Huw Lewis has been named as the new Education Minister in the Welsh Government and is taking over Leighton Andrew’s position. Leighton resigned from his position because of a row that had developed over his support for a school – Pentre Primary School – in his Rhondda constituency which faced closure.
The Wales Education Minister controls all education throughout Wales, so is responsible for each individual person’s education and future. The minister is in charge of primary school education, secondary school education and further education such as colleges and universities.
Anyone would agree this is a very important role – being responsible for everyone’s future.
So what does Huw Lewis plan to do?
He told the BBC his priority is: “…to build on the fantastic foundations that Leighton Andrews has laid in terms of, above all, standards within Welsh education.”
He also added: “I also bring a deep concern about the attainment gap between those at the bottom of the social economic ladderâ€¦and those that are better off.”
“I think that holds them (the people) back – it holds us back as a nation and it’ll be at the forefront of my mind.”
Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Mr Lewis describes education as one of his interests, along with the challenges facing the South Wales valleys. He previously served as Welsh Labour Party assistant general secretary before he was elected to the Assembly on its creation in 1999 as the member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
Angela Burns, the Conservative Education spokesperson says: “The new minister faces a full in-tray and I urge him to carefully consider a new direction on school banding, the possibility of retaining the three-country GCSE and the sustainability of higher education funding.”
David Evans, the NUT Wales Secretary, welcomed the appointment of Mr Lewis, saying that he looked forward to working closely with him. He also says: “There are a number of challenges facing the education sector over the coming weeks, months, and years and it is important that they are tackled with consensus and conviction.”
Also, another addition to the story is Jeff Cuthbert, who joins the cabinet to take over Mr Lewis’ previous duties as minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty. Mr Cuthbert’s history includes: he founded and chaired the Cross-Party Built Environment Group and co-founded and co-chaired the Cross-Party Beer and the Pub Group, amongst a host of other impressive duties. He was also a member of the Wales Branch Executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Jeff was born in Glasgow before moving to Cardiff where he attended Whitchurch County Secondary Modern School. He then went on to study Mining Engineering at University College, Cardiff.
Jeff was first elected to the Assembly in 2003.
What are your thoughts on Huw Lewis and Jeff Cuthbert’s new positions? Are they good or bad moves? Comment below.