Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
Today sees the publication of PISA 2022: National Report for Wales.
While it was expected that performance would decline following the pandemic, that does not make these results any less disappointing.
Before the pandemic, we saw a strong improvement in literacy and numeracy standards in Wales, thanks to the hard work of our teaching workforce. In 2018, Wales was the only country in the UK to improve in all three domains (Maths, Reading and Science). It is clear that the pandemic has derailed this improvement.
Evidence across the UK show the negative impact the pandemic has had on education. But areas with higher levels of deprivation have been impacted worst – we in Wales know this. It requires a national effort to turn things around.
Our Curriculum for Wales is committed to raising standards and aspirations for all. We’ve drawn on international evidence in particular from OECD to ensure our expectations align with what works. International evidence is clear that high quality learning needs to be supported by professional learning and school improvement over time to support schools in a challenging climate for all professionals. This is what we will prioritise.
This PISA cycle has not assessed learning under the Curriculum for Wales. However, the feedback in the OECD’s PISA report will help us to strengthen support for schools and learners on the reform journey.
Our large scale reforms for improvement have only just started to be rolled out. It is clear that they must complement a relentless focus on improving literacy and numeracy standards. I have outlined in recent weeks a number of actions, based on the outcomes of reviews and our national data, that we are taking to improve on in these areas. The data and feedback released today will help shape how we take that work forward and I will also bring education leaders from across Wales together in January to discuss how we can build on our reforms to stretch and support our aspirations for our learners.
I will be making a statement in the Senedd later this afternoon to set out in further detail the government’s response.
The OECD advises caution in comparisons between different countries, and particularly so in 2022 where a number of countries, including England and Scotland, are estimated by the OECD to have a possible upward response bias of 7-9 points in maths and reading.