Owen Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, responding to Michael Gove’s comments at the Education Select Committee on GCSEs in Wales, said:
“How dare Michael Gove cast a shadow over the future of Welsh schoolchildren by suggesting that English employers might discount the value of their exam results due to the regrading exercise called for by the Welsh Government?
“Mr Gove is no stranger to shameless spin, but this time he really has gone too far in jeopardising the job or further education chances of young people in Wales by seeming to endorse a devaluation of their achievements.
“Whatever his opinion of the decision taken by Leighton Andrews to call for a re-grading of one exam set by one exam board, the English Secretary of State should have thought hard before casting such grave aspersions. However Michael Gove is never shy about politicising our education system – even to the point of interfering in the devolved Welsh education system it seems and, worse, questioning the job prospects of Welsh students.
“The reality is that Mr Gove, instead of seeking solutions and fairness for pupils in England, is instead playing politics to cover his inaction by instigating a political row between Labour and Tories, Wales and England.
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Education Minister will not be reduced to such levels and is instead getting on with trying in the long term to improve educational standards in Wales and, in the short term, to ensure fairness for pupils who have suffered as a result of the changes driven through by Mr Gove.
“Rather than lashing out at the Welsh government, Michael Gove should accept that this shambles has happened on his watch. Labour has asked him to implement a full inquiry and to unveil all correspondence between his department and Ofqual as we need to get to the bottom of this shambles as quickly as possible.”