Longer school day tested in Wales

A trial to extend the school day in Wales has started, the Welsh government has said.

Education Minister Jeremy Miles said 13 primary and secondary schools and one college will take part in a pilot scheme, adding five extra hours a week for groups of pupils.

A total of 1,800 children will have a longer day for 10 weeks and participate in sessions such as art, music and sports, as well as academic lessons.

More than a dozen schools will take part in the pilot program to extend the school day (Jane Barlow/PA)

The trial focuses on supporting disadvantaged pupils and affected schools during the pandemic and is part of the Welsh Government’s cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru.

The results of the trial and next steps will be discussed with Plaid Cymru as part of the cooperation agreement, the Welsh government said.

Mr Miles said: “We know from research that young people can gain confidence and well-being through this approach, especially disadvantaged learners.

“Programs that provide enriching and challenging additional sessions and help learners re-engage in learning can have a greater impact on success than those that focus solely on teaching.

“The trial is a great opportunity to gather new evidence about how we use and structure time at school and how that might change in the future. We will learn how these additional sessions could improve well-being, academic progression, and increased social and cultural capital.

“As we move forward, we will continue to support schools with even stronger community engagement as we fulfill our mission to address the impact of poverty on educational achievement and achieve high standards for all.”

Laura Doel, director of education union NAHT Cymru, said no evidence had been provided to her to support the extension of the school day.

“There may be educational benefits to reforming the school year and we are open to discussions about what those benefits may be,” she said.

“All the focus of the Welsh Government has been on adapting the school day to family life and working habits, not to mention the benefits of education for learners.

“All available evidence suggests that there is little or no data to support keeping learners in school longer, as longer periods in school do not increase a child’s ability to learn. .

“If the Welsh Government’s plan is to support working families with a national childcare offer, then they should say so.

“Schools are not childcare providers and our profession of dedicated school leaders, teachers and support staff should not be expected to take on the extra work and responsibility to do so. .

“We urge the Welsh Government to be honest and clear with the profession about the motivation behind school day reform.

“If it’s childcare, they need to guide that conversation with those who work in that area and allow school leaders to focus on their core business of teaching and learning.”

About Coy Lewallen

Check Also

Hangar agreed for Portland Heliport

The agreement for the expansion of the Portland Heliport site has now been signed – …