|Caroline Jones AM|
|Dai Lloyd AM||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Dawn Bowden AM|
|Jayne Bryant AM|
|Julie Morgan AM|
|Lynne Neagle AM|
|Rhun ap Iorwerth AM|
|Tanwen Summers||Dirprwy Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Ymchwiliad i weithgarwch corfforol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Chymdeithas Genedlaethol yr Ysgolfeistri ac Undeb yr Athrawesau, a Chymdeithas Arweinwyr Ysgolion a Cholegau||2. Inquiry into physical activity of children and young people: Evidence session with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, and the Association of School and College Leaders|
|3. Papurau i’w nodi||3. Papers to note|
|4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod||4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Croeso i bawb i gyfarfod diweddaraf y Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon, yma yng Nghynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru. O dan eitem 1, a allaf i, yn arbennig, felly, estyn croeso i'm cyd-aelodau o'r pwyllgor, gan ddatgan ein bod ni wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau oddi wrth Angela Burns, a hefyd oddi wrth Jayne Bryant? Nid oes neb yn dirprwyo ar eu rhan.
A allaf i bellach egluro bod y cyfarfod yma, yn naturiol, yn ddwyieithog? Gellir defnyddio clustffonau i glywed cyfieithu ar y pryd o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg ar sianel 1, neu i glywed cyfraniadau yn yr iaith wreiddiol yn well ar sianel 2. Dylid dilyn cyfarwyddiadau'r tywyswyr os bydd yna larwm tân yn canu. Yn sylfaenol, mae'r cyfarpar meicroffonau yn gweithio'n awtomatig. Nid oes eisiau cyffwrdd ag unrhyw fotymau, ac ati—mae pethau yn digwydd yn awtomatig.
Good morning and welcome to everyone to the latest meeting of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, here at the National Assembly for Wales. Under item 1, may I welcome my fellow members of the committee, and say that we've received apologies from Angela Burns, and also Jane Bryant? There are no substitutions on their part.
May I also explain that this meeting is bilingual? Headsets are available to hear interpretation from Welsh to English on channel 1, or to hear contributions in the original language amplified on channel 2. You should follow the instructions of the ushers if there is a fire alarm. The microphones work automatically. So, you don't need to touch any buttons—they work automatically.
Felly, awn ni ymlaen i eitem 2, a pharhad efo'n hymchwiliad i weithgarwch corfforol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc, a sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Chymdeithas Genedlaethol yr Ysgolfeistri ac Undeb yr Athrawesau, NASUWT, a hefyd gyda Chymdeithas Arweinwyr Ysgolion a Cholegau, ASCL. Felly, i'r diben hwnnw, rydw i'n falch iawn i groesawu Rex Phillips, swyddog cenedlaethol Cymru NASUWT. Bore da ichi. Croeso. A hefyd Tim Pratt, cyfarwyddwr ASCL Cymru. Bore da i chithau hefyd, a chroeso.
Yn ôl ein harfer, mae gennym ni nifer o gwestiynau mewn sawl maes, a wedyn awn ni'n syth i fewn i'r cwestiynau. Mae Caroline Jones yn mynd i ddechrau. Diolch yn fawr.
So, we'll move on now to item 2 and our continuation into the inquiry into physical activity of children and young people, and this is the evidence session with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, NASUWT, and the Association of School and College Leaders, ASCL. I'm very happy to welcome Rex Phillips, who is the national official for Wales of the NASUWT. Welcome to you. And also Tim Pratt, director of ASCL Cymru. Welcome to you too.
As is customary, we have many questions in many areas, so we'll go straight into questions, beginning with Caroline. Thank you.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Bore da. Good morning to you. My first question—I've got two questions. The first one is: what are your views on the current provision of physical activity in schools? Are there any sorts of frustrations regarding the current system?
I think that physical education has been squeezed within schools. I think there is some evidence that PE departments have been one of the areas that are targeted when there are redundancies in our schools. I notice from the document by Sport Wales that it does suggest that there's been a bit of a tail-off in the primary sector, but, other than that, it does suggest that the provision has been fairly stable for a long time. There was a high, I think, in 2011, in both areas, but then it's a drop. Overall, that suggests it's been stable, but I think the point to make there is that that only goes up to 2015. I think that, over the last couple of years, it's been squeezed even more in our schools. That comes back, in some respects, to the funding of the schools. That, really, is a significant issue in that area. We've lost I think 1,377 full-time equivalent teaching posts since 2010. That doesn't help in a school situation. It shouldn't be like that.
The funding should be there to maintain all areas of the curriculum within our schools.
Yes. All the evidence that we are receiving has the same sort of view as you. Are there any more frustrations with the current situation that you can think of?
Well, what I was aware of—. In preparing for this, I talked to colleagues that are actually on the ground, who are still working in schools. One of the initiatives that they suggested, I think, was actually very, very helpful, was something called 5x60 coaches that were in schools, and that was to provide 60 minutes of activity five days a week. I don't know where the funding came from, but when that was first put in place, it seemed that sporting activity in schools took off. These weren't the traditional sporting activities that you'd associate with schools. These were sporting activities such as golf, kayaking and other areas that weren't the mainstream activities for children. Now, that activity has tapered off, presumably through a lack of funding. So, I think that there would be a frustration that those sorts of things should still be provided for children and young people.
Yes. So, my next question is: are there any other changes that you feel could be implemented to promote physical activity in schools?
I think one of the biggest issues that we face at the moment is to do with the accountability system that we have currently, which is pushing more and more schools into putting more and more time into important things that the students need for exams, but at the expense of other areas. So, what we're finding more and more is that, in order to provide extra time for numeracy or literacy, schools are saying, 'Well, something's got to go to give us that time, so we'll take a bit out of PE, we'll take a bit out of dance, we'll take a bit out of music' or whatever it is. And that is a major concern that, whereas 10 years ago, PE was one of those areas where there was a guaranteed amount of time and nobody would have thought of cutting that time, now we're getting to the stage where, instead of, say three hours a week of PE in class time, for some students it might be down to one hour. It might even be one hour every other week. For that sort of thing, that has a major impact in terms of the general well-being of students. Whilst we would never say, 'Exams aren't important', there has to be a balance and the balance is missing at the moment. We are so focused on getting students through GCSEs that, actually, there are really important things that are being reduced and reduced. And actually those are the things that provide the balance in the curriculum that allow students to be the whole person, and PE is definitely a very important part of that. If students aren't able to get out and exercise, that has a knock-on effect in the classroom when they're trying to do academic subjects and they find that they're not concentrating properly because there's so much pent-up energy that they haven't been able to get rid of.
To a large extent, you've covered the question I was going to ask about the curriculum pressures and how that's squeezed PE out of schools, and, Rex, you've touched on also the staffing pressures. So, I won't labour those particular points, but I would be interested to know what you think could be done to try to reverse that trend. Is there something we ought to be doing in terms of making sure that this becomes a compulsory element of the curriculum, for instance? We've heard some evidence that we should have a mandatory 120 minutes—I think that was one of the things you were talking about; it was one of the examples you gave, Rex—a mandatory 120 minutes of PE. Is that something you think we ought to seriously consider?
I think we would be in danger of falling into the trap that has happened in England, where more and more things have become a compulsory part of the curriculum, and what has then happened is that there is no time. Whereas we try to ensure that students have a broad and balanced curriculum and access to a large range of things, the more things you make compulsory, the less room for manoeuvre you have when you're trying to construct a timetable. Actually, I think we are on the edge of something that could be extremely positive, because the Cabinet Secretary for Education has just announced changes to the accountability system that are being proposed and obviously will be consulted on. If those go ahead and we start to pull back from the idea that you have to achieve a C grade, and that actually you measure a student's success by their progress across their time in school, then actually I think that will start to relieve some of the pressure that is on schools at the moment that is making them take these decisions that are sidelining these really important aspects of a child's learning. So, we could be very close to quite a radical change in the way that schools run, which would have a major impact on allowing this sort of thing to, if you like, have the amount of time given to it that it really ought to have.
—but it's that we take a slightly different approach to it to allow the space for some other things. I think somebody else is going to talk about extending the school day, so I'll leave it at that, thank you. Thank you very much. Sorry, Rex—
Can I just come back on the issue that I raised about these 5x60 officers, as I think they were referred to? That wasn't provision within the school day. That was additional provision outside the school day, and that's where it was a benefit, because the children were staying on then to engage in those activities with those officers. Within the school day, I think PE is still very much enshrined within the curriculum. I know that someone is probably going to ask about Tanni Grey and the idea of it being a core subject. I think it is an all-through subject within schools for children and young people. So, I think it's there, but extending that—if you wanted to extend it and make it statutory, you put something in and you've got to decide what's going to come out, because you can't have it both ways. Otherwise you just have a very, very long school day.
Mae'r cwestiynau nesaf o dan ofal Rhun ap Iorwerth.
Rhun ap Iorwerth has the next questions.
Bore da i chi. Mewn ffordd, mae yna lot o fynd dros yr un tir, a thrio procio ychydig bach mwy bob tro. Nid oes yna ddim digon o le i weithgarwch corfforol yn y cwricwlwm, ond beth yr ydym ni eisiau ei wybod ydy sut i gynyddu—nid oes dim ond hyn a hyn o oriau, hyd yn oed tasai'r diwrnod ysgol yn ehangu, ond sut mae cynyddu ei bwysigrwydd o? Un ffordd o wneud hynny, wrth gwrs, yw gwneud yn siŵr ei fod o'n cael ei asesu ac yn cael ei 'inspect-io' gan Estyn. A oes yna ddiffyg asesu i weld os ydy'r ysgol yn gwneud beth maen nhw i fod i'w wneud efo addysg gorfforol?
Good morning to you. In a way, we are covering the same ground and trying to poke a little bit more each time. There's not enough room for physical activity in the current curriculum, but what we want to do is find out how we increase—there are only so many hours, even if we were to extend the school day, but how do we increase its importance? One way of doing so is to make sure that it's assessed and that it's inspected by Estyn. Is there a lack of assessment to see if the school is doing what it's meant to do in terms of physical activity?
I wouldn't have thought so, because I know that when inspections take place, people in the PE departments are inspected, they're observed. So, I know that that observation goes on. I would have thought that, in the current arrangements for the inspection process, it would come under the well-being of pupils. So, I think that the inspectorate can look at that. Whether they want to look at that in more detail is another matter, but certainly I don't think it's outside the role of the inspectorate to look at that and to make recommendations on it.
But if you look at numeracy and literacy, for example, they're not core subjects, but they're very much inspected, and if a school were seen to be slipping behind in its teaching of numeracy and literacy across the whole curriculum, they would be pulled up very, very quickly by Estyn, and there's a feeling perhaps that that's not the case when it comes to physical education, and that's why there's been the slippage that you've been talking about, perhaps.
Yes, and I think that part of the trouble there is that there's a bit of strange thinking going on. The way it's looked at is, if you put more time into teaching literacy, numeracy, maths and English, the results will get better. I'm not convinced by that argument, because I think if you use the time to allow students to experience literacy and numeracy in practical situations, actually the lessons that they have in maths and English, literacy and numeracy, will make more sense. Just by insisting that the child does more maths and more English does not actually mean that they're going to learn more maths and English. Sometimes, if they spent an hour that they might have been doing maths and English doing technology, where they would learn some of the practicalities of the numeracy side, or out on the sports field, maybe looking at speeds and timings—there are practical uses for literacy and numeracy in practical subjects, and we've got so fixated on the results in maths and English that we've pushed ourselves into putting all that time. I'm hearing from members of staff in schools who are saying that actually the amount of real concentration that goes on in those extra lessons is starting to dip, because actually students have had enough, and they are not able to maintain the level of concentration that we might want. People are starting to say, 'Actually, really, what we need is those students to be doing something else at that time, working out how to apply these skills, so that when we have them back for those lessons, it all starts to make sense.'
I think that's an important point. I think it's the idea of seeing PE as a subject in its own right, and sport as a subject in its own right, and the use of that subject towards the development of young people, and how they can transfer the skills that they use on the sports field into other areas of the curriculum. And that really is the way forward with this, to look at it in that way.
It does seem to me that the legacy that we've had from a former education Secretary is beginning—the toxicity of that legacy, I think, is beginning to show itself within our schools now. That's where the narrowing of the curriculum started, and it was, you know, just focusing on literacy and numeracy, important as those areas are, because I believe—I mean, they have become core areas in that sense; that's how they are viewed. The problem is as well that, in many schools, it's been looked at as the responsibility just of the heads of English and the heads of maths, and the pressure has been placed on that group of teachers as well.
Are you confident that the redesign of the curriculum that's going on in, you know, some offices somewhere not far from here is likely to come up with some of these innovative, new ways of bringing in physical education?
I think the evidence is out there in some schools already, if you go into some of the pioneer schools and you look at the work that they're doing in terms of a different approach to the curriculum, of a broader way of looking at it, of some more practical elements sitting alongside the more academic. You see, what we're not talking about is lowering standards. What we're talking about is a different approach that actually allows students to experience so much more, and gain the benefit from things like physical education, physical activity. You may be aware that there's an initiative that's been going on called 'the daily mile'. I don't know whether you've heard of that. That is shown to have a really major impact with primary pupils. We've no idea if that would work with secondary, because I don't think anybody's tried it, but if that sort of thing became the norm, the impact in terms of the learning and the ability of children to make real progress—we might transform that. That's part of what I think the new curriculum is hoping to do.
I don't think you can lose sight of the entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum for all children. I think that that really is the challenge of Donaldson, and I don't think—. I mean, other committees have looked at Donaldson and they don't feel that teachers are equipped for it yet, but it's being delayed and there's still time to get those areas into it. Everybody will be making their pitch for what they want to see in that curriculum, and it's getting the balance that Tim talked about earlier right.
Yes. We've been drawn in, I think, automatically to talking about PE within the curriculum, and that automatically makes some people think, 'Right: core subject within the curriculum.' I kind of like the idea. You've mentioned already Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and her suggestion very much, in—how long ago now? It was 2013-ish—that there should be a definite move here. You couldn't have a more prominent person in the delivery of sport in Wales and the promotion of sport than Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson making this recommendation, and yet it doesn't happen. I mean, should that be an alarm bell for us that, even when you have the recommendations from the right places with the right clout, it doesn't happen?
I think circumstances have really contributed to that not happening. I mean, PE is taught right throughout the key stages in schools, and sport is taught throughout the key stages, unlike other subjects where you have a choice of whether you continue with them at the end of key stage 3, so it's still there. The amount of time devoted to it has become less simply because of the woeful underfunding of the system. You can't deliver if you don't have the staffing complements in the school to deliver. The funding gap—I'll mention it again—of £678 between maintained schools in England and Wales; £306 million not going into school budgets. If that money is in the school budgets, then you can deliver the curriculum that you want, but without that money we are always going to be squeezed, and the idea then of making something a core subject—. Everybody will want their subjects to be core subjects, and then I think you—. Well, I can't see how it's going to work unless you've got the complement of teachers to deliver.
But there's a difference between something being a core subject and being a core part of—
And that definition is what's important, because a core subject currently has the implication that it's going to be examined and will result in—
Whereas a core element of the curriculum, which is what I think we really need and, to an extent, we've already got—. But it's a matter of how much. One of the difficulties that we have is if we prescribe x amount of time that must be for physical recreation/education—whatever you're going to call it—then actually you end up with then conflicting—. That's what I was saying earlier about the problems they have in England, where they've got to have x amount for this, that and the other thing, and you end up with an impossible situation where you've got too many things to go into the pot and something has to give.
Yes, but—and I'm not sure if others are coming to these question areas—we're perhaps not talking about extra lessons. We've heard evidence about the need to make sure that a lunch period is of a certain length, that it's not squeezed down to half an hour in some schools. That's important. There's physical activity all around the school day, not just in lessons, I guess.
Well, clearly, that used to be the case. I can remember—some of you'll remember from your school days—that lunch hour was a lunch hour; it was just that. In some schools, it was longer to accommodate training for sporting activities, teams going down and going out on the field during the lunch hour. I think a lot of that has died away, simply because of the squeeze to the lunch hour. The problem that you've got is overturning that would cause a lot of difficulties now, but I think you've got to look at the reasons—and Tim may want to add to the reasons—but one of them, I believe, was to do with the indiscipline of pupils. Cut down the time that they're out when they're not supervised by teachers, and then maybe the problems don't come back into the school in the afternoon session: that was probably the rationale behind it. I'm not saying that we would agree with that rationale as a trade union. And I'm sure that, from our members' perspective, they'd like to have an hour for their lunch to give them time to recharge their batteries, but that really is why that has been squeezed.
Thanks, Chair. So, do you think, then, that teachers, especially primary school teachers, are properly equipped with the skills needed to develop children's motor skills and teach PE? We had very powerful evidence last week about the way children move and that lots of people don't actually understand that and that the mould is kind of set very early on and that, if you don't get it right, especially when they're really young, you're kind of setting them on a path, really, where they're not going to take advantage of the physical opportunities available to them.
I think our PE staff would say that they are well trained and there is no issue. However, they're only a small proportion of the overall workforce—
But primary school teachers, obviously—they're generic usually, aren't they?
Primary, yes. They'll not necessarily have that training, no.
No. I think they used to. Certainly, when I was trained—I was trained in primary and secondary—we had PE as part of the core training, but I was trained as a teacher as opposed to through the PGCE. It was a certificate in education in those days, and a three-year course, but a large part of that course was about training in PE so that you could deliver that within the primary school setting. Now, whether that's tailed off in recent years, I don't know. It sounds as though it has, but maybe that's something that needs to be discussed with the teacher training institutions to put that back into the training of teachers to make sure that they do come out and are equipped to deliver PE in schools because, clearly, as you say, they are generic in what they do. The other way of doing that, of course, is to bring in higher level teaching assistants who could provide that kind of physical activity, or to assist in the provision of those physical activities, within the school timetable within the primary sector.
Okay. And, in terms of initial teacher education, then, and continuing professional development for teachers, what changes would you like to see that would improve this for children and young people?
Well, in terms of CPD, we'd certainly like that to be an entitlement. In the schoolteachers' pay and conditions document as it currently stands, there is a paragraph that talks of an entitlement to professional development for teachers. The problem again then comes back to funding and providing the resources to allow teachers to access that entitlement. That's the way forward on that: to make sure that, where there is a need through the processes in school, where it's considered that teachers do need that development, that provision should be there and readily available to them and access provided to that training.
I know, Rex, obviously, that school funding is a big concern of yours. Are you aware that Welsh Government is forecast to get £57 million from the soft drinks levy? Is that something that you'd like to see invested more in this area?
Well, I think that would be—. Those are decisions for the politicians to make, but, clearly, yes. If it's from that levy, then I think that that would be a very good starting point in terms of where you're placing that money, placing them into those activities and into the activities—I don't know whether we'll come on to this—outside the school day to assist in tackling the problems with child obesity and things like that. But, again, this is not just solely a problem of child obesity. This is really about PE and physical activity being an important part of the curriculum entitlement for children and young people.
Can I just ask one other question? Do you think there are any issues with—? Because, obviously, teachers are responsible for the welfare of children, and sometimes I think there is a caution about what children are allowed to do in terms of school grounds and things like that. Do you think there are any issues with perhaps we're becoming more risk-averse, and therefore—? Like my son's not allowed on the school field at the moment because it's a bit slippery, and that kind of thing, but he's desperate to get out there and run around. Is there anything in that, do you think?
Well, I know we're living in a more litigious society. It's a tricky question, in a sense, because if there are risks, then—. If your son went on the playing field and they slipped and something had happened, then the question would be, 'Why have the school allowed them to get onto that field?' So, I think, yes, in terms of their safety, then there are issues around that. So, I don't know; I think that we have to put that into the perspective of not being overly protective, but in the sense that these things do have to be risk-assessed so that those that are delivering the activities for the children don't find themselves where they're vulnerable, and, equally, those undertaking the activities are not finding themselves vulnerable as well.
Thank you. Well, I think we've already seen—. This has been referred to several times, extending the school day, and we have had quite a bit of evidence, as a committee, from organisations that think this would be a good idea. I think some of us are sympathetic to it, but, obviously, there are lots of implications. So, could you say what your initial feelings are about formally extending the school day?
Yes. Well, I think it's a little bit like the issue of the core subjects. It's the language that is used. 'Extending the school day' I don't think is the right language to use. 'Providing activities beyond the school day' is probably the better way of looking at it, because the school day is a day on which pupils are taught in the school setting. What we are very clear about is if you do extend activities beyond the school day, then those activities would be undertaken by, probably, instructors other than the teaching staff within the school. Because we've got to look at the contractual entitlements of our members—the 195 days, 1,265 hours. It's not a great time to be looking at extending the school day, with the devolution of teachers' pay and conditions on the horizon, because we will be in the vanguard of fighting on the basis of 'what we have we hold', and it raises a lot of practical difficulties as well, if you do that, in terms of accountability for the premises and so on. In principle, just providing activities beyond the school day we wouldn't have a problem with, but we are very clear on who would deliver those activities.
One of the things that I've got some concern about is that, probably, there are quite a lot of activities after the school day now, and the children who take part in those may be children who are either more motivated themselves or their families are motivated for them to do it, and there may be other children who don't take part in those. So, unless you do something formal that includes absolutely everybody, you will miss out on what we want to achieve—
And that's the difficulty, because, if you're talking about providing additional activities for every child in a secondary school of 1,200 children, one instructor can probably deal with 30 people. It doesn't take a genius to realise you need an awful lot of people every day to be able to do that. So, the concept of finding a way to put more opportunities out there for young people—I think we would all say 'yes'. But, actually, the reality of it is, if you're going to provide additional opportunities after school and you're going to have other people come in to do that, unless you are going to be able to employ 100 people for a 1,200 student school, that's not realistic. You cannot expect every teacher, who may not have the skills, to be able to provide physical activities for students. Some of them will. Some of them will enjoy it. Some of them will have things they do themselves that they can do with other children. But, actually, in terms of the practicalities of that, that might be almost impossible to do. And, even if you do manage to find this army of extra people to come in after school, you are still going to need school leaders responsible to maintain that, the school as an organisation, and have oversight of that. Because we would not be very popular if we said, 'It's up to them now, off they go and we're going home.' So, there are all sorts of nitty-gritty details to doing that sort of thing that I think need to be very carefully thought through before anything is actually formally proposed.
So, basically, what you're saying is that there would have to be some changes to somebody's contracts in order to make something like this work, even if you did bring in a lot of external instructors, or whatever you call them—to have the overall plan.
I think that's probably right, and changes to contracts, as you know, are always going to be difficult. I think there are some other dangers as well. If you extend the school day, will it be used for the purpose you intended, or will it be used just to provide extra tuition in literacy, numeracy and so on for the pupils? It would have to be dedicated time.
One area that we've looked at as a trade union and we've talked with the Welsh Government about was looking at the asymmetric week—they run that in some parts of Scotland—where the teaching staff are not involved. They in fact are not involved, maybe on an afternoon where they have that time to do their own professional development, and others are brought in to do these activities, sporting activities and so on, with the pupils.
Now, again, the point that Tim makes about the army of people coming in, they have got to be trained and they've got to go through safeguarding and so on. And the point that Lynne made about safety—they have to be people that can deliver those activities and are accredited to be able to deliver those activities. And that's not—. As Tim has said, not every teacher would be able to do that. Teachers, historically within schools, in all areas across the curriculum, have run football teams and they've run rugby teams under the guidance of the PE staff within the schools. They've done that and they've taken them off and given their time. That's how the system used to be when I was teaching. I'm not altogether sure it's done in that way.
I also know that there are sometimes obstacles put in the way of teachers to be able to take part in school competitions, because they're told, 'No, no, we can't allow you out because we can't provide cover for you.' Frankly, we take a dim view of that as a trade union, because, if those activities are out there, pupils and children and young people should be encouraged to take part in them.
Absolutely, yes, they do.
There seems to be something on every day in the school I happen to go to.
It's a gesture of good will, you see.
And I think as well we can't lose sight of the fact that a lot of those sporting activities should take place and should be able to take place outside, away from the school setting, for the pupils. That's important, and I think in that context you've got to look at the demise of leisure centres, swimming pools and so on. Again, going back to my days, which is a long time ago, when I was teaching, there were schools that had their own swimming pools. I don't know whether there are many now. There are schools built by leisure centres, but then the squeeze on the public sector and the public services delivery has been colossal as well and that has contributed to this situation.
I know what you've said to us today is a bit off-putting in terms of generally going for this sort of proposal, but, in terms of a principle, and taking into account that all these different things would have to be worked out, would you support the idea of a longer period of time when children were expected to be in schools, and part of that, the extra time, would be taken up with physical activity? It wouldn't have to be physically in the school, but in school time.
Yes. Provided that that expectation doesn't impact adversely on the contractual arrangements for qualified teachers and other staff that exist within the schools. If what you're suggesting would then impact on contractual change for others, I think that's where the difficulty would come in, Julie. Looking at that, you see, I go back to that 5x60 approach that I talked about, bringing in the instructors. There are a lot of activities out there in the community, there are a lot of clubs that run for people. One of the problems with those clubs is that there's probably some kind of fee that needs to be paid by parents.
The tie-in between the activities that are provided, let's say, by the voluntary sector, if you want to put it like that, and the schools—that tie-in could be there. If the Welsh Government is saying that all children would have to do that—because that's what you're virtually saying; that all children would have to do a certain amount of activity per week—now, that goes much, much broader and much, much wider than just the curriculum that is delivered in schools. I think that it needs to be viewed in that context, in terms of what this committee would be asking for, because it is saying that you want, as a committee, in Wales—you want the Welsh Government to say, 'We are going to say that all children and young people should be doing x amount of physical activity a week. Some of that could be within the school setting, delivered by qualified teachers, some of it might have to be done externally.' But then, how do you hold parents to account for making sure their children do that? Because, at the end of the day, it's the parents and carers who would be accountable for that. I don't think you can hold the schools and the teams that are out there accountable for that. It would be how your parents are accountable for that.
I think we would very much support the concept of more physical activity being available for children. The difficulty, then, is how do you make that happen. How do you ensure that it is equally available for all young people? How does it not have an adverse impact on the other work that the school does? There isn't a simple answer to that. There is evidence to suggest that time taken during the school day for physical activity helps the work in the classroom. So, that is probably an element that needs careful consideration. Rex is right that if you go to teachers and you say, 'By the way, from next year, you're all going to have to work an extra hour a week', that would probably not go down particularly well.
Well, that would take negotiation with the unions. It's quite a tricky one in terms of expectation.
Do you think teachers would be happy to work an extra hour, if they were paid?
Well, I was going to come on to that. It depends on how that payment would be made, I think. If you're saying that payment would be within their current contracts, then that would—. First of all, I doubt very much whether the money would be there; we haven't even had the 2 per cent that should be paid along the main professional grade for our members in Wales, where they've got that in England, so I think it would be very difficult. If you're talking about a separate contract in addition to the contract that they have within the school, and then they're prepared to work on outside the normal school day, that would be something that we would look at. But that's an entirely different concept, I think, from the one that may be being suggested.
I draw a comparison with free school breakfasts, and the purpose of that was not to adversely affect the contracts of teachers but to bring in additional staff, as and when, in order to offer something to all school pupils within what was an extended school day.
Yes. And there would be an awful lot of teachers who would want to do it, and the same people who currently offer additional things as a gesture of goodwill. Teachers are not mercenary people, by and large. We want to do things for the benefit of the students in our schools. But we've got to be careful we don't take advantage of that and end up with a system where it is an expectation. That's where it becomes difficult.
Ocê. Unrhyw gwestiynau eraill? Na. Dyna ni. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi. Dyna ddiwedd y sesiwn. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am eich presenoldeb ac am ateb y cwestiynau mewn ffordd mor raenus. Gallaf gyhoeddi ymhellach, fel y byddwch chi'n ymwybodol, y byddwch chi'n derbyn trawsgrifiad o'r trafodaethau yma er mwyn i chi allu gwirio eu bod nhw'n ffeithiol gywir. Ond gyda hynny o ragymadrodd, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi unwaith eto am eich presenoldeb. Diolch yn fawr.
Okay. Any further questions? No. That's it, then. Thank you very much. That's the end of our session. I'd like to thank you for your attendance today and for answering the questions in such an informative way. Can I also say that you will you receive a transcript from these proceedings just to check for factual accuracy? So, with those concluding remarks, thank you once again for your attendance. Thank you.
Symud ymlaen i eitem 3 a phapurau i'w nodi. Mi fydd Aelodau wedi darllen y llythyr gan gadeirydd Coleg Brenhinol Meddygon Teulu Cymru ynghylch gwasanaethau y tu allan i oriau. Mae yna hefyd lythyr gan Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol ar oblygiadau posibl Brexit ar wasanaethau iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol yng Nghymru, ac wrth gwrs mae yna lythyr oddi wrtha i at Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Gyllid ar oblygiadau y Deyrnas Unedig yn ymadael efo Ewrop. Unrhyw sylw? Pawb yn hapus.
Moving on to item 3 and papers to note. Members will have read the letter from the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Wales regarding out-of-hours services. There's also a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services on the potential implications of Brexit on health and social care services in Wales, and then, of course, there's a letter from myself to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance on the implications of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Are there any comments to make on that? Everyone's content.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Ymlaen i eitem 4 a chynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Pawb yn gytûn? Pawb yn gytûn, felly awn ni i mewn i sesiwn breifat. Diolch yn fawr.
On to item 4 and the motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Is everyone content? Everyone's content, so we'll go into private session. Thank you.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:11.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:11.