Fourteen schools in Wales will trial providing additional hours this academic year, with up to £2m of funding available to support the scheme, Education and Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles has announced.
The primary and secondary schools trialling the additional time will be funded to provide an extra five hours of activities each week for groups of learners, with sessions such as art, music and sport, as well as core academic sessions.
The school day trials will be focused on supporting disadvantaged pupils and schools particularly affected during the pandemic. The plans draw on international models and proposals made by the Education Policy Institute. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, as part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
Headteachers will decide on how and what is delivered in each school during the trial period, which is due to start in the spring term and run for up to 10 weeks. Local needs will be taken into consideration and the funding provided for the trial will give schools the discretion to outsource the running of the additional sessions if needed, or to adapt existing activities such as after school clubs.
The Minister also confirmed that over the coming months discussions will take place with young people and their families, education staff, and businesses to seek their views on potentially reforming school term dates.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said:
“We are committed to reducing educational inequalities and improving learner and staff well-being.
“We know that supporting learners to benefit from an extended range of activities, including arts and sports as well as social activities and academic programmes, can be good for attainment, well-being and wider relationships.
“We are funding trial schools so that they can provide exciting activities around the school day, which can develop personal skills and resilience which will also impact on academic attainment. We will be working closely with schools and local authorities to evaluate the impact on learners and on staff.
“Over the coming months I’ll also be talking to young people, education staff, families and people working beyond the sector such as tourism and public services, to seek their views on reforming the school year.
“Reforming the school year could help to narrow the disruption caused by the long summer holiday on learners, narrow educational inequalities and to support learner and staff well-being.”
In a written statement Jeremy said:
“As a Government, we are committed to exploring reform to the school day and school year dates so that we support learner and staff wellbeing, tackle educational inequalities and bring them more in line with patterns of family life and employment.
“As part of this, up to 14 schools will take part in a national trial, providing additional hours for learners during a 10-week programme this academic year. These schools have volunteered to take part, supporting disadvantaged learners, improving access to social and cultural capital and helping to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on learning. I am making available up to £2m of funding to support this trial. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, as part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
“The primary and secondary schools trialling the additional time will provide an extra five hours of bespoke activities each week for groups of learners, with sessions such as art, music and sport, as well as core academic sessions.
“This approach draws on international models and proposals made by the Education Policy Institute. We know that supporting learners to benefit from an extended range of activities, including arts and sports as well as social activities and academic programmes, can be good for attainment, well-being and wider relationships.
“Each school in the trail will decide how and what is delivered during the trial period, which is due to start in the spring term. Local needs must be taken into consideration and the funding provided will give schools the flexibility to work with external partners to run the additional sessions or to adapt existing activities such as after school clubs. I am keen to see a wide range of different models we can learn from.
“This funding is complementary to the £7.4m Winter of Wellbeing package for all schools and colleges to provide more sessions around the school and college day to promote physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through increased access to creative, sporting, play and cultural activities in Welsh and English. Part of the Renew and Reform plan, this is intended to create a better environment for learning and progression and seek to re-build confidence in all learners, particularly those most disadvantaged by the impacts of the pandemic. This wider package will also give us valuable evidence and information for future policy development.
“I will also be taking forward work on the rhythm of the school year. We haven’t had a serious conversation about the way we structure the school year in Wales for decades. That is clearly too long and we need to consider whether the current structure still fits with modern living, best supports the progression of our learners and underpins learner and staff well-being.
“In the coming weeks and months, the Government will be leading discussions with young people and their families, the education workforce, businesses and communities to seek their views on reforming the school year.”
Schools across a range of local authorities have volunteered to participate in the trials, including:
- Blaenau Gwent
- Vale of Glamorgan
- Rhondda Cynon Taf
- Neath Port Talbot
£2m i dreialu diwygio’r diwrnod ysgol yng Nghymru
Mae Jeremy Miles, y Gweinidog Addysg wedi cyhoeddi y bydd ysgolion yn cymryd rhan mewn cynllun i dreialu sesiynau ychwanegol i’w cynnal yn ystod y diwrnod ysgol yn ddiweddarach eleni. A bydd hyd at £2m o gyllid ar gael i gefnogi’r cynllun hwnnw.
Bydd yr ysgolion dan sylw yn cael eu hariannu i ddarparu pum awr ychwanegol o weithgareddau bob wythnos ar gyfer grwpiau o ddysgwyr – gyda sesiynau fel celf, cerddoriaeth a chwaraeon, yn ogystal â sesiynau academaidd craidd
Bydd y cynllun treialu yn adlewyrchu maniffesto Llywodraeth Cymru ac ymrwymiad y rhaglen lywodraethu i ystyried diwygio’r diwrnod a’r flwyddyn ysgol. Bydd y cynllun yn canolbwyntio ar gefnogi’r disgyblion a’r ysgolion dan anfantaisa hynny sydd wedi’u heffeithio’n arbennig yn ystod y pandemig. Mae’r cynlluniau’n defnyddio modelau a chynigion rhyngwladol a wnaed gan y Sefydliad Polisi Addysg
Bydd penaethiaid yn penderfynu ar sut a beth sy’n cael ei gyflwyno ym mhob ysgol yn ystod y cyfnod treialu, sydd i fod i ddechrau yn nhymor y gwanwyn, ac yn para am hyd at 10 wythnos. Bydd anghenion lleol yn cael eu hystyried. A bydd gofynion y cymorth ariannol a ddarperir ar gyfer y cynllun treialu’n caniatáu i ysgolion drefnu bod y sesiynau ychwanegol yn cael eu cynnal drwy gontract allanol os bydd angen, neu gallant addasu gweithgareddau sy’n bodoli eisoes, megis clybiau ar ôl ysgol.
Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn gweithio gydag awdurdodau lleol ledled y wlad i benderfynu ar yr ysgolion cynradd ac uwchradd a fydd yn cymryd rhan.
Dywedodd Jeremy Miles, Gweinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg:
“Rwy’n benderfynol ein bod ni’n edrych ar strwythur y diwrnod a’r flwyddyn ysgol er mwyn sicrhau eu bod er budd gorau llesiant y dysgwyr a’r staff, yn lleihau anghydraddoldebau addysgol, ac yn sicrhau’r canlyniadau gorau i bob dysgwr.
“Rydyn ni’n gwybod y gall cefnogi dysgwyr i elwa ar ystod estynedig o weithgareddau, gan gynnwys y celfyddydau a chwaraeon yn ogystal â gweithgareddau cymdeithasol a rhaglenni academaidd, fod yn dda ar gyfer cyrhaeddiad, lles a chydberthynas ehangach dysgwyr.
“Rwy’n ariannu’r ysgolion a fydd yn cymryd rhan yn y cynllun treialu er mwyn iddyn nhw ddarparu gweithgareddau cyffrous ar gyfer y diwrnod ysgol. Rydyn ni am i’r gweithgareddau hynny eu helpu i ddatblygu sgiliau personol a meithrin gwydnwch, a fydd hefyd yn effeithio ar gyrhaeddiad academaidd.
“Cyfnod treialu fydd hwn, felly byddwn ni’n gweithio’n agos gydag ysgolion ac awdurdodau lleol i werthuso’r effaith ar ddysgwyr a materion eraill sy’n gysylltiedig â diwygio’r diwrnod ysgol. Rwy’n falch ein bod ni’n gweithio gydag awdurdodau lleol i benderfynu ar yr ysgolion a fydd yn cymryd rhan. Byddwn ni’n cyhoeddi rhagor o fanylion maes o law.”