Sneaking things in under the radar seems to have become the modus operandi at all levels of government. Not only is this undemocratic, but the failure to properly scrutinise legislation creates unintended consequences.

A month ago, Qualifications Wales, the Welsh Government’s regulatory body, announced changes to our GCSE curriculum. Concerning science teaching, it looks like a good deal of planning work had gone into this, including consultation with learned bodies. Check out this link with the Royal Society of Chemistry.

At the last minute, QW have modified well thought-out plans, with a real risk of “dumbing down” science teaching in Wales.

There is nothing wrong with a Combined Science curriculum counting for two GCSEs and differentiating performance in physics, chemistry and biology.

Likewise there’s nothing wrong with having a Core Qualification for those who struggle with science, but the problem seems to be the late stage introduction of a Single Science GCSE.

Right now in Wales, only 22 per cent from the most disadvantaged backgrounds study all three sciences, compared with 71 per cent from the most advantaged. That means that bright, young people from poor communities are having opportunity taken away from them at the age of 14, based solely on their socio-economic­ background.

That’s plain wrong, and from an all Wales point of view really stupid too. The curriculum changes were a great opportunity to change things for the better, and there is a real risk we are going to waste it.

In my own profession of medicine, I had many great colleagues who had been brought up in deprived areas. Chemistry A-level is a prerequisite to get into medical school, so a good GCSE which defines performance in that subject was essential. Combined Science will do that.

Single Science won’t.

Schools in deprived areas, where att­ainment has been historically low, may now be tempted, or forced, simply to offer Single Science. Opportunity goes, social mobility goes and Wales loses a supply of good future (Welsh speaking) doctors. It shouldn’t just be Welsh Conservatives who worry about the adverse consequences of this; those who aspire to Welsh Independence should be up in arms.

More broadly, we see the damaging impact of poor scientific education all around us.

For some reason our politicians at all levels seem to have a massive lack of scientific nous. This has real life consequences.

Matt Hancock recently told the Covid enquiry that in future we need to be prepared to “lock down” quicker, harder and longer. He is apparently well educated, but clearly not bright enough to have understood the Swedish experience (no lockdown and fewer deaths).

More importantly he hasn’t grasped that more young people have died from lockdown induced suicide than from Covid. (Editor's note: Subsequent scientific research indicates that is not the case. The Cambrian News is happy to set the record straight.)

We have legislated for Net Zero and the abolition of gas boilers and the internal combustion engine without any idea as to how we are going to reliably generate or transmit the electrical power that heat pumps and EVs will require.

Imagine running a hospital.

If the electricity doesn’t come down the grid, on go the diesel generators (not very green!) or off go the lights. Pray it’s not you undergoing emergency surgery when that happens!

Just this week at the Royal Welsh Show, there has been a massive spat between the Welsh Government and the farming unions over future agricultural policy.

Mark Drakeford and Lesley Griffiths seem to genuinely believe that planting trees in Wales will affect global climate change. It won’t. But taking 10 to 20 per cent of the average farm’s land out of production may well finish farm businesses that are already up against it. Meanwhile the opportunity for Wales to lead the world in sustainable agriculture is ignored. This is pathetic and tragic in equal measures.

The Welsh Government’s failure to understand science and the critical importance of scientific education is doing our future no favours at all.

Maybe it’s time for Mark and Lesley and those that keep them in power to sign up for the GCSE Science Double Award, and learn how the real world works!