|A former Welsh Government Minister returns?|
It can be said to have started with an Estynreport on surplus school places, initiated no doubt by the then Minister for Education, Leighton Andrews (LA), and ended with a resignation. The report was welcomed by the Welsh Government and no doubt Mr Andrews as Minister of Education. There is a problem with the number of empty school places which Schools Inspectorate for Wales has said needs to be cut to save money and improve standards. Understandably Estyn reports that local councils are reluctant to take difficult decisions and need to do more to re-organise or close schools with surplus places. Estyn noted that there were nearly 100,000 surplus places in Wales last year. No one understandably wants to close local schools and school governors and teachers leaders have said that the issue is more complex and needs more consideration. That was back in May, when the Welsh government welcomed the report and said decisive action was needed. What followed owed more to farce that politics, as the Education Minister was photographed holding a banner in support of Pentre Primary School in his Rhondda constituency. Quite how well that went down with Carwyn Jones (CW), the First Minister, is open to interpretation. One interpretation was that the Education Minister was hardly defending his own government’s policies. That was last week, well a week can be said to be a long time in politics, and Mr Andrews had form for opposing Labour Welsh Government policies having been photographed opposing the hospital reoganisation plans of his own government. Cleary CW operates some sort of ‘two strikes and you are out’ policy, so the Education Minister duly resigned this afternoon. Have we seen the last of Leighton Andrews, probably not, the pool of talent (and I use the term loosely) in Welsh labour leaves a great deal to be desired, so no doubt just like former public enemy number one Dr Fu Manchu, we shall hear from him again.