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Teachers have condemned the Welsh Government’s trial of a major restructuring of the academic year at the Annual Conference of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union today. 

The ‘Rhythm of the School Day’ pilot programme was launched as part of a co-operation agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, but without the consultation of teachers or school leaders. 

The changes threaten drastic changes to teachers’ conditions of service at an already precarious time for the profession, which is grappling with a recruitment and retention crisis.  

NASUWT members remain concerned that trials are going ahead without evidence that any change would improve the quality of educational provision for pupils.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Students and their teachers have just faced the greatest disruption to education since the Second World War. Now is not the time for politicians to sabotage Wales’ education recovery by experimenting with the school year or tampering with their conditions of service. 

“Discussions on changing the pattern of terms are not new. This periodic debate invariably rehashes tried, tested, and failed arguments. Students and their teachers do not deserve to be put through this disruptive cycle again.

“Instead of encumbering teachers with further workload pressures, the Welsh Government must play its part by alleviating the burdens which are driving the recruitment and retention crisis of the school workforce. 

“Any appetite for major education reforms would be better directed towards substantially boosting funding for schools and dismantling of the archaic Local Management of Schools. It’s time to finally abandon this flawed system which has created serious problems for schools and contributed to waste, mismanagement, and inferior industrial relations.”

Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official for Wales, said: 

“Rather than minimising the disruption to education, these proposals will only prolong instability at the detriment of children and young people in Wales.
 
“Trial and error changes to the school  day and conditions of service will not tackle the immediate challenges of unprecedented workload and crisis of recruitment and retention of teachers. 

“The Welsh Government have promised that there will be no detriment for teachers but they are promising something they cannot deliver. Local Management of Schools in Wales means that they have no control over what happens in a school if the school day is changed."

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