HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 cc13-4
14. Mr. Alan W. Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he intends to introduce to improve education standards in primary and secondary schools in Wales. [14171]

Mr. Hague

The "bright future" initiative sets out our full programme of action to raise education standards for all pupils at school. It looks to all schools to set targets for improvement year on year. I have also published my requirements for Her Majesty's chief inspector of schools for Wales in 1996–97. They will ensure that the inspectorate continues to give close attention to the quality of teaching and standards in schools.

Mr. Williams

The Secretary of State may know that education standards in schools in my constituency are very good. They are above the Welsh average and that for England and Scotland. How will they be helped by the acute stringency in local education authorities? I have a letter from the head teacher of a comprehensive school that is about to lose between 2.4 and 4.0 teachers in the current financial year. Carmarthenshire county council will lose 57 secondary school teachers, thanks to this year's revenue support grant settlement. How will that affect education standards in my constituency and for the people of Wales?

Mr. Hague

As I have explained in answer to previous questions, I am giving more money to local authorities in the coming year. It is up to them to make sure that a proportion of that increase feeds through into education. He will also know that education standards are not just about funding. A few weeks ago, I visited a school at Merthyr which has achieved 100 per cent. improvement in examination results in one year. That is to do with the standards set by staff, discipline, clear objectives and dedicated staff—quite irrespective of funding. An enormous amount can be achieved in addition to providing proper funding for our schools.