Posted: Sun 26th Nov 2023

Young people in Wales reject changes to school timetables

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Nov 26th, 2023

Young people must be at the centre of decision-making on changes to the school day, according to a  Welsh Youth Parliament (WYP) report.

A proposal to extend school times by an hour a day was a bad idea according to 69% of school pupils who responded to a survey.

The Welsh Youth Parliament’s Education and the School Curriculum Committee engaged with over 1,500 young people following the Welsh Government’s trial “Additional Enrichment Sessions” in the 2021/22 academic year.

The trials included adding five hours to a school week for a period of ten weeks in primary and secondary schools and Further Education institutions.

Finn Sinclair, WYPM for Preseli Pembrokeshire and Education Committee member said the response showed why the Welsh Government must consult young people before altering school hours:

“Extending the school day would have a huge impact on the lives of young people. Our survey shows the majority think it’s a bad idea, and more than half think it would negatively affect them personally.

“Young people will be the ones who are most affected by these changes – that’s why it’s crucial that their views are considered before any decisions are made.”

The My School Day report will be presented to the Welsh Government ahead of a WYP meeting with the Minister for Education Jeremy Miles MS tomorrow (Saturday). He will hear from WYP members before presenting the Welsh Government’s response to the report. The meeting, chaired by the Llywydd, will take place in the Senedd Siambr from 2pm and be streamed live on and social media channels.

Young people were also asked how any additional time added to the school day should be used – and there was clear support for more extra-curricular activities, like sport, arts and crafts, and cookery.

But many respondents raised concerns that schools were not the right place for those activities – calling instead for youth groups to be better funded to provide those in-demand activities.

That’s a view echoed by the WYP Education committee – who make six recommendations in total, including that:

  • Young people should be at the heart of decisions on school hours and “Additional Enrichment Sessions”
  • Better delivery of physical activity, life skills and arts and crafts, should be provided delivered within existing school hours through the new Curriculum for Wales.
  • And youth groups and organisations should be better funded to deliver those activities across Wales.

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