very

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challenging report, damning in many ways about the state of Welsh

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education, they said it would take a number of years for reforms to bed

:10:20.:10:25.

in. What I want to do, because the PISA results in the past have not

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been good enough, but I am not sitting back just waiting for this

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next set of PISA results to be published. I have invited the OECD

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's comeback to Wales, to examine the programmes we are implementing and

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the policies I want to take forward, to make sure we have that rigour and

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challenge from not just within the civil service but outside, that they

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are the bright programmes we need. Anyone who knows anything about

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education will tell you, the reforms we are undertaking will take some

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time to bed in. Which is what your predecessors used to say. When the

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last set came out in 2013, you deleted I am really sad and angry

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that 14 years of Labour policy has led us to these PISA results.

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Because they are not good enough. Let's look to 2019. You will have to

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deliver better results. Will you make PISA a priority for teachers as

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well? That has been a problem, that perhaps teachers aren't focusing on

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PISA the way that Government is. They are getting on with GCSE? And

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some might even see PISA as a distraction. Will you tell them they

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have to take PISA more seriously? We have been clear that PISA is an

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important way in which we can benchmark ourselves against the rest

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of the world, and I want to see us make improvements in our PISA

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performance. I don't now say that our PISA performance has been good

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because I am the Cabinet Secretary. I have the opportunity to make the

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changes to make sure we don't find ourselves in that position in the

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years to come, and I am focused on that, improving standards, creating

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a curriculum that actually gives our young people the skills that they

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need to do well in PISA as well as a whole raft of other reforms which

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were embarked upon. We have to be clear, we cannot afford, as a

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Government, when we're changing education, to be changing every time

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there is a bump in the road, dashing off in a different direction. Do you

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think there has been too much change? Over the years, we have had

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changes that have not been the right ones, not based on evidence about

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what works. I think we have embarked now on a radical programme of

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change. What the OECD said is that we do need that vision. I will be

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making further announcements this autumn term about that strategic

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vision, and then we need to stick to it. I am bringing the OECD back in.

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Let's have a quick look at the Diamond review. You are minded to

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accept all its recommendations and plough through with that, in what

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kind of timescale? I am clear that I accept the principles outlined in

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the Diamond review. It says clearly that we need to focus on the problem

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is that really affect students will stop all the recommendations? We

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have accepted the principles behind the recommendations, especially the

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principle that it is upfront living costs that are the real barrier for

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young people going on to study in higher education, something I have

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said before the election and for many years. I am glad that Diamond

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has agreed with that. So, we will have to now look at how we can move

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from the principles in the report to a system that students can access.

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Timescale, roughly? We have seen a go at -- we had to have negotiations

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with the Treasury and the student loans Company. I hope to have a

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detailed consultation and a detailed response this autumn. I want

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something that can be fermented by 2018. Argue enjoying Government? --

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that can be implemented by 2018. Argue enjoying Government? It is

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good to make decisions and affect -- effect change. We will be reforming

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the curriculum, it is a wonderful opportunity. Kirsty Williams, thank

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you. grapple with how the UK

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will leave the European Union, what does it all mean

:14:26.:14:29.

for Wales? And how much of a say, if any,

:14:30.:14:31.

will Wales have in the The Prime Mininster Theresa May

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says she'll listen to the devolved administrations

:14:35.:14:37.

but is adamant that the UK Government will

:14:38.:14:39.

do the negotiating. So, what does the leader

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of her party in Wales make of that? Before we hear from

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Andrew RT Davies, let's remind ourselves of what

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the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, told this

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programme last week. What I have said is we expect to be

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part of not what is happening but to be able to feed in what the UK's

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position is. The difficulty we have is the UK Government has no real

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idea of where it goes next. My greatest fear is that they will

:15:15.:15:23.

focus on the City of London at the expense of other areas of the

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economy. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones,

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and his red line. The leader of the Welsh

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Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, was prominent in the Leave campaign

:15:30.:15:31.

in Wales and he joins me now. More than three months now after the

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referendum. What will Brexit mean for Wales? In means a strong UK

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Government negotiating an UK's- making sure we get the best deal

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possible. That is problematic because of

:15:53.:16:06.

many of those continental partners up for election next year. There is

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no clear direction coming out of the European Union as the they want. But

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what we want is a trade access deal that gives us access to the European

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market. So you want to remain in the single European market. You want

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soft Brexit? We want access to the European market. How that will look

:16:22.:16:24.

will come out in negotiations. What we found out as the article 50 will

:16:25.:16:28.

be invoked in the early part of next year and then there is a two-year

:16:29.:16:35.

window for those negotiations to take place. But it would be wrong to

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go into those negotiations, saying you cannot do this or that. But you

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will first in the books in terms of leaving. Do you want the UK to be

:16:45.:16:50.

part of the single market? I want them to make the decisions in the

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parliaments and assemblies of the UK. This is an important

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consideration. What we need to do now in the negotiations is securing

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the best impossible for British exporters, both to the European and

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global market. We know the issues and we

:17:15.:17:25.

know as a party, you seem divided. Those want hard Brexit, which is the

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one to be like America, Bondo sorts of terms, and those who want soft

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Brexit, they want to remain in the single European market, and if that

:17:33.:17:34.

means the freedom of movement of people, so be it. I disagree that we

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are a divided party. There are many views within your party. There are

:17:41.:17:44.

many views within all political parties. Everyone is united about

:17:45.:17:49.

getting a deal that allows Britain to continue to trade with Europe,

:17:50.:17:59.

and that will have some restrictions on the movement of people, so that

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will have consequences. The First Minister admits that. What about

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you? I have said all along there will have to be restrictions on the

:18:06.:18:12.

free movement of people. I believe immigrants make an improvement and

:18:13.:18:15.

benefit the English and Welsh society but I respect the view that

:18:16.:18:19.

immigration was a real issue the electorate want politicians to

:18:20.:18:26.

respond to. The First Minister suggested freedom of movement of

:18:27.:18:34.

workers, how would that work? The issue for the First Minister is, he

:18:35.:18:37.

had a protocol which he came up with. He has moved from that now the

:18:38.:18:40.

goods and services rather than people. He then wanted article 50

:18:41.:18:44.

invoked as soon as possible. Let us talk about you in your position.

:18:45.:18:49.

From the Welsh government point of view, it is very difficult to

:18:50.:18:52.

understand what they want going into these negotiations. But I have said

:18:53.:18:57.

we have to respect the electorate, there will have to be certain

:18:58.:19:05.

conditions on the movement of people in an out of the United Kingdom, but

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we must make sure that does not harm the UK economy. What does Theresa

:19:09.:19:13.

May want? She wants a deal but respect the views. They want the UK

:19:14.:19:23.

to renegotiate their place in the world. Our place in the world is the

:19:24.:19:26.

a competitive dynamic economy trading globally. She keeps telling

:19:27.:19:33.

us she wants to give us a running commentary. Did she give you one? I

:19:34.:19:37.

have an excellent relationship with her and her team as I do with the

:19:38.:19:41.

Secretary of State and that is heartening but it is right the Prime

:19:42.:19:44.

Minister does not give a running commentary. I am just wondering how

:19:45.:19:49.

involved you are personally at the top table of these Brexit talks. I

:19:50.:19:56.

am involved working with the Secretary of State in the Prime

:19:57.:19:59.

Minister's team but I know she is reaching out to be devolved

:20:00.:20:02.

administrations as well. But these negotiations would be over a period

:20:03.:20:09.

of time and the UK Government is taking the right approach by mapping

:20:10.:20:12.

at how they would go about those negotiations. Like the First

:20:13.:20:16.

Minister did in the early days after the referendum. We will have to wait

:20:17.:20:21.

and see on the single market. In terms of the money, we remember that

:20:22.:20:33.

big bus. Do you expect or that the comeback? We spend ?18 billion by

:20:34.:20:35.

being members of the European Union. That money is available to a UK

:20:36.:20:40.

Government to spend as it sees fit. There is talk now of perhaps the UK

:20:41.:20:47.

paying something in, not to the EU perhaps but to a fund, just to keep

:20:48.:20:56.

access to the single market. You would rule that out? That money is

:20:57.:20:58.

British money. It is up to the British government how it wants to

:20:59.:21:04.

spend it. If it believes it spends money to be a member of the club,

:21:05.:21:11.

that might be a consideration. We live in a democracy. The government

:21:12.:21:18.

is elected by the people and if it decides it wants to spend the money

:21:19.:21:21.

that way, it can. If it was the spend all that money on the NHS, it

:21:22.:21:26.

can. If it wants to parcel that money up, it can do that. That is

:21:27.:21:29.

what democracy is about. You really want to do this. Are you living the

:21:30.:21:33.

dream? It is not about living the dream but what is in the best

:21:34.:21:46.

interest of the people of Wales in the UK. Unequivocally, the best

:21:47.:21:48.

interests of this country is served by being a strong independent

:21:49.:21:50.

country standing on its own two feet. Rather than part of a club

:21:51.:21:53.

that is in decline in economic, socially and culturally.

:21:54.:21:54.

Should prostitution be decriminalised?

:21:55.:21:55.

Well, members of the Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster

:21:56.:21:58.

think the laws in England and Wales need radical change.

:21:59.:22:02.

They believe that soliciting sex should no longer be

:22:03.:22:05.

They've looked at laws in various parts of Europe.

:22:06.:22:10.

Northern Ireland and France, for example, have adopted

:22:11.:22:12.

the so-called Nordic model where the person paying for sex

:22:13.:22:15.

This is the story of one women, told by an actor to protect her identity.

:22:16.:22:40.

It is very scary becoming a street worker. You do not know who you will

:22:41.:22:48.

meet from day-to-day. Some nights, I finish as late as 5am. My friend got

:22:49.:22:56.

me into it. She worked at a parlour. I was there with her when she said,

:22:57.:22:59.

do you want to come to work? And I ended up with the job. She did not

:23:00.:23:04.

want me sitting around the flat! The parlour was more working men, office

:23:05.:23:15.

men. But I lost my job because I had an argument with one of the girls.

:23:16.:23:18.

She thought she could run me down site for her in her place. I met up

:23:19.:23:39.

with Daniel. He introduced me to life on the beat. He was a big drug

:23:40.:23:42.

user. I have to help him with his habit. If I do not get money quick

:23:43.:23:45.

enough, he would not be happy, he would become ill because he needs

:23:46.:23:51.

his fix. One day, I said, I do not want to go out any more, so he

:23:52.:23:55.

kicked me in the face and said, you know I need to get money. It cost

:23:56.:23:58.

?420 a week, ?60 a night, his heroin addiction. That is a deposit on a

:23:59.:24:07.

flat. I was almost raped the other night. Upon the wanted business. The

:24:08.:24:14.

only paid for half and I decided, that's enough. He was insistent. I

:24:15.:24:23.

was not going home. He tried to take sex of me. Luckily enough, I got

:24:24.:24:29.

away from him. There was another guy. I was thrown out of a moving

:24:30.:24:34.

car on a cold winter's night, freezing cold, left in the woods. If

:24:35.:24:40.

it was not deliver a lady, I do know how I would've got home. People

:24:41.:24:51.

throw things out of cars, shouting, how much? Then they just drive off.

:24:52.:25:02.

I hope one day those girls are never in the situation. You do not know

:25:03.:25:05.

the situation behind things, so keep your mouth shut. People judge us.

:25:06.:25:07.

They think because we are street workers, we have this or that. But

:25:08.:25:13.

we are not all the same. We are all different. We have all got different

:25:14.:25:15.

story to tell. I'm joined now by Bernie Bowen

:25:16.:25:23.

Thomson from the organisation Safer Wales, which helps women

:25:24.:25:25.

working on the streets, and Carrie Mitchell, who represents

:25:26.:25:29.

the English Collective of Prostitutes, which

:25:30.:25:31.

also covers Wales. Bernie, as we saw from that film,

:25:32.:25:46.

there is no such thing as a typical sex worker, and you come across an

:25:47.:25:52.

awful lot in Wales, we are talking 2500 working in that industry in

:25:53.:25:58.

Wales. The most recent research shows that. I can speak about the

:25:59.:26:07.

women we work with through our street live service. We work with

:26:08.:26:12.

hundreds of women, the majority of whom are working on the streets. How

:26:13.:26:22.

did they fall into prostitution? Is there some common factor? It does

:26:23.:26:30.

vary. Some research we undertook a few years back now showed that some

:26:31.:26:38.

of the women who we worked with had been sexually exploited his

:26:39.:26:47.

children. The had faced significant levels of trauma and exploitation

:26:48.:26:50.

and that carried on into adult hood. Carry, there is a report which says

:26:51.:26:57.

it should be decriminalised. Is that the answer here? It is one of the

:26:58.:27:04.

answers. The Home Affairs Select Committee, a very prestigious

:27:05.:27:09.

Parliamentary committee, has come out with a very important report,

:27:10.:27:16.

part of which recommends that soliciting no longer be an offence.

:27:17.:27:25.

Most women who work on the streets have a record and that makes it

:27:26.:27:28.

almost impossible to get another job because once you present to an

:27:29.:27:37.

employer and they find you have a record under sexual offences, it is

:27:38.:27:39.

almost impossible then to leave, so you are stuck on the street. Bernie,

:27:40.:27:46.

how would criminalising the customer and decriminalising the person

:27:47.:27:51.

selling the sex worker, how would that make their life safer? We do

:27:52.:28:01.

not want to see women who are sex working, we did not want to see them

:28:02.:28:06.

criminalised. What is important is we look across how we can support

:28:07.:28:13.

women across a whole number of areas, mental health, substance

:28:14.:28:15.

issues housing. The women we work with and

:28:16.:28:28.

support have significant problems, huge difficulties and complex needs.

:28:29.:28:31.

It is not as simple as looking at it through a lens through criminal

:28:32.:28:33.

justice. We need to improve the lives of these women and help them

:28:34.:28:37.

make real choices and address some of the traumas they have

:28:38.:28:43.

experienced. It is the oldest profession you could argue, it will

:28:44.:28:51.

always be around. Is the idea of criminalising going to drive it

:28:52.:28:55.

further underground? Criminalising clients come in Sweden where they

:28:56.:29:04.

have done that, particularly on the street, it has made it more

:29:05.:29:06.

dangerous because clients are nervous, women have no time to check

:29:07.:29:16.

out clients, attacks have gone up, women are saying it is more

:29:17.:29:19.

difficult and dangerous now. On the question of decriminalisation, they

:29:20.:29:21.

have done that in New Zealand. It has made it safer. There has been

:29:22.:29:25.

increased in prostitution, women are able to come forward now and report

:29:26.:29:30.

attacks to the police, said that has made big difference.

:29:31.:29:32.

If you'd like to get in touch with us, you can email us

:29:33.:29:37.

at [email protected] or follow us on social

:29:38.:29:40.

media - #TheWalesReport. We'll be back next week.

:29:41.:29:45.

I'll never ever forget. It's as vivid as if it was yesterday.

:29:46.:30:15.

Bethan Rhys Roberts asks the questions that matter to you about your job, your health, your future. Calling to account the decision-makers here in Wales and beyond our borders too, each week the team bring you in-depth reports on pressing issues that matter to the lives of everyone living in Wales.

What are the key challenges facing Welsh schools and universities? Bethan speaks to education secretary Kirsty Williams.


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