Thursday, 19 May 2016

Kirsty Williams and education

There were only two possible posts for the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader if she were to accept a position in Carwyn Jones's government. Kirsty has been hammering the need for improvement in both the Welsh NHS and education during the election campaign and in the years leading up to it in the Senedd. She has accepted the latter chair, subject to approval at a special meeting of the party. The terms on which she responded to the First Minister's approach are here.

There are two issues which are not listed in that agreement. Part of our manifesto was a commitment to a student living support grant, something which I believe Labour would have some sympathy with. It looks as if the First Minister does not agree with our costings.

The other matter is early years education, and the commendable introduction of Scandinavian-style methods. One trusts that Kirsty maintains a belief in evidence-based policy, because the evidence from Finland in particular is compelling. Again, where the application of those methods is failing in Wales is due to insufficient funding which needs to be rectified.

There will be resentment on the part of Labour AMs who have been passed over. I hope they will recognise the respect which Kirsty has built up across party boundaries over the lifetime of the Assembly and that it would be virtually criminal to waste her special qualities on the back benches.

In another part of the reshuffle, Vaughan Gething's promotion is also welcome.

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