Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, comments on the Beaufort Research report into attitudes towards school year reform in Wales and the Minister for Education’s response.
“This research shows broad satisfaction with the current school year among parents, learners, the education workforce and business and no great appetite for reform. Responses to the three alternative models put forward suggest that perceived benefits are counterbalanced by perceived drawbacks. As the report notes, some respondents feel very strongly that reform cannot take place without compelling hard evidence on why it is needed and what difference it would make.
“Given these findings it is difficult to see why the Minister for Education wants to push ahead with developing options to bring forward to a public consultation when there are many more pressing issues that need attention such as insufficiency of funding to our schools, teacher shortages, education recovery following the pandemic, and the launch of a new curriculum.
“It is virtually impossible to arrive at a new model for the school year with which everybody will agree and which avoids disruption to the lives of families and the education workforce. There would need to be very clear educational benefits to justify such a huge upheaval and so much time and energy, and it is imperative that detailed evidence is provided along with any proposals.”