EDUCATION minister Kirsty Williams faced questions on her proposal for children to return to school for four weeks this summer, which has not been implemented by any of the local authorities in Gwent.

Ms Williams had proposed children return to school for four weeks, with staff working a week into the summer holidays and claiming it back as part of a two-week October half term.

However, at the daily press briefing on Wednesday, the minister said she "had to accept" that this would not be implemented.


"We did propose that we should extend our summer term by an additional week," she said. "We did that because it would allow us to maximise the opportunity that children could spend in school with their teachers ahead of the summer break.

"But we were clear from the outset that as the Welsh Government isn't the employer, local authorities would need to operationalise that proposal.

"Many professionals - head teachers and support staff - worked hard to put those plans in plans, but for a variety of reasons, individual local authorities have not been able to proceed with that proposal.

"I think it's really important to acknowledge the hard work that has gone on to ensure, whether it is for three weeks or four weeks, Wales is doing something unique in providing all our children an opportunity to have some sessions in school ahead of summer."

"As the employers, they are in that position to make those decisions, and I have to accept the decisions they have made," she added.

Ms Williams said she wouldn't rule out a full return of children to school in September, but whatever decision was made would need to balance the children's health and education.

Ms Williams also faced questions following Prime Minister Boris Johnson relaxing social distancing measures in England from two metres to a "one metre plus" rule.

Ms Williams said the Welsh Government was yet to received that evidence from the UK government.

"We have not seen the scientific evidence that has led the administration in Westminster to make the announcement that they have," said Ms Williams. That scientific evidence has been promised to us by Michael Gove. Unfortunately the Welsh Government is still not yet in receipt of that evidence.

"When that evidence is given to us we will consider it very, very carefully.

"That's the way we do things in Wales, we see the science then we make an announcement. We don't make an announcement an then try and retrofit the science to justify what we have done."