The long-running debate about the information gap between the Welsh voting public and the processes of devolution tends to revolve around structural, cultural and economic deficiencies in the media. However, there is little empirical evidence for assertions about the effects of these alleged deficiencies on public opinion, which typically argue that an inadequate news media fails to properly inform Welsh residents about the evolution of, and rationale for, devolved policy. The earlier work of Thomas, Jewell and Cushion (2003) examined the public consumption of news about Welsh Assembly elections, finding that ‘very substantial’ proportions of the population consumed little or no news relating to devolved politics. But fewer attempts have been made to examine the ways in which audiences understand specific areas of devolved policy via the media. This article focuses on a key area of devolved decision-making, education, and attempts to quantify that alleged ‘disconnect’ through the use of focus groups in which the parents of children progressing through the foundation stage of a Welsh primary school (a key post-devolution policy difference) are questioned about their understanding of the main issues.
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