Devolution gave Wales an opportunity. It opened new doors and gave Welsh ministers freedom to break from the unilateral education system that had existed previously. Policy makers would consider developments in a number of countries and Scotland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Finland were all looked upon as possible trend setters.
But with opportunity came risk. Many of the educational initiatives introduced in Wales were untried and untested in a UK context and while variations had been proven to work overseas, ministers had no way of telling whether policy would travel effectively. Wales was taking a giant step into the educational unknown but the emerging Welsh Assembly Government could be sure the decisions taken following devolution would resonate for years to come. A Class Apart tackles the key educational issues of post-devolution Wales:
· Jane Davidson's break from tradition
· Welsh education’s place on the world stage
· The growing funding gap between Wales and England
· The role of schools inspectorate Estyn
· The truth behind Wales' ambitious PISA target
· The 2012 GCSE grading fiasco
· Secret meetings, personality clashes and a history of merger in higher education
· The real Leighton Andrews and his shock departure from government
A Class Apart considers the effectiveness of policies introduced by the devolved administration and seek to determine whether they were right for Wales. It reviews the situation in which we find ourselves and plot a course for what has the potential to be a small, clever nation.
Gareth Evans has been the Education Correspondent of the national newspaper of Wales, The Western Mail, since December 2009. He was educated at Cardiff University and lives in the Vale of Glamorgan.