Plans to change school summer holidays in Wales delayed after 'mixed response'

The Welsh government has put plans to cut the summer holidays on hold.

Under the proposals, the summer holiday would be reduced by one week, with an extra week added for October half term.

But Wales's education secretary Lynne Neagle has announced no decision will be made before the next Senedd election in 2026.

That means that any future changes to the school year are unlikely to be introduced before 2028.

It is the second time in a month that Welsh government policy has been shelved, after plans for a new farm subsidy scheme were put on hold following protests among farmers.

Ms Neagle said the government's consultation on school year reform showed opinion was "hugely divided" on the issue.

Reform of the school year was one of dozens of policies which formed part of the Labour government's deal with Plaid Cymru, where the pro-Welsh independence party would back the government on several issues.

Ministers said they were looking at changes "to see how we can better support the teaching profession in planning and managing workload, while helping address the learning loss and effects on the wellbeing of learners and staff, that the profession tells us comes from a long summer and uneven terms."

But Labour withdrew from its agreement with Plaid last month after controversy surrounding a £200k donation to the leadership campaign of new first minister Vaughan Gething.

No changes for now

"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," Ms Neagle said.

"I want to prioritise ongoing school reforms and improving attainment and therefore, no changes will be made to the school year this Senedd term."

A Welsh government spokesperson said the work around the structure of the school year has cost around £350,000 in total.

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The Conservatives' shadow education minister Tom Giffard said education in Wales called on the proposals to be dropped entirely.

"Kicking this into the long grass is not good enough," he said. "Labour cannot ignore every teacher's union, let alone the tourism and business sectors, who are against the plans. The policy needs to be scrapped completely.

"We emphasised throughout the consultation period, it's important that the Welsh Government listened to the views of parents, teachers and learners," Plaid Cymru's education spokesperson Heledd Fychan added.