Colleges Welcome ‘Yes’ Vote
As a result of the ‘yes’ vote in the referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales on 3 March 2011, the Assembly will be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for, including education and training, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement.
Chief Executive of ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, John Graystone, said: “The outcome of the referendum should result in clearer lines of governmental responsibility and more of politicians’ and government officials’ time spent on making a difference to the people of Wales rather than bureaucratic paper shuffling between London and Cardiff.”
“The devolution settlement that established the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 and which was subsequently amended by the Government of Wales Act in 2006 was particularly complicated. It was an uphill struggle to explain the intricacies of the referendum question and its potential outcomes to the public. But the principle of democracy is very important and I am very pleased to note that a number of colleges across Wales took an active part in raising awareness among students about the referendum by hosting events open to both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigners to explain their views.”
It will still be the case that responsibility outside of the 20 subject areas devolved to the Assembly remains with the UK Parliament. The result of the referendum therefore does not simply mean that the National Assembly for Wales will govern everything that has an effect on learners’ education and training in Wales, given that the welfare system and fiscal policy for example remain the preserve of the UK Parliament.
Nevertheless, the ‘yes’ vote should clear some of the fog that surrounds the issue of legislative competence within the devolved areas and free-up the time of politicians and government officials to focus on delivering solutions to Wales’ urgent education and training issues.
John Graystone concluded: “ColegauCymru is looking forward to continuing to work with the National Assembly for Wales in improving opportunities for learners in Wales. In particular, we urge the Assembly to focus on:
- providing more post-16 learning opportunities
- raising basic skills
- promoting vocational routes positively
- establishing a continuum of learning with greater flexibility through to higher levels
- efficient and effective administration
- raising the status of the teaching profession in further education.”
Contact: Sylvia Davies on 029 2052 8384 or 07968 771913.
Notes to editors:
1. ColegauCymru / CollegesWales is a national educational charity that represents all 21 further education (FE) colleges and institutions in Wales. Its mission is to raise the profile of further education with key decision-makers to improve opportunities for learners in Wales. For further information about ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, and the colleges it represents, visit www.colegaucymru.ac.uk or www.collegeswales.ac.uk
2. Information on the referendum that took place on 3 March 2011 is available from http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/wales_referendum.aspx