It is of huge satisfaction for me to see the excellent grades A-Level students across Brecon and Radnorshire have achieved. These higher grades show the hard work, commitment and dedication of pupils and teachers across Brecon and Radnorshire. I would like to wish all students good luck in whatever they decide to do in the future and I encourage them to continue to contribute to their communities.
This year, Wales has managed to close the gap with the rest of the UK for A*-A grades, however, in grades A* to C grades it is still far behind the vast majority of regions in England. This is why I am urging the Welsh government to allow parents more choice by increasing the variety of education available to students. In England, the initiative has been taken to introduce more free schools and the Prime Minister has pledged to fund more grammar schools for England.
However, these benefits are not available to Welsh students and creates an educational chasm between pupils in Wales and pupils in England. Free schools are a shining example of the new meritocratic Britain the Prime Minister and I believe in. New selective free schools allow all pupils, regardless of their background, to achieve their full potential.
In the future, students in Wales will have to compete against pupils in England for university places, jobs and apprenticeships. The current Welsh government is denying our students the opportunity to be on a level footing with pupils in England. The outdated system based on house prices or parental income is no longer viable and disadvantages the students of Welsh communities. Only by giving parents and students more choice can we truly unleash the potential of our Welsh students.
We live in a free society and should therefore be giving parents the opportunity to look at a wide range of schools and choose which style of education will suit their child. I look forward to the day the Welsh Government stop their ‘once size fits all’ approach to secondary education and start to learn from the other education systems where standards and grades are higher than that of our own.