Plaid leader warns of legal challenge to Welsh Government over exam results fiasco
Adam Price: 'The political system and the education system let you down'
Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price has issued a stark warning to the Welsh Government that they face a legal challenge over the recent exam results fiasco.
Speaking at a rally outside the Senedd building today (Sunday), Mr Price revealed the party is in talks regarding a Judicial Review: "We are currently exploring the possibility of issuing legal proceedings against Qualifications Wales and the Welsh Government in parallel with the legal action being brought by the Good Law Project in England.
"If you are prepared to go public and use you experience as a test case then please email me with your details. We can win and must win this fight."
He condemned the First Minister for failing to apologise: "The Welsh Government has yet to utter that apology so let me make it for them -with a simple apology to the young people of Wales for the system, the political system and the education system, that let you down. Putting things right when you get things wrong starts with honesty.
"If we were grading the Welsh Government for the way in which A and AS Level awards have been handled then I think by any assessment they have failed and they have failed utterly. And the consequences of that failure has been felt most keenly of all of course by those young people whose choice of university and whose very futures have been stolen from them through no fault of their own."
He added that the Welsh Government's performance over A Level results meant it had lost the confidence of students, parents and teachers and hinted a vote of no confidence in the Labour Government:
"If the Welsh Government continues to say it has no confidence in teachers, then teachers will have no confidence in it. And neither will we. If a motion of no confidence was good enough for the Labour Party in Scotland, then maybe it’s right for us in Wales too."
The rally organised by school students outside the Senedd was attended by more than 500 people. Mr Price told them: "The Welsh Government claims that closing the educational attainment gap is an essential goal of policy. And yet you were more likely to be downgraded on Thursday if you were on free school meals than if you were not. Was it ever right to base a current assessment on past performance which leaves no room a student making rapid progress?
"If the system was robust why did the Education Minister feel forced, the night before, to issue a so-called AS Level safety net which it itself introduces another tier of unfairness because it does not recognise the progress that students have made in Year 13.
Why the series of concessions on the appeals procedure if the Welsh Government were not expecting thousands of appeals because the system is simply indefensible?
"The irrational, unconscionable, unfathomable outcomes are too numerous, too similar, too serious to be outliers. When whole schools, whole departments are marked down, without any rationale, this clearly goes beyond individual anomalies.
"We will need a comprehensive inquiry into why this has happened. And it’s good to know that the Senedd Education Committee will begin that work on Tuesday."
Plaid Cymru has launched a petition in protest at the downgrading and Mr Price made a series of demands before this week's GCSE exam results are announced on Thursday:
"The Welsh Government needs to commit to reinstating the Centre Assessed Grades for all those students that have been downgraded. It also needs to commit to using Centre Assessed Grades as a basis for the GCSE announcements this week. If this does not happen then we must not let up on the pressure.
"Get everyone you can to sign the petition - ask your school to consider going public on how the unfairness has affected their pupils as many already have. We, for our part, will use every avenue available to us."
Mr Price concluded by directly addressing those affected by the downgrading fiasco: "A nation that fails its young people is failing its own future. Let’s win this for you and for the better country that we can be."