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Mixed response to school year consultation

Plans to change the school year will not happen this Senedd term to allow schools to deliver other reforms and improve attainment.

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Plans to change the school year will not happen this Senedd term to allow schools to deliver other reforms and improve attainment.

Decision on timing to be deferred to next Senedd term. Confirmation that changes to the school year will not take place in 2025/2026

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The Cabinet Secretary for Education has today confirmed that plans to change the school holidays will not happen this Senedd term to give teachers and staff space and time to deliver other reforms.

The decision follows a mixed response from the biggest Welsh Government education consultation on record, generating well over 16,000 responses, which sought views on changing the school calendar to spread school holidays out more evenly across the year.

Proposals suggested moving a week from the start of the summer break into the autumn break creating a two-week half term to improve the education experiences of young people especially the most disadvantaged and align more effectively with how families live and work.

While a narrow majority of responses were in favour of changing school holidays, the findings from the consultation were equivocal and contradictory which highlights more discussion and exploration is needed to ensure any future amendments benefit everyone.

The pause will also allow other reforms such as the New Curriculum for Wales and reforms of Additional Learning Needs to be fully implemented and rolled out before other changes are introduced.

The decision on the timing of implementation of the plans will also be deferred to the next Senedd term.

The Education Secretary Lynne Neagle said:

“My starting point is always the best interests of children and young people. This means ensuring reforms are properly planned out and have the time and space to succeed.

"Opinion was hugely divided on this. To ensure we get this right, we need to continue listening to and engaging with schools, teachers, unions as well as children, young people and parents on how best we can implement any changes in the future.

“I am acutely aware we are asking a lot of teachers and schools. They are supporting our ambitious transformation of education in Wales and they need the time and the space to ensure these reforms deliver for children and young people. I want to prioritise ongoing school reforms and improving attainment and therefore, no changes will be made to the school year this Senedd term.

“In the meantime, our priority will be to maximise the support available to learners during the summer holidays including doing more to target that provision towards the poorest communities through a range of policies and activities including the School Holiday Enrichment Programme and Community Focused Schools."

Term dates for 2025/2026 will be published by local authorities shortly.

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