Welsh schools could have summer holidays cut to four weeks


The Welsh government is considering introducing a shorter summer holiday so that pupils do not forget what they have learnt during the previous term.

The changes would mean that holidays are spread out more evenly, with a two-week break in the autumn half term.

The Labour Welsh government suggests that this would mean poorer pupils would not find it as difficult to get back to learning after a long summer break.

Under the proposals, a week would be taken off the start of the summer holiday and added to the October half term. Teachers and pupils would still have 13 weeks of holiday under the plans.

The changes would be made from September 2025 so that schools would have a two-week break in October 2025 and a five-week summer break in 2026.

The consultation is even considering moving a second week from the summer holiday so that the summer break would be just four weeks in the future.

‘Disadvantaged learners suffer the most’

Jeremy Miles, the minister for education and Welsh language, said: “The long summer break can be a real strain.

“Families struggle to find childcare over the six weeks, and others struggle with the additional costs long summers bring. We also know our most disadvantaged learners suffer the most ‘learning loss’ from a long summer.”

He added that there were many examples of local authorities across the UK that had changed their school calendar to suit local needs.

Sian Gwenllian, a member of the Welsh Senedd, said: “The current school calendar was designed a long time ago, under very different circumstances and we are suggesting changes that could work better for everyone, but most importantly for pupils of all ages.”

‘Concentration of holidays results in inflated childcare costs’

Jason Elsom, the chief executive of Parentkind, a charity supporting the voices of parents in education, said: “Our recent poll of 6,800 parents in Wales revealed that the majority of parents support a move to spread school holidays more evenly across the year, with 72 per cent of lower income families in favour.

“It is fair to say that the current concentration of school holidays in the summer months results in inflated childcare and family holiday costs, compounding the challenges faced during the cost of living crisis.

“Most importantly this impacts the life experiences and chances of the most vulnerable of children. We are pleased to see this consultation by the Welsh government.”

However, a union has argued that there is no evidence it would improve pupils’ education.

Laura Doel, from the National Association of Headteachers Cymru, said: “When school staff are being made redundant to balance the books, when schools should be prioritising delivering quality education to learners, and when we are deeply concerned about the recruitment and retention crisis, this should not be a priority for government.”