Welsh Government statement on school summer holiday shake-up looms

The Welsh Government is set to make an announcement over the cutting of summer school holidays
-Credit: (Image: PA)

The Welsh Government is set to make an announcement on controversial proposals to cut summer school holidays, next week on Tuesday June 4. A formal consultation on the plans was launched last year.

Reforming the school year was one of the commitments in the Welsh Government's manifesto, which argued the current calendar of three school terms was designed 150 years ago in a very different era when children were needed to help with agricultural work in the summer. However at the time North Wales Live reported many people opposed to the move, although there were some supporters for the idea.

Now savings expert Martin Lewis has waded into the debate. He asked his three million followers on X what they think about shorter summer holidays with parents and teachers having plenty to say about it

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It was clear feelings were running high on both sides of the debate, with 43,443 responded to his poll, reports WalesOnline.

Some say moving one or two weeks to other times of the year will save families money on childcare and holidays. There’s also the argument that having terms and holidays of roughly equal length would be more sensible and less tiring for everyone. All teaching unions, farming and tourist industries in Wales oppose cutting the holiday.

Martin Lewis put this question to his followers on X running a poll asking them: "Should the long summer holiday be substantially shortened and the missing time added to Easter, Christmas and half term breaks? Vote split by if you're a parent of an under 18 or not."

The money guru and wife Lara Lewington have a daughter Sapphire, who is nearly 12, so he knows about the challenge of juggling work and childcare. He was keen to find out what others thought.

So far the results of Martin's poll shows a close tie. For parents with children under 18, 24.7% want the school summer holidays shortened and other holidays longer while 22.7% want no change. For those who aren't parents of children under 18 26.7% agree the six-week summer break should be shortened and 25.9% say school holidays should stay as they are.

Answering the poll @CathyGoodwin159 said: "Make it four weeks. It's difficult to arrange childcare for six weeks. Four is more manageable." @brexcyclopaedia said: "No. Summer is better weather, and for home with split care like mine, would reduce ability for one parent to take holidays, much better would be to improve range of options for kids in summer: Clubs, sports, etc that is affordable for all."

Finance expert Martin Lewis
Finance expert Martin Lewis -Credit:ITV

Teacher @doctordinkey told Martin Lewis: "I'm a teacher. Kids are totally knackered by the time we get to July, and so are the teachers. Shortening the holidays would definitely not improve results. We already have shorter holidays than most other nations."

@TamsinWrites had this to say about cutting the six-week break: "If they do this I guarantee you will lose half of our teachers. It's literally the only perk of the job, and the only thing that keeps most of us in the profession"

But teaching assistant @just_j205 said: "As a TA in school I know how exhausted children are by the end of the summer term. However, if two weeks was taken off of the school holidays, shortening it to four weeks, then a week was added to October half term and a week to May half term….more options for families to go away."

@Paul_Briley said: "Better would be to legislate against the exorbitant increase in prices during holiday periods", while @chrisdavy1985 said: "I’m going with No - On the basis that sunshine is good for you and we typically get most sun in the UK in the summer. Being able to soak it up and play with your mates over the summer holidays is mega important."

The Welsh Government said it has had more than 16,000 responses to its latest consultation on cutting the school summer six-week break and moving one or two weeks to the autumn half term and Easter. Education Minister Lynne Neagle was due to make a statement on the plan in Plenary earlier this month, but that was delayed and she is now scheduled to make a statement on Tuesday June 4.

Ms Neagle said when she took up her post that changing the school calendar was "not a fait accompli". But it has been one of the major education reforms long on the Welsh Government's list.

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