Are shorter school holidays in Wales a positive or negative change?
The era of seemingly endless school summer holidays may be ending for Welsh children.
The Welsh government has proposed changes to the school holiday calendar, aiming for a more balanced distribution of holidays throughout the year.
The primary change includes shortening the summer holiday by one week and adding it to the autumn half-term.
“The long summer break can be a real strain. Families’ childcare over the six weeks and others struggle with the additional costs long summers bring,” said Jeremy Miles, the minister for education and Welsh language, “We know our most disadvantaged learners suffer the most learning loss from a long summer.”
Siân Gwenllian told the Guardian, “Many children and young people, especially those with additional learning needs and those from lower-income families, find the break very long, impacting negatively on their wellbeing and education.”
The headteachers’ union for Wales (the National Association of Head Teachers) opposes the plans.
Several teaching unions in Wales oppose the plans. The NASUWT’s Niels Butler told the Morning Star: “Teachers in Wales will be concerned that once again the Welsh government are attacking the summer holiday.
“They need the Welsh government to deal with the serious workload and learner behaviour issues in schools.”
And teachers in Cardiff agree. “Teachers need the summer break to rest and prepare for the next year,” said Jane, an experienced Cardiff teacher, told InterCardiff. “Shortening it can affect their well-being, so any changes to the academic calendar should consider their needs and workload,” said Jane.
“As a former teacher, I have some concerns about the proposed changes and how they would affect students’ learning, we must allow sufficient breaks for rest and recuperation, which are crucial for effective learning.
Welsh Conservatives, including Shadow Education Minister Laura Anne Jones, have raised concerns about potential negative impacts on tourism.”
The Welsh government is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to the traditional school calendar in Wales, which could be implemented in September 2025.