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NAHT Cymru

NAHT Cymru is the definitive voice of school leaders in Wales. We keep the best interests of children at the heart of everything we do.

Along with our colleagues in England and Northern Ireland, we are here to defend and extend the rights of our members, as well as provide advice, protection and support specific to school leaders throughout Wales

NAHT Cymru yw llais diffyniadol arweinwyr ysgolion yng Nghymru. Mae buddiannau gorau plant yng nghraidd popeth a wnawn.

Ynghyd â'n cydweithwyr yn Lloegr a Gogledd Iwerddon, rydym yn bodoli i warchod ac ymestyn hawliau ein haelodau, yn ogystal â darparu cyngor, diogelwch a chymorth sy'n benodol i arweinwyr ysgolion ledled Cymru.

NAHT Cymru reacts to Beaufort Report on attitudes to school year reform in Wales

The Welsh Government has today published the ‘Beaufort Report’ – a research report investigating the Welsh public’s attitude towards proposals to reform the school year.

The Welsh Government commissioned report, carried out by the Beaufort Research company, sought opinions from a total of 13,016 people, including those from parents, carers, businesses, the general public, and from across the Welsh education workforce.

The majority of participants have been revealed to be ‘content’ with the shape of the current school year in Wales. Eight in ten parents and carers (76%) said they felt the current school year was ‘appropriate for people’s lives nowadays’. This finding was echoed by 7-18-year-olds currently in education – 78% agreed that the current structure of the school year was appropriate. The findings for those surveyed who work as part of the education workforce remained broadly uniform (78%) in supporting the current timetable.

Those in favour of the current school year highlighted a range of perceived benefits, citing it ‘was a familiar system that worked and to which the sector, learners, parents and businesses had adapted and harmonised’. The fact that it aligned with the English school year was also highlighted as beneficial.

The research also revealed the general popularity, amongst learners in particular, of the six-week summer break. Personal wellbeing, being able to spend time with friends and no schoolwork pressures being some of the responses in explanation of this opinion.

In response to the report, Laura Doel, director of school leaders’ union NAHT Cymru, said: “We challenge the transparency of this report, given that the questions were clearly bias towards pushing the government’s reform agenda. Apart from the initial questions, the status quo was not included in any of the questions giving alternate options. Those who identified current arrangements as their preference were presented with a series of alternative options with no choice of retaining the status quo. Even if you were to take this report at face value, it demonstrates that there is no great desire for structural reform of the school year, and it should not be deemed an evidence base on which to make major changes.

“The key question is how changing term times would improve outcomes for learners. This remains unanswered. NAHT Cymru firmly believes that the basis of any reform should ensure the best provision and outcomes for learners.

“In fact, the little evidence available on school holidays shows that countries with much longer summer breaks than Wales have higher levels of attainment and suffer no significant loss of learning. This international evidence is contrary to the reforms being put forward.

“The Welsh Government would be better served in focusing on providing support to teachers and learners and helping schools deliver current reforms before embarking on any further changes to education. We urge the Education Minister to put plans to move to public consultation on hold until there is a clear evidence base on which to do so.”

Kerina Hanson, president of NAHT Cymru, said: “With an already overwhelming reform agenda, now is not the time to be adding additional distraction and stress to the system. Schools must be allowed to focus on the important task of transforming and embedding their new curriculum and assessment. Let's do what we've already started well, ensuring any further reform is firmly founded on educational research evidence.”

A full copy of the ‘Attitudes towards school year reform in Wales’ report can be viewed here - Beaufort Research - Attitudes towards school year reform in Wales research and engagement findings - FINAL - June 2022.pdf

First published 30 June 2022

Please give us your views  on the current consultations

 

Welsh Government

Independent review of school teachers pay and conditions in Wales

OPENED 18 January 2018 - CLOSES 1 March 2018

NAHT Cymru draft response of independent review

Support for doctoral study
OPENED 8 December 2017 - CLOSES 2 March 2018

The Education (Amendments Relating to Teacher Assessment Information) (Wales) Regulations 2018
OPENED 14 November 2017 – CLOSES 30 January 2018

Recent consultations

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