12/10/2016 The Wales Report


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 12/10/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Testing times ahead for Welsh schools and


We speak to the Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams.


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


And the harsh reality of prostitution in towns and


would decriminalisation make sex work safer?


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


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


to the Wales Report. Does education in Wales


pass the test? How could our schools


and universities do better? You can join our discussion


tonight on social media Well, the woman in charge,


the Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, takes


on the role of Education Secretary at a time of very


big decisions ? higher education funding,


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


in the international So, it's a pretty full


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


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


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


Kirsty Williams faces vital decisions about the future of our


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


month, Professor Ian Diamond delivered his recommendations for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


headline indicator we are all committed to shows you are going


nowhere. Yet another set of disappointing PISA results will be


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


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


intense pressure on teachers and schools. Local education authorities


have been placed into special measures, and regional education


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


if Kirsty Williams wanted to leave office having achieved something,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


expert opinion from outsiders who will tell her things civil servants


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are embarking on a new national mission that recognises that working


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


education from the fifth floor office of the Welsh Government


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


those in local education authorities and regional consortia, who are


charged with school improvement, working with head teachers, teachers


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


that national mission of high standards, getting the basics right


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


looking at how we improve our initial teacher training so that


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


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


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


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


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


set of financial circumstances that the Welsh Government find themselves


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


mission. So, reforming teacher training, additional resources for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


important way in which we can benchmark ourselves against the rest


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


making further announcements this autumn term about that strategic


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


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


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


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


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


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


have accepted the principles behind the recommendations, especially the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


detailed consultation and a detailed response this autumn. I want


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


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


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


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


you. grapple with how the UK


will leave the European Union, what does it all mean


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


will Wales have in the The Prime Mininster Theresa May


says she'll listen to the devolved administrations


but is adamant that the UK Government will


do the negotiating. So, what does the leader


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


Andrew RT Davies, let's remind ourselves of what


the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, told this


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


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


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


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


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


economy. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones,


and his red line. The leader of the Welsh


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


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


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


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


possible. That is problematic because of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


parliaments and assemblies of the UK. This is an important


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


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


global market. We know the issues and we


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


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


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


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


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


many views within all political parties. Everyone is united about


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


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


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


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


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


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


immigration was a real issue the electorate want politicians to


respond to. The First Minister suggested freedom of movement of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a competitive dynamic economy trading globally. She keeps telling


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


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


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


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


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


am involved working with the Secretary of State in the Prime


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


interests of this country is served by being a strong independent


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


that is in decline in economic, socially and culturally.


Should prostitution be decriminalised?


Well, members of the Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster


think the laws in England and Wales need radical change.


They believe that soliciting sex should no longer be


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


Northern Ireland and France, for example, have adopted


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thomson from the organisation Safer Wales, which helps women


working on the streets, and Carrie Mitchell, who represents


the English Collective of Prostitutes, which


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


children. The had faced significant levels of trauma and exploitation


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


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


answers. The Home Affairs Select Committee, a very prestigious


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


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


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


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


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


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


how would criminalising the customer and decriminalising the person


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


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


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


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


issues housing. The women we work with and


support have significant problems, huge difficulties and complex needs.


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


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


make real choices and address some of the traumas they have


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


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


further underground? Criminalising clients come in Sweden where they


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


at [email protected] or follow us on social


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


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


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.

Download Subtitles