By Harry Phibbs
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Leighton Andrews, the Education Minister in Labour's Welsh Government, has resigned. It followed an astonishing piece of opportunism. As Minister he was urging councils to get tough on unpopular schools with large numbers of failing places. Yet he opposed closing Pentre Primary School in the Rhondda constituency which he represents on the Welsh Assembly. That school has just 73 pupils for 202 places. That means it is 64% empty.
The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies AM, said:
“After the failure of Carwyn Jones to endorse his Education Minister’s position during my questions to him today, it was inevitable that he had to go.
“The actions of the Education Minister – both over the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and now school closures – called into question not only the Education Minister’s judgement, but that of the First Minister himself.
“The former Education Minister clearly felt that the policies being pursued by the Welsh Government were working to the detriment of his constituents. While he chose to say this in his constituency – he clearly felt unable to say it in Cabinet.
“His resignation will now enable him to articulate these concerns from the backbenches. However – they don’t change the damaging policies of Carwyn Jones’ government, in particular in health and education.
“We had a One Wales government in the Third Assembly. Here we have a Two Wales government. One run by the First Minister – and the other undermined by the now former Education Minister – whose position became untenable.”
I do think that the Welsh Conservatives should have a clear message that failing unpopular schools should close or being taken over. This school's rating was "adequate" – we all know that means inadequate. In England something is being done about this sort of thing. Why not in Wales?