CHANGES could be made to the way the school day is organised in Wales, with the Welsh Government trialling changes at 14 schools around the country - including some in Gwent.

The £2 million pilot scheme, which will be carried out in the spring term, will see five extra hours per week made available to the participating schools for 10 weeks. Aside from this, few details are available at the nature of the charges, except that they are intended to benefit disadvantaged pupils.

Blaeneu Gwent is one of the regions which is taking part in the trial scheme.

The extra hours will be filled with art, music, sport and core academic sessions - basically the usual school activities.

Headteachers will ultimately be given the final decision on what changes will be implemented in their school, with local needs taken into consideration.

They will be able to determine how extra sessions are spread out throughout the week and how they will be resourced.

The funding is intended to allow schools to outsource the running of additional sessions if needed, or to adapt existing activities such as after school clubs.

The schools involved in the trial are yet to be confirmed, though a Welsh Government spokesman said they will be named soon.

Minister for education and the 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."


The scheme is run jointly by the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru as part of the cooperation agreement and the plans draw on international models and proposals made by the Education Policy Institute and Education Endowment Foundation.

Schools in Blaenau Gwent, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Neath Port Talbot and Cardiff are taking part in the trial, although which specific schools are involved is yet to be confirmed.