10 November 2020

Exam cancellation welcomed - but urgent need for clarity

UCAC education union has welcomed today’s announcement by the Education Minister to cancel external examinations for GCSEs, AS and A levels in the summer of 2021, and to replace them with alternative assessment arrangements.

Rebecca Williams, Deputy Secretary General and Policy Officer for UCAC said “This announcement will be a great relief for schools across Wales. Conducting external examinations in a way that is fair to pupils in the current circumstances is inconceivable and there is no guarantee that conditions will be more conducive in the summer.

“This decision means that alternative arrangements will be put in place and there will be no need to make last-minute changes, which is extremely welcome.

“We agree with the Minister that this is the best option in terms of ensuring fairness and wellbeing across the system in a year when disruption to pupil education is inevitable, despite everyone's best efforts. In addition, it significantly extends the teaching and learning period, which will help to provide full coverage of specifications despite any disruption.

14 October 2020

Act on funding report recommendations, union urges

UCAC education union is calling on the Welsh Government and local authorities to respond as a matter of urgency to the recommendations of a report by economist Luke Sibieta, 'Review of School Spending in Wales', published today (15 October).

Dilwyn Roberts-Young, General Secretary of UCAC said “In his in-depth report, Luke Sibieta addresses many of the concerns that UCAC has raised regarding school funding levels and methods.

“The system is currently characterized by severe inconsistency, lack of transparency, and an absence of strategic planning. In addition, school budgets have been falling for many years.

“We welcome the fact that these systemic problems are highlighted in the report - as is the fact that funding levels do make a difference to outcomes, especially for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

6 October 2020

Serious concerns about school capacity - on International Teachers' Day

UCAC General Secretary, Dilwyn Roberts-Young has written to Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, today - International Teachers' Day - to express serious concerns about the situation facing teachers in Wales.

He said "It is absolutely clear to us that it is not practically possible for teachers to be teaching face-to-face at school, and preparing and delivering work to do at home, and online learning – whether streamed or recorded.

"There is far more capacity within the education system than school staff alone, and we are convinced that now is the time to look carefully at how best to utilise that capacity."

10 August 2020

A Million Welsh speakers

At a meeting organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner at the Alternative Amgen, Dilwyn Roberts-Young, UCAC's secretary general, responded to the Briefing Note on the Welsh language and the statutory education workforce in Wales.
The role of the teaching profession in fulfilling the Welsh Government vision of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is crucial.
We are, therefore, concerned with the decrease in the number of Welsh speaking teachers or teachers able to work through the medium of Welsh over the past five years.

15 July 2020

Covid-19 – Stakeholder Engagement 

Coronavirus has had a significant impact on all countries around the world and Wales. As well as the health risks; jobs are at risk; public finances are at risk; our vulnerable communities are at risk.

Providing for the recovery from the public health emergency represents the biggest challenge we have faced as a Devolved Government. This vital work will impact all areas of Welsh peoples’ lives and will be profoundly important for public services, for the economy and society.

There can be no doubt that we face huge, unprecedented, challenges. As we plot a course to recovery and reconstruction, our approach will be based on the same values – a commitment to social, economic and environmental justice – and will embed our obligations to those who follow us alongside those that are living through Covid19, under the Well-Being of Future Generations Act.

Our values remain the same, but we will need to be fearless and radical in applying to our established policies the lens of the new post-Covid realities. Many of the things that have worked in the past will no longer be fit for purpose. We will need to show flexibility and imagination in appraising our current approaches and in developing new ones. That is why as well as drawing on thinking from within the Government, we are also determined to look outside for challenge to our established ways of thinking and for fresh inspiration.

We are issuing an invitation to people in Wales to send us their thoughts on how we should support future post-Covid recovery and reconstruction in Wales. We have a dedicated email address – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – and would like to hear your thoughts on how we can shape our future Wales. We would like to hear from the people in Wales about what really matters, about where we should focus our efforts on recovery. We are asking people to aim to do that by the end of July. That will be far from the end of this crucial national conversation, but we want to help focus people’s efforts in contributing to our understanding and thinking in these early stages.

Thank you.