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Cofnod y Trafodion
The Record of Proceedings

Y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg

The Children, Young People and Education Committee




Agenda’r Cyfarfod
Meeting Agenda

Trawsgrifiadau’r Pwyllgor
Committee Transcripts


4        Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau, Dirprwyon a Datgan Buddiannau
Introductions, Apologies, Substitutions and Declarations of Interest       


4        Ymchwiliad i Addysg a Dysgu Proffesiynol Athrawon: Sesiwn Dystiolaeth 1
Inquiry into Teachers’ Professional Learning and Education: Evidence Session 1


46      Trafod yr Adroddiad gan y Coleg Brenhinol Pediatreg ac Iechyd Plant: Cyflwr Iechyd Plant
Consideration of the Report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health: State of Child Health


78      Papurau i’w Nodi
Papers to Note


79      Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod
Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from 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 y 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.




Aelodau’r pwyllgor yn bresennol
Committee members in attendance


Mohammad Asghar

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives

Michelle Brown

UKIP Cymru
UKIP Wales

Hefin David


John Griffiths


Llyr Gruffydd

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales 

Andrew R.T. Davies

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig (yn dirprwyo ar ran Darren Millar)
Welsh Conservatives (substitute for Darren Millar)

Lynne Neagle

Llafur (Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor)
Labour (Committee Chair)


Eraill yn bresennol
Others in attendance


Rachel Curley

Cyfarwyddwr Dros Dro, ATL
Acting Director, ATL

Neil Foden

Aelod o Weithrediaeth NUT Cymru
NUT Cymru Executive Member

Ywain Myfyr

Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC)

Dr Mair Parry

Swyddog Cymru, Coleg Brenhinol Pediatreg ac Iechyd Plant
Officer for Wales, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Rex Phillips

Swyddog Cenedlaethol Cymru, NASUWT
National Official Wales, NASUWT


Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn bresennol
National Assembly for Wales officials in attendance


Jon Antoniazzi


Sarah Bartlett

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Sarah Hatherley

Y Gwasanaeth Ymchwil
Research Service


Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The meeting began at 09:30.


Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau, Dirprwyon a Datgan Buddiannau
Introductions, Apologies, Substitutions and Declarations of Interest


[1]          Lynne Neagle: Good morning, everyone. Can I welcome you all to the Children, Young People and Education Committee? We’ve received apologies for absence from Darren Millar and Andrew R.T. Davies is substituting for Darren, so welcome to Andrew. We’ve also received apologies from Julie Morgan. Before we go on to item 2 today, I just wanted to say that this is Annette Millett’s last meeting with our committee—she’s going to work for the climate change committee—and I’m sure that the whole committee would want to thank Annette for all her work and support of us, and wish her well in her new role with the climate change committee. I think we’d also want to place on record our thanks to Marc Wyn Jones as well, who has also been moved to climate change—there’s something going on here. [Laughter.] So, I’m sure the committee would want to add our thanks to Marc as well. Thank you and good luck, Annette. 


Ymchwiliad i Addysg a Dysgu Proffesiynol Athrawon:
Sesiwn Dystiolaeth 1
Inquiry into Teachers’ Professional Learning and Education:
 Evidence Session 1


[2]          Lynne Neagle: Okay. Item 2, then, is our first evidence session in our inquiry into teachers’ professional learning and education. I’m delighted that we’re joined by four of our teaching unions. Can I welcome Neil Foden from the National Union of Teachers, Rachel Curley from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Ywain Myfyr from Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru, and Rex Phillips from NASUWT? Thank you for coming—thank you for your written evidence and your time this morning. Would you like to just make some brief opening remarks? Who wants to start? Go on, Rex.


[3]          Mr Phillips: I hadn’t thought to, but we’re pleased to be here to be able to give our evidence. I think it is an important issue. I’ve certainly seen the kind of questioning that’s coming forward and I think we’ll have very frank answers to give you over where we are with professional learning for teachers. So, that would really be my opening gambit.


[4]          Mr Myfyr: Buaswn innau’n licio’ch diolch am y croeso i fod yma’r bore yma i leisio barn a phryder y proffesiwn yng Nghymru am y newidiadau yn y byd addysg ar hyn o bryd.


Mr Myfyr: I would also like to thank you for the welcome you’ve extended this morning and the opportunity to extend our views and the concerns of the profession about the changes in education in Wales.


[5]          Lynne Neagle: Thank you.


[6]          Ms Curley: Yes, I’d echo that, thank you, Chair. As we said in our response, these are issues that members raise with us consistently. There are concerns around a lack of professional development opportunities and also just the scale and pace of reform in the sector at the moment, and how prepared the sector is for those. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to talk about the entire education workforce, not just teachers in schools.


[7]          Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Neil.


[8]          Mr Foden: Thank you, Chair. Just to say we welcome the opportunity to contribute as well. This is obviously a crucial time in schools, with the development of the new curriculum, and, clearly, professional development and training for teachers is going to be essential to its success.


[9]          Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you very much. Okay. We’re going to start on the continuing professional development side of things, but, obviously, there is some overlap, and the first question’s from Hefin.


[10]      Hefin David: Thank you, Chair. I’ve taken a look at the professional learning passport; what do you think of it?


[11]      Mr Phillips: I’ll kick off. We welcomed the idea of the professional learning passport, because we saw that as replacing what is the practice review and development record that is required under performance management. The difference between the practice review and development records that are operating in some schools is that they’re not confidential and management has access to them. The performance management process and the practice review and development record should be a confidential record. So, clearly, with that moving to the Education Workforce Council—and we have our own views about the EWC, which I think are fairly well known—it will provide the confidentiality that should be there. It will be a record where teachers record their professional development, but they only need to use that and to apply that when they go into their review meeting under performance management. That’s where they’re required to produce that record and to talk that record through with their appraiser. So, in that sense, we welcomed it.


[12]      Hefin David: Thank you, Rex. If I was looking at the screen, it’s because my notes are on the screen.


[13]      Mr Phillips: That’s okay, fine. My notes are written down.


[14]      Hefin David: I’ve gone electronic. Can I ask the NUT about that? The same question.


[15]      Mr Foden: We think it’s potentially a useful document. Certainly, the demonstration that we had from colleagues in the EWC shows that this is quite a user-friendly model and it should save teachers a considerable amount of work, because it’s online and it’s relatively easy to manipulate once you’ve had the training on it.


[16]      Like Rex, I believe it’s unlikely to be used other than in circumstances where teachers are going through the performance review. Certainly, from experience, the previous model—the development review portfolio that teachers were supposed to be keeping—was not widely used. I’m not entirely convinced that this new model will be extensively used either, simply because, again, both of them require the teachers to undertake a certain amount of work in collating them. I know it’s easy to say, well, if you’re going on a training and development course, or you’re engaged in a professional development activity, then you simply record evidence of that after it has finished and build up your portfolio as it goes along. But I don’t think that’s a mindset that a lot of teachers are in, because there are so many other things to do that sitting down and recording what you’ve done in a professional development activity tends to be quite low down the list, and just gets pushed back and pushed back and pushed back, and then before you know it you are several weeks if not months down the line and it simply doesn’t happen.


[17]      Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rachel or—


[18]      Ms Curley: Like my colleagues, we’ve welcomed the development of the professional learning passport. I think it’s important. It’s confidential to the individual teacher. But I think two of the key themes of today, and we make no apology for that, will be around workload and also funding. While there is a workload crisis for teachers, the extent to which the professional learning passport can be meaningful and teachers can really engage with that—you know, you need the time to do it. Also, if you’re going to record high-quality, professional learning opportunities and continuing professional development, the funding needs to be there to allow you to access those.


[19]      Mr Myfyr: Mae UCAC hefyd—buaswn i’n hoffi ategu’r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud. Rydym ni’n croesawu dyfodiad y pasbort, ond hefyd—. Mae angen llawer o hyfforddiant yn ei gylch o, wrth reswm, ond hefyd rydw i’n credu bod angen edrych ar y ffordd yr ydym ni’n gwerthu'r syniad i ysgolion ac i athrawon, felly. Rydw i’n meddwl bod hwn yn hollol angenrheidiol o safbwynt yr holl ddatblygiadau, bod angen eu gwerthu nhw yn iawn fel eu bod nhw’n cael eu derbyn. Achos fel sydd wedi cael ei ddweud—ac buaswn i’n licio ategu’r hyn y mae fy nghyfeillion wedi’i ddweud—mae llwyth gwaith yn yr ysgolion ar hyn o bryd yn orthrymol.


Mr Myfyr: UCAC also—I would like to endorse what has been said. We welcome the advent of the passport, but—. A great deal of training is needed with regard to the passport, but I also think that we need to look at how we sell and market this idea to schools and teachers. I think this is vital from the point of view of all of these developments, that we market them so that they are accepted. Because as has been said—and I would like to endorse what my colleagues have said—the workload in the schools at present is very heavy.

[20]      Hefin David: Should it be mandatory?


[21]      Mr Myfyr: Sorry?


[22]      Hefin David: Should it be mandatory?


[23]      Mr Myfyr: Fedraf i ddim gweld y byddai dim problem efo hynny, felly, ond rydw i’n credu eto mae angen gwerthu’r pethau yma i’r proffesiwn, ac mae angen ystyried llwyth gwaith athrawon yn yr un modd.


Mr Myfyr: I don’t see a problem with that, but, again, I think that we need to sell these things to the profession, and we need to consider the workload of teachers in the same way.

[24]      Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rex on this. Sorry—had you finished?


[25]      Mr Phillips: On the question of mandatory, my understanding is that it’s going to be mandatory for newly-qualified teachers, teachers on induction, the keeping of the professional learning passport. We have a concern that it could become mandatory when it’s linked in to the new professional standards. That would be a major concern, but, presumably, we’ll talk about those a bit later.


[26]      Lynne Neagle: Okay. Llyr on this.


[27]      Hefin David: Can I give Neil a chance to answer this as well, because he was indicating he wanted to come in?


[28]      Lynne Neagle: Oh, sorry. Okay.


[29]      Mr Foden: Sorry, Chair, just on the question of it being made mandatory, I think, if it was made mandatory, that’s an acceptance of the fact that it isn’t working. The more important question is, ‘Why isn’t it working?’ rather than, ‘Should it be made mandatory or not?’


[30]      Hefin David: Thank you, Chair.


[31]      Llyr Gruffydd: Diolch. Jest dau gwestiwn. Yn amlwg, mae pwysau gwaith yn ffactor nid yw’n bosib i’w  osgoi mewn sawl trafodaeth o gwmpas y proffesiwn y dyddiau yma. Ond rydym ni i gyd yn ymwybodol bod hynny’n broblem, felly, beth yw’r ateb? Dyna’r hyn yr ydym ni eisiau trio i ddatrys fan hyn. Yn amlwg, mae modd dadlau dros gael mwy o athrawon, mwy o gynorthwywr dosbarth, ac yn y blaen. Mae yna awgrym wedi bod yn lled diweddar ynglŷn â newid patrwm amserlen yr ysgol i gychwyn yn gynt, gorffen yn hwyrach, a rhyddhau hanner ddiwrnod ar gyfer gweithgaredd gwahanol. Hynny yw, a oes gyda chi unrhyw syniadau ynglŷn â sut y byddai’n fodd i fynd i’r afael â hyn?


Llyr Gruffydd: Thank you. I have just two questions. Obviously, workload is a factor and it’s impossible to avoid it in the many discussions about the profession these days. But we’re all aware that that is a problem, so what is the answer, or the solution? Because that’s what we are trying to solve here. Obviously, one could argue for having more teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom, and so on. There has been an argument made recently about changing the pattern of the school timetable so that it starts earlier and finishes earlier, and freeing up half a day for different activities. Do you have any ideas about how we can tackle this?

[32]      Mr Myfyr: Mae nifer o’r syniadau yr ydych chi wedi’u crybwyll yn werth ystyriaeth, wrth reswm, felly. Ond asgwrn y gynnen yn aml iawn ydy arian hefyd, onid ydy? Mae hwnnw’n graidd i bob peth. Os ydy ysgolion yn cael digon o arian i gyflogi, cael digon o arian i ryddhau, athrawon, yna mae’r llwyth gwaith yn lleihau yn sylweddol yn syth. Arian, yn y diwedd, ydy’r prif reswm dros y llwyth gwaith—neu ddiffyg arian, dylwn i ei ddweud.


Mr Myfyr: Well, a number of the ideas that you’ve mentioned are worth considering, of course, but the bone of contention in this is funding, isn’t it? That’s at the heart of everything. If schools receive sufficient funding to employ, to release, teachers, then the workload will decrease significantly straight away. So, funding, ultimately, is the main reason for the workload—or the lack of funding, I should say.

[33]      Llyr Gruffydd: Byddech chi felly yn anghytuno yn chwyrn gyda’r hyn a ddywedodd y cyn-Weinidog rhyw flwyddyn a hanner yn ôl, felly, nad mwy o arian sydd ei eisiau ond i ddefnyddio fe mewn ffordd wahanol.


Llyr Gruffydd: Therefore, you would strongly disagree with what the former Minister said about a year and a half ago, that it wasn’t greater funding that was needed, but to use it differently.

[34]      Mr Myfyr: Yn sicr. Hynny yw, mae yna bryder mawr yn y proffesiwn efo dyfodiad y cwricwlwm, ac yn y blaen. Rwy’n meddwl ein bod ni fel UCAC yn ei groesawu, ond mae’n rhaid iddo gael ei ariannu a’i hyfforddi’n gywir. Heb wneud hynny, nid yw’n mynd i lwyddo, yn anffodus. Mi fedrwn ni edrych yn ôl i gyflwyniad y cyfnod sylfaen rai blynyddoedd yn ôl—rhywbeth chwyldroadol a rhywbeth, fel cyn-bennaeth, yr oeddwn yn ei groesawu ar y pryd, ac yn ei groesawu’n fawr iawn. Ond, yn anffodus, ni chafodd ei ariannu yn gywir ac, oherwydd hynny, hyd yn oed heddiw, 10 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, mae llwyddiant y cyfnod sylfaen ar draws Cymru yn ddigon patchy, mewn gwirionedd.


Mr Myfyr: Certainly. That is, there is a great deal of concern in the profession with the advent of the curriculum, and so on. I think that we, as UCAC, welcome it, but it has to be funded and trained sufficiently. Without doing that, it’s not going to succeed, unfortunately. We can look back to the introduction of the foundation phase some years ago—that was revolutionary. As a former head, I welcomed it at the time, I welcomed it a great deal. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t funded properly and, as a result, even today, 10 years hence, the success of the foundation phase across Wales is quite patchy, if truth be told.

[35]      Lynne Neagle: Rachel.


[36]      Ms Curley: Thank you. I welcome your acknowledgment of the workload crisis in schools. You’re asking about practical steps and what can be done. There are CPD opportunities out there. The consortia have published their training programmes and there’s CPD opportunities. They come and they say, ‘Look, this is free, you can access it’, but the issue for many schools is how do you fund the teacher who goes out of the classroom to access those courses. So, funding is a fundamental issue and constantly is a barrier that our members, whether teachers or leaders or support staff, tell us about for accessing those courses.


[37]      You talked about changes to the school day. Potentially, but I think there are issues around trying to squeeze in the kind of training that’s needed, whether you’re talking about the development of the new curriculum, ALN, Welsh language—whether that can actually be squeezed into an hour at the beginning or end of the day. It would potentially cause problems for part-time staff in terms of accessing that. We think we should be looking at more INSET days, potentially, for the whole profession really to look at accessing the kind of training that’s needed, given the scale of reform.


[38]      Lynne Neagle: Do you want to come in, Neil, on this?


[39]      Mr Foden: Yes please, if I could. I agree with the comments about funding. Our pupil numbers have stayed relatively stable as a school but, last year, we cut 14 per cent of our teaching staff as a result of the scale of the cuts—the local authority was looking to cut £4.3 million over 3 years. Now, that’s a huge cut out of our budget and it’s resulted in class sizes going up and it’s resulted in a number of activities having to be curtailed. We’ve reduced the number of courses on offer. It hasn’t directly affected professional development, because we’ve tried to ring-fence the EIG to make sure that is available for staff development. Plenty of people I know in the world of commerce say that, in a time of recession, the last thing you should do is to cut your staff development, but it has been very, very difficult to protect staff development funding in those circumstances.


[40]      To respond to the suggestion you made about changes to the school day, I’ve seen plans from a couple of individual institutions who have decided to change the school day, and that’s actually increased the number of hours that teachers work, by way of directed time, rather than reducing it. What is doesn’t do is that it doesn’t deal with the core issues that have caused the extra work, which is the number of new initiatives, the fact that they’re often badly planned—there’s much more emphasis on policy development rather than implementation—and that, effectively, teachers have been left to try to make this work, because the people who devised it hadn’t thought about the practical implications of it when it was devised in the first place.


[41]      I agree with Rachel that there is an issue about release of teachers. That’s partly a funding issue but—I’m sure Ywain will agree with this—in a number of small rural schools, they’ve actually reached a point where there aren’t any supply teachers to call in. I know of headteachers, for example, who don’t go to meetings or professional development activities because they simply cannot get a supply teacher. It’s not a question of a suitable supply teacher, it is no supply teacher at all. And that’s true of a number of smaller institutions in more rural parts of north Wales.


[42]      I agree again with the suggestion for INSET days. We’ve just been chosen as a pioneer school for maths and numeracy. Having attended the first conference—we may come back to that, Chair, if that’s an area you want to explore after—it’s quite clear that there is going to be a significant demand for time for implementation. We would also be looking for additional INSET days, prior to it being released in 2018 and becoming compulsory in 2019.


[43]      Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Rex.


[44]      Mr Phillips: First of all, on changes to the school day, I was on a working party that was looking at introducing the asymmetric week. That went some way. I think a paper has been produced, but I don’t think it’s been taken any further. But, there may be merit in looking at that proposal. It’s something that they have run in some areas of Scotland, where you’d have maybe a Friday afternoon when the children weren’t in school; they’d be doing other activity. That would free up time for teachers every other—. Well, one of the afternoons, I think, would be an afternoon where they didn’t have to be on site. The other one would be an afternoon where they received professional training. But for me, the key is to increase the in-service training days, and if we’re going to have a system where professionals are learning from professionals, you’ll have to organise that where some schools are having their in-service days while others are in work, so that you can share best practice in that way.




[45]      But the fundamental issue over workload comes down to the points that have been already raised—it’s funding and it’s class size. We have been, for the last two years, running the statistics that Welsh Government said they could no longer run in terms of the funding gap. Now, that funding gap stood at £31 in 2001 when ‘The Learning Country’ was spoken of. That’s all it was; £31. This is the gap between maintained schools in Wales and maintained schools in England. We have looked at the academies. But, just looking at the gap between the maintained schools in Wales and maintained schools in England, last year or the year before—actually, it was 2013-14—that was £653. It went down a little bit last year to £607, but that’s still £607 per pupil on average not going into school budgets. That equates to £283 million not going into school budgets. If that money was in schools, you could employ 7,500 additional teachers or a combination of additional teachers and support staff. You could reduce your class size. You could have the world-class education system that everybody’s aspiring to. But you need to put the teachers in there on the ground. That would work.


[46]      One last statistic, which I put in our response: the pupil numbers—you said, Neil, that yours were relatively stable—the pupil numbers across Wales now, when you compare them to the pupil numbers in 2010, have reduced by just 586 pupils; that’s all. That’s on the census figures. The number of teachers that have been lost in the education system in Wales is over 1,051. Now, there’s something wrong with that system. There’s the funding methodology or whatever, but there’s something wrong when you’ve lost that number of teachers and yet the pupil numbers have not dropped significantly. That’s where the investment—. It’s underinvestment in education that is causing the problem in Wales. That’s the issues that needs to be addressed. You mentioned that the money’s there and it’s not being used properly. The simple answer is that the money is not there in the school budgets. There may be money being spent on education—it may be going to consortia, it may be going to everywhere else—but it’s certainly not getting into the schools where it is needed in order to employ more teachers and more support staff.


[47]      Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. I’ve got a few Members on this. I’ve got John first, then Andrew.


[48]      John Griffiths: Thanks, Chair. Estyn just this month stated that the quality of teaching is vitally important—as I guess we’d all readily accept in terms of how learners learn and develop—and that the quality of teaching is one of the weakest aspects of provision in Wales, which obviously is a matter of considerable concern to us all. And I think in terms of CPD, we’ve seen a number of reports over the years pointing to inadequacies and weaknesses. I’m just wondering, in terms of what you’ve said about the pressure on school budgets, whether you think it would be beneficial if there was a separation of funding for CPD from school budgets and whether there could be a greater degree of consistency of investment by schools into CPD right across Wales, if it was structured nationally, and if that could ease pressure on school budgets. Would there be benefits? Would there be potential downfalls of that sort of move?


[49]      Mr Foden: I think it’s fair to say, Chair, that to an extent that happens already—


[50]      John Griffiths: But if the balance was changed to make it more so.


[51]      Mr Foden: Well, the education improvement grant figures in school budgets as a separate heading, because it is like the PDG—it is a separate grant. So, it isn’t something that’s simply lost in the delegated schools budget. There are opportunities for schools to use the EIG for development opportunities that are not restricted to staff development. So, for example, it can be used for funding initiatives that will improve pupil performance and that are not, strictly speaking, staff professional development and training opportunities. The danger is if you say, ‘Well, the EIG can only be used for staff development’, then a lot of things that do actually fund pupil progress will go by the wayside, because schools can’t fund them from elsewhere. Unless you’re going to significantly increase the pot, the only way you can increase funding for teacher development and training is to take the money from somewhere else, and there are going to be negative consequences, obviously, for that.


[52]      John Griffiths: I think you said, Neil, that you’d taken a decision to ring-fence that budget, but, obviously, other schools would take different decisions.


[53]      Mr Foden: I think the same is true of the pupil deprivation grant. I think there is anecdotal evidence from schools about PDG being—shall I use a euphemism—vired for other purposes. It’s being used effectively to prop up the staffing levels of schools. Now, that isn’t what the money was intended for, but you can’t blame schools for doing it, because if the alternative is spending the money on a small number of pupils, and maybe having to dismiss staff as redundant and affecting a large number of pupils, the schools are going to say, effectively, ‘The greater good is protecting our staffing levels’. Now, as I say, we have ring-fenced the EIG, but it has been very, very difficult to sustain the school’s budget, and the only way that we could do that was by a significant number of early retirements and voluntary redundancies last year.


[54]      Lynne Neagle: Okay. Ywain.


[55]      Mr Myfyr: Buaswn i’n licio ategu beth sydd wedi cael ei ddweud. Yn syml, mwy o arian sydd angen, ond rwy’n meddwl bod angen edrych ar ansawdd yr hyfforddiant yn ogystal. Rwy’n meddwl bod hynny’n hollbwysig. Mewn rhai ardaloedd, mae argaeledd hyfforddiant yn beth prin. Rydym eisoes wedi clywed am brinder athrawon llanw. Mae hynny yn gwneud i athrawon yn y dosbarth feddwl, ‘Ydw i eisiau gadael y dosbarth, achos dydw i ddim yn siŵr iawn beth fydd yn digwydd?’ Hynny yw, y pwynt rwy’n trio ei wneud ydy: yn aml iawn, mae gan athrawon ofn mynd ar hyfforddiant—dim ofn yr hyfforddiant ei hun, ond ofn y sefyllfa efallai fydd yn eu hwynebu nhw pan ddôn nhw nôl i’r ysgol. Ac mae pethau felly yn bryder mawr. Mae’n rhaid inni greu sefyllfa—. Rwy’n meddwl ei bod yn bwysig i bawb sylweddoli bod athrawon eisiau llwyddo. Mae athrawon, beth bynnag ydy’r sefyllfa, yn gwneud y gorau ohoni hi, bob tro, ac wedi gwneud. Ond  mae yna gyfnod rŵan lle mae’r blewyn diwethaf, bron, ar gefn y camel, ac rwy’n meddwl bod rhaid edrych ar y sefyllfa, neu, yn anffodus, mae’n wir beryg i’r sefyllfa chwalu. Rwy’n teimlo hynny yn wir.


Mr Myfyr: I would like to endorse what has just been said. Simply, more funding is what is needed, but I think that there is a need to look at the quality of the training in addition, because I think that that is essential. In some areas, the availability of training is scarce. We’ve already heard about the scarcity of supply teachers. Well, that makes teachers in the classroom think, ‘Do I want to leave the classroom, because I’m not very sure what’s going to happen?’ The point I’m trying make is that, very often, teachers are afraid to go on training—they’re not afraid of the training itself, but they’re afraid about the situation that will face them when they return to the school. And things like that are a great concern. So, we have to create a situation—. I think it is important for everyone to understand that teachers want to succeed. Teachers, whatever the situation may be, are doing the best that they can, at every opportunity, and always have done. But this is now a period of almost being the last straw on the camel’s back, and we need to look at the situation, or unfortunately, there is a real danger that there could be a breakdown. And I do truly believe that.


[56]      Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Rex.


[57]      Mr Phillips: Just on your point, John, about having a central pot, I agree with what others have said. My main concern about that would be that it’s fine if it’s new money, but if it’s not new money, then it’s going to be top-sliced, and it will be top-sliced from a school’s budget. It’s going to be top-sliced from somewhere. I’ve been around long enough to remember what was called GEST funding, I think, when the pot was run by local authorities. You could apply to go on training courses, and you could apply for money through that fund. That worked okay, except it also became a system of grace, favour and patronage. If your face fitted, you’d get the training; if it didn’t, you didn’t get the training. I’m worried that you may go back to those days as well, because I think that the vehicle that they would look at to run that would be the consortia, and then it would be the decisions of the challenge advisers as to who got the training and who didn’t get the training, rather than it being based on the needs of the individual teacher.


[58]      If you have an entitlement—and that was the word that was used—if it’s going to be an entitlement to professional development, it should be just that. Teachers should be able to exercise that entitlement, and that entitlement is an entitlement to access it if they want to. It’s not a requirement on them. And that’s the danger—that we could change that word ‘entitlement’ to be a requirement to do this. Some teachers will need the professional development. Some teachers will do that naturally. Others will want the time generated within the school day to access that. We can’t move to a system where it becomes DIY CPD, where you’re just going on to various websites and so on, and looking at best practice. That really isn’t the way forward for it. And just one last bit: if you’re going to do that, then you have to generate the time for teachers to be able to do that. You need time for reflective practice, but that time should be in the school day.


[59]      Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Rachel.


[60]      Ms Curley: Just picking out that word ‘entitlement’, some of the early work we’ve seen around the development of the professional standards for teachers talks about the entitlement to be part of a learning community. Absolutely, we would be completely in support of that, but what does that mean in practice? Coming back to your point about ring-fencing funding for CPD, in principle, absolutely, funding should be ring-fenced for CPD. It’s vital. But if all we’re talking about is cutting up the same size cake in slightly different ways, and that cake is shrinking constantly, then that isn’t really addressing the issue that we’ve all talked about.


[61]      Mr Foden: One other point as well on teaching quality. There’s quite a lot of research that says that one of the most powerful tools for improving teaching quality is having teachers observe each other teach—peer observation, in a way that’s done in a non-threatening manner. What there still seems to be, certainly, I’m afraid, among some of the civil servants, is a lack of understanding about how that could be actually organised and paid for in school, because if I want to put two maths teachers together, or three teachers in a triad, then when one of them is teaching, the other two have to be free. The maths department, for example, will teach all of year 10 at the same time, so the only way I can release the other two teachers is by getting somebody in to cover them. If I get somebody in to cover them, supply teachers won’t come in, in the majority of cases, for a lesson, so I’ve got to be looking for a half-session, basically, assuming they will come in for half a session. So, there is quite a lot of organisation to do, which is fine, but there’s also quite a significant amount of cost, because, obviously, as this is a planned activity, internal cover is precluded by teachers’ pay and conditions. We discussed something similar when we were talking about post 16 with civil servants a few years ago. Some of the civil servants clearly didn’t realise that that sort of thing had to be arranged and that there was a cost to buying in supply cover. When I raised it, the response I got was, ‘I don’t do numbers.’ If that’s the level of understanding amongst some of the civil servants, then we’re all going to hell in a handcart, quite frankly.


[62]      Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Andrew.


[63]      Andrew R.T. Davies: Thank you very much, Chair. As I’m a substitute, forgive me if some of the ground has been covered in previous meetings, or whatever, but you introduced the INSET day formula, and most people, probably having enough service in this place now, remember the previous education Minister but one, who reduced the number of INSET days—Leighton Andrews—because, as politicians, we were getting it from parents that there were too many INSET days and too much disruption. I think it went down from eight to five, if I remember correctly.


[64]      Mr Phillips: No, that’s not actually correct. He didn’t reduce them. In fact, Leighton gave us, I think, two additional in-service training days, at one stage, to—


[65]      Mr Myfyr: And then took them away again.


[66]      Mr Phillips: He gave them, and then it snowed, and then he took them away because the schools had closed because it snowed. So, he decided we couldn’t have them anymore. But we have been arguing consistently ever since that, if you bring in new initiatives, you need to give more in-service training days so that teachers can meet and can talk about—


[67]      Andrew R.T. Davies: That, most probably, is my point: given that some were reduced because of snow or whatever else—there were fewer INSET days—you’ve said that, actually, they are beneficial. What, from your point of view, is a happy medium for the number of INSET days that would allow for meaningful teacher training and professional development? From your point of view, as professional representatives of the teaching profession, what do you think is a sensible balance of INSET days in an academic year?


[68]      Mr Foden: I think, given the implementation of the new curriculum, you should be looking at two additional INSET days in the next academic year, and two additional INSET days the following year.


[69]      Andrew R.T. Davies: So, you’re saying, on what we have at the moment, an additional two onto that. So, taking you back to where you were before, obviously, the previous two disappeared.


[70]      Mr Phillips: Yes, that’s what we’ve argued consistently. When the literacy and numeracy framework was brought in, we argued for having additional in-service training days to allow for training for that, we’ve argued over the digital competence framework to bring them in, and we’ve just put our response in to the school term dates for 2017-18, I think it is—


[71]      Mr Myfyr: It’s 2018-19.


[72]      Mr Phillips: Or 2018-19, I can’t remember, but we’ve made that argument in there for two additional INSET days. There’s a great need for additional in-service training days when you consider the amount of turbulence that there is within the education system. We’ve got changes—certainly, we’ve had all the changes to the GCSEs and they’ve come in, and we’ve got the digital competence framework, the literacy and numeracy framework and so on. All of that’s going on, and there’s work going on in pioneer schools, but we don’t know exactly what’s going on in the pioneer schools, so—


[73]      Andrew R.T. Davies: Do you, though, if you get your additional two INSET days, believe that they should be used in the traditional model, as I as a parent understand INSET days, because I did hear from some of the participants today that you actually think there are more imaginative ways that those INSET days could be used, where one school might have it and the other school doesn’t, so therefore it’s easier to share teacher experiences, et cetera? So, it’s not just a case of saying, ‘We want extra INSET days and we’ll carry on as we’ve traditionally used those INSET days’; it’s actually using them in a different way. Is that correct?


[74]      Mr Foden: I’m not sure there is actually a traditional way of using INSET days. For the first couple of years when pay and conditions were changed and the 190 plus five model was introduced, I think it was quite clear that a lot of schools had got very little idea what to do with the INSET days. In fact, the standard joke was that they were called ‘bidets’ because everybody had seen one, but nobody knew what to do with it. That model has long gone, and now we’ve got a number of creative ways of using the time.




[75]      So, we, for example, have staff on an October or November INSET day, going out to other schools, identifying good practice. We’ve grouped staff into professional learning communities. So, we’ll have a group of teachers looking at literacy, a group of teachers looking at digital competence, a group looking at the pupil deprivation grant, working with pupils from deprived backgrounds, and so on. They then are tasked to go out and identify schools where there’s good practice in relation to those areas. They go and visit, they spend time with the teachers responsible for those areas, observe teaching, and so on. As a model, that works well. What you can’t really do is to say to schools, ‘You will all close on such and such a day, in such and such a term’, because there won’t be the breadth of training providers around to support them. It will eliminate the model that I think you’ve been hinting at, which is actually having people going out to look at good practice.


[76]      Andrew R.T. Davies: As a parent—and for other parents—that’s the type of model that many of us think then is a traditional model, if you like. I take the point, that you say that there isn’t a traditional model, but, as a parent and not a teaching professional, if you like, you just hear that these dates get sent to you and the school is shut for professional development. Very often, if you’ve got kids in one primary school and kids in a secondary school, and the primary school is open and the secondary school is shut, that’s a bit of a nightmare when—[Inaudible.]


[77]      Mr Foden: It is inconvenient for parents. But the other thing, of course, that that gives you the scope to do is—and we have on a number of occasions—allocate an in-service training date, as a particular date on the calendar. So, it’s closed to pupils. We haven’t required the staff to come in on that day because what we’ve done is have five one-hour sessions, spread out over a number of weeks, where we’ve been able to cover topics. So, you introduce a topic, staff have got several weeks to reflect on what they’ve heard, and they come back, they’re put into working parties, and you can actually progress things, rather than by having a session for a whole day where, effectively, they’re talked at for half the day and then put into groups for the rest. You actually get an opportunity to consider an initiative, develop it, come back, report back, do some research work, and come back. That model works well. If you give that sort of discretion to schools, I think there is evidence that it does raise standards.


[78]      Lynne Neagle: Okay. I’ve got Ywain, who wants to come in.


[79]      Andrew R.T. Davies: Sorry, can I just take this a little further again, because I appreciate that there are a lot of you at the table? The other point I would just like to introduce, Chair, if possible, is why this training has to happen in the working week? With the devolving of teacher pay and conditions, in England you’ve got academies and, obviously, a far different structure now for terms and conditions, and schools being now able to offer incentives to attract certain teachers. If they’ve developed their skills, why can’t they do that on the weekend? Why can’t it be done on a Saturday? Why does it need to be done in the working week?


[80]      Mr Foden: We’ve already talked about the increase to teachers’ workload, and I think that—. You want people to participate in training and development with a positive attitude. You have to remember that the five in-service training days weren’t formerly pupil days. Those were five days that already came out of teachers’ holidays and so increased the working year by five days per year. You then have to think about what’s the availability of trainers on Saturdays. You might be able to send somebody on a course on a Saturday, but organising a large-scale event on a Saturday is going to be very, very difficult. If we’re talking about having people out in other institutions, you can’t do that on a Saturday.


[81]      Andrew R.T. Davies: What I’m specifically—


[82]      Lynne Neagle: No, no, no. I’m going to bring Ywain in now, and then Rex.


[83]      Mr Myfyr: Diolch yn fawr. Buaswn i’n hoffi ategu beth y mae’r ddau gyfaill wedi’i ddweud. Mae UCAC hefyd yn teimlo mai dau ddiwrnod fyddai’n ddelfrydol. Ond i fynd ymhellach na hynny, dau ddiwrnod sydd â’r ansawdd gorau posibl i’r hyfforddiant. Dyna ydyw’r allwedd, rydw i’n meddwl, yn y fan hon. Mae’n rhaid i’r hyfforddiant fod yr hyfforddiant gorau posibl. Mi ddaru i UCAC wneud ymchwil efo’n haelodau rai misoedd yn ôl ar yr hyfforddiant sydd eisoes wedi cael ei gynnig i ysgolion, i arweinwyr ac i athrawon ar y cwricwlwm. Mae’r ymateb a gawsom gan ein haelodau yn ddigon trist, a dweud y gwir: y mwyafrif llethol ohonynt yn dweud nad oedd yr hyfforddiant, o safbwynt arweinwyr—. Bron iawn 68 y cant o arweinwyr ein hysgolion ni yn dweud nad oedd yr hyfforddiant yn ddigon da. Roedd nifer ychydig bach yn llai o’n hathrawon, ond y mwyafrif eto yn dweud nad oedd yr hyfforddiant yn ddigon da. Felly, rydw i’n meddwl bod yn rhaid inni edrych ar hyfforddiant sydd yn mynd i symud ysgolion ymlaen, felly. Mae’n rhaid edrych, ac y mae’n rhaid ymgynghori i weld y ffordd orau o symud ysgolion ymlaen yn y maes hwn. Dau ddiwrnod ond hefo’r ansawdd gorau o hyfforddiant.


Mr Myfyr: Thank you very much. I would like to endorse what my two colleagues have said. UCAC feels that two additional days would be ideal. But to go further than that, two days with the best possible quality of training. That’s the key here, I think. The training has to be of the very best quality. UCAC undertook research with our members a few months ago on the training that has already been offered to schools, to leaders and to teachers on the curriculum. The response that we had from our members has been quite poor. The vast majority of them said that the training, from the point of view of leadership—. Almost 68 per cent of our school leaders said that the training wasn’t good enough. A slightly smaller percentage of our teachers said that, but the majority still said that the training wasn’t good enough. So, I think that we do need to look at the training that is going to move schools forward. We have to look at that and we have to consult to see the best way of moving schools forward in this area. Two days but with the very best quality of training.


[84]      Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Rex.


[85]      Mr Phillips: I’ll just come back to Andrew on the question that he asked about people giving up their weekends and their own time to undertake the training. I just think that’s totally unfair and very exploitative. Neil mentioned the point that those days were—. The five days that are there were school holidays. They were teachers’ holidays. They were stolen from us by Kenneth Baker, and they were called Baker days when they were taken off teachers. I remember that. Right? So, we would not surrender any others. You mentioned the devolution of teachers’ pay and conditions. What’s devolved will be what we’ve got at the moment. That’s what we’re expecting—what we’ve got; and we will fight tooth and nail to hold onto that.


[86]      I also don’t agree with the idea of the use of twilight sessions, because if you have a twilight session to replace a Baker day, our view would be that it’s one session for one day, full stop—not five sessions for one day. The use of twilight sessions, we believe, can be discriminatory because there will be people with carer responsibilities that won’t be able to attend those twilight sessions. If a school is running twilight sessions, they should be putting on that training for the teachers within the school day if they can’t attend the twilight sessions. So, that is not an approach that the NASUWT agrees with.


[87]      Andrew R.T. Davies: Can I just say that the point that I’m making to you—and I don’t say that I necessarily support it—is that instead of having national terms and conditions across the United Kingdom these days, there are more devolved, localised terms and conditions that schools can use that respect the professional qualifications that a teacher might bring to that position. Therefore, teachers, as individuals, and not necessarily the profession as a whole, suddenly find themselves in a far more attractive place when they go to look for new job opportunities that could be reflected. So, do you not think that it is incumbent on the teachers, if they so wish, to explore that professional development themselves and use it on the weekends? I hear the point that it would be difficult to organise it on a Saturday—many other professionals do it, especially in the medical profession, in order to move their careers on.


[88]      Lynne Neagle: I’ve got Rachel first, then Rex and then Neil, and then we are going to take some questions from other Members.


[89]      Ms Curley: I’ll answer first your question around the INSET days and how they’re organised and then the issue of Saturday working. I don’t think any of us are coming here saying that we want a top-down model of two additional INSET days, where it’s all completely prescribed for every school across Wales. When you look at what all the schools and FE colleges are facing in terms of the roll-out of the digital competence framework, the roll-out and implementation of the new curriculum, the training and CPD needs within the additional learning needs Bill, additional Welsh-language requirements—it’s huge. There will be innovative and creative ways in which schools, working together in groups of schools, will want to develop and implement those INSET days.


[90]      In terms of Saturday working, it’s going to be very interesting, isn’t it, to see the outcome of the workforce survey and the answers to the questions about the level of working hours that teachers and leaders are undertaking in schools? We know, from our members, that they are regularly working 50 or 60 hours a week and that includes Saturday working, and that includes Sunday. Teachers and leaders are regularly working at weekends. I think if you want buy-in about meaningful and high-quality professional development for teachers—and I’ve never met a teacher who doesn’t want that—to turn around to them and say, ‘Well, to prove your professionalism, you would need to rock up on a Saturday’—I don’t think you’re going to get the response you would want from the profession to that.


[91]      Lynne Neagle: Okay, Rex.


[92]      Mr Phillips: You mentioned, Andrew, that it would be up to the individual teacher. Of course it is, and teachers can go out on a Saturday if they want to, if they want to improve—well, not improve, but if they want to take further training, they can do that. We have no problem with individuals wanting to do that, but we will fight tooth and nail for their contract, and their contract is: 195 days and 1,265 hours. That has not changed yet and my understanding is that it will not change in Wales because we had a commitment from the First Minister to say that, in terms of pay and conditions, no teacher in Wales would be worse off than a teacher working in England. If that changes—and it can be made better; they can reduce the number of teaching days and increase the number of in-service training days, and we’d be happy with that—making it any worse than that would be a red-line issue for us as a trade union.


[93]      I think that Rachel has articulated the argument very well—teachers do give up a tremendous amount of their time for marking on weekends and so on. So, it’s not a 195-day job in that sense. Because of their professionalism, they devote numerous hours to making sure that the pupils in their charge are educated to the best of their abilities. All our surveys demonstrate the number of hours that teachers are working.


[94]      Andrew R.T. Davies: It’s good to see that Rex hasn’t lost any of his passion.


[95]      Lynne Neagle: I want to move on now, because we are getting bogged down on the issue of whether teachers should be working every hour God sends. Oscar.


[96]      Mohammad Asghar: Thank you very much indeed, Chair. Good morning to you. I listened to you very carefully, and some of the points I totally disagree with and some of the points I agree with very much. Great teachers produce a great nation—that is a fact. Some other countries in the world spend half of what we’re spending in Wales on our children and they get better results in PISA. Our teachers last year, in 2015, due to stress, lost 52,000 working teaching days in Wales. That’s a staggering figure. CPD—continuous professional development—is more important now than ever before. We all agree on that. So, the quality of our teacher training has declined in the last 15 years; you all agree with that. It’s not me; it’s a statistic. Also, Estyn has found that successful leaders have a strong culture of professional learning and teaching. Do you not agree that there is a need for a greater emphasis on continuous professional teacher training and what step—the question has been asked—do you believe needs to be taken to improve provision for teachers across Wales? I would give them every tool in our possession to make sure that they deliver the best teaching for our future children; whether the curriculum is changed or not, we must prepare for our next generation.


[97]      Lynne Neagle: Obviously, we’ve discussed this to some extent. Is there anything you’d like to add that you’ve missed out so far that you think is particularly key? Rex?


[98]      Mr Myfyr: Buaswn yn leicio dod yn ôl ar un pwynt a gafodd ei godi: yr hyfforddiant ar gyfer arweinwyr. Nid ydym wedi sôn am hyfforddiant ar gyfer arweinwyr yn ystod y cyfarfod. Rwy’n meddwl bod hyn yn allweddol: bod yr hyfforddiant o’r safon orau ar gyfer yr arweinwyr achos, yn y diwedd, dyma ydy’r ennill neu’r colli yn y fargen yma. Rwy’n meddwl bod yr hyfforddiant gorau i’r arweinwyr ac, i fynd yn ôl at bwynt gwnes i ei ddweud reit ar y dechrau, sef gwerthu’r cynlluniau. Rwy’n meddwl bod yna ffordd o ddod â’r arweinwyr yn rhan o’r hyfforddiant, efallai mewn ffordd well na’r hyn rydym yn ei wneud ar hyn o bryd. Rwy’n meddwl bod eisiau gwerthu’r holl syniadau yma yn llawer iawn gwell na’r hyn sy’n digwydd ar hyn o bryd fel eu bod nhw yn cael eu prynu gan y proffesiwn ac yn enwedig ein harweinwyr, ac yna bydd llwyddiant yn dilyn.


Mr Myfyr: I would like to come back on one point that was raised and that is the training for school leaders. We haven’t talked about training for school leaders up until now in the meeting. I think that this is crucial: that the training is of the best possible standard for school leaders because, after all, this is where we win or we lose in terms of this bargain. I think that the best possible training for school leaders and, to return to a point that I made right at the beginning, this idea of selling these schemes and programmes. I think that there is a way of bringing the leaders in to be part of the training, in a better manner than we’ve managed up until now. I believe that we need to sell all of these ideas in a much better way than currently happens so that there’s buy-in among the profession and particularly by our leaders and then success will follow from that.


[99]      Lynne Neagle: On this, Llyr?


[100]   Llyr Gruffydd: Jest i bigo fyny ar y syniad yma, mae gennyf brofiad o’r cymhwyster proffesiynol, y Cymhwyster Proffesiynol Cenedlaethol ar gyfer Prifathrawiaeth, ar gyfer penaethiaid. A oes gennych farn ynglŷn â’r ddarpariaeth yma?


Llyr Gruffydd: Just to pick up on this idea, I have experience of the professional qualification, the National Professional Qualification for Headship, for leaders. Do you have an opinion on that?

[101]   Mr Myfyr: Rwyf wedi darllen ychydig ar y syniadau newydd o safbwynt yr academi arweinyddiaeth. Rwy’n meddwl bod UCAC yn rhoi croeso gofalus i’r syniadau ac rwy’n deall bod yna newidiadau yn mynd i ddigwydd i’r CPCP. Rydw i’n meddwl bod yna elfennau da yn sicr, ond hefyd mae wedi troi rhai pobl i ffwrdd o fod yn arweinwyr—pobl, efallai, a fyddai wedi gwneud arweinwyr da—yn enwedig mewn rhai ardaloedd gwledig, fel sydd yn y gogledd yn sicr ac yn y gorllewin. Mae yna, fel yr ydych i gyd yn gwybod, brinder arweinwyr ar hyn o bryd yn ein hysgolion ni yng Nghymru ac mae angen gweledigaeth er mwyn sicrhau bod yna arweinwyr i fynd ag addysg yn ei blaen yn y dyfodol.


Mr Myfyr: I have read a little bit about the new ideas in terms of the leadership academy. I think that UCAC would give a considered welcome to those ideas and I understand that there are going to be changes to the NPQH. I think there are some good elements certainly, but it has also turned some people away from being leaders—people who might have been good leaders—especially in some rural areas, such as in north Wales certainly and in west Wales. As you all know, there is a shortage of leaders at present in our schools in Wales and we do need a vision to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of leaders to take education forward in the future.

[102]   Mr Foden: I share the concern, Chair, about the shortage of school leaders and it’s not just a question of headteachers, it’s further down management as well: it’s people going in to deputy headships, it’s people wanting to be heads of department. A school that I was previously involved with has been effectively without a head of maths for more than two years because they’ve been unable to recruit one. That’s not an uncommon situation. I have severe reservations about the NPQH because it’s effectively become a hurdle to jump through rather than something that offers professional development. The original model was weak on a number of important areas. It was weak on dealing with people and interpersonal skills; it was weak on financial management and it was weak on development planning. What we’ve now gone to effectively is a model where you’re collecting experiences and developing a portfolio of evidence, rather than actually being given proper training opportunities.


[103]   The other area I’d like to pick up on is the question about initial teacher education. We’re seeing far fewer really high-quality trainee teachers coming through. We’re a training partnership school and I don’t think that’s necessarily a criticism of the institution: it’s a reflection of the fact that university education departments and schools of education are finding it much, much harder to recruit high-quality graduates and a number of courses—. I know in Bangor University, for example, it was always the case that biology was reasonably attractive, chemistry less so, physics less so again. But, even the number of biology graduates now has declined markedly and there’s also a potential crisis in access to Welsh-medium education courses with a huge decline in numbers.




[104]   So, basically, teaching is no longer attracting, in my view, the best quality graduates into the profession and the schools of education can only work with what they get. There are still good teachers coming through, but there aren’t as many of them as there were.


[105]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Well, you’ve taken us seamlessly on now, really, into initial teacher training. Can I just ask each of you what your views are on Professor Furlong’s report and also how you feel implementation is going to date, please? Who’d like to go first—Ywain?


[106]   Mr Myfyr: Wel, mi gawsom ni, aelodau UCAC, y pleser o wrando ar yr Athro Furlong yn traddodi ac yn sôn am ei adroddiad yng nghynhadledd yr undeb yn 2015, ac wrth reswm, mi ydym ni wedi bod yn rhan o sawl ymgynghoriad ynglŷn ag ef ers hynny, felly. Croeso—croeso gofalus eto yn sicr, felly. Ond o’r hyn rwyf wedi’i weld—o safbwynt datblygiadau, o safbwynt sut mae gweithredu yr argymhellion—fedraf i ddim dweud â llaw ar fy nghalon fy mod i yn gweld bod trefn systematig ar gyfer hyn. Oes, mae yna fframwaith, mae yna griteria yr ydym ni wedi’u gweld a buaswn i ddim yn anghytuno efo hynny yn sicr, ond rwy’n meddwl bod angen llawer iawn iawn mwy o gig ar yr asgwrn fel ein bod ni’n gwybod yn union beth sydd yn mynd i ddigwydd.


Mr Myfyr: Well, we, as UCAC’s membership, did have the pleasure of listening to Professor Furlong as he talked about his report in the union’s conference in 2015, and of course, we have been part of many consultations in relation to it subsequently. Well, we’d give a cautious welcome, certainly, but from what I’ve seen—in terms of the developments, in terms of how the recommendations are to be implemented—I can’t put my hand on my heart and say that I do see that there is a systematic order in place for this. Yes, there’s a framework and there are criteria, which we’ve seen, and we wouldn’t disagree with those, however, I think that there is a need for much, much more detail so that we know precisely what’s going to happen.

[107]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Rex.


[108]   Mr Phillips: Well, again, like UCAC, we gave a cautious welcome to what Professor Furlong was saying, simply because he was looking at a process that blended practical with academic learning as well for teacher training, so we thought that there were some positives in that. We thought that the link between HE and the schools was good as well and would perhaps take us back to a situation—. You know, the training that I received when I trained as a teacher was through a teacher training college rather than through a university, but I think that that was a good foundation for teachers. That was a three-year course and I think that longer course is beneficial to training teachers.


[109]   We would be concerned about the support for the lead partnership schools in that and how much support they’ve got, making sure that there weren’t huge workload issues put onto the schools. All these things need to be workload-impact assessed and we’ve not seen much by way of workload-impact assessments coming out from the Welsh Government although we’ve continually asked for those.


[110]   The one thing we are clear about in terms of the consultation on initial teacher education or training was that we do not see the Education Workforce Council as being a body that would be suitable to be the accreditation body for initial teacher education in Wales. We don’t think it’s proved itself to be a body that could act responsibly to undertake that role, simply because of the way it’s conducted itself over the regulation of the teaching profession and the way it conducts its hearings and so on. So, we think, it’s not the same body—I know that Scotland has been pointed to, and their regulatory body for teachers there, but they are different animals. We’ve been quite clear that that shouldn’t be the route that we should go down.


[111]   The other thing that we thought, rather than putting the cart before the horses, is that we’re looking at professional standards that will form part of the induction standards, and yet we’re looking at the criteria for the initial teacher training. Those two need to be aligned, and we haven’t got professional standards yet, so we’ve asked for that whole process to be postponed until those professional standards are actually, we’d say, agreed with the trade unions. I don’t know whether we will reach agreement though.


[112]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Rachel.


[113]   Ms Curley: Yes. We’ve broadly welcomed the report and the direction of travel, the vision. I think there are obviously key questions around the implementation. I’d like to pick up—colleagues have already talked about the position in relation to the EWC and also the expectations on schools—I just want to pick up the point around FE. We’re disappointed that the proposals don’t include FE teaching and provision. Once again, that seems to be the forgotten sector and I really think that needs looking at, certainly in terms of the development of a new curriculum and, you know, the needs of lecturing staff. We now have a commitment that the professional standards will be extended to FE lecturers and FE staff, but we do think it’s regrettable that the ITE proposals have really not included any mention of that sector.


[114]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Neil.


[115]   Mr Foden: I think the move to involve schools more in initial teacher education is a sound one, because it’s one of the best ways, obviously, of getting practical experience. In order to do that, though, you have to have a medium and long-term plan in place, and make sure it’s sustainable, because there are obviously additional demands placed on schools and if these are done on a short-term basis, then schools are not in a position to make the structural changes to free staff up in order to provide the support and the guidance that there would otherwise be. The other thing I think you also have to accept is that there’s such pressure on schools now to perform in external examinations that a lot of teachers—and often very good teachers—are reluctant to have trainee teachers teaching their classes, for the fear it’ll have a negative impact on the standards they achieve in external examinations at the end of the year. So there is a real tension there, I think, between the wish on the teacher’s part to maintain standards, but also a wish to help train the next generation.


[116]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Llyr.


[117]   Llyr Gruffydd: Rydw i eisiau eich holi chi ynglŷn â thrafferthion recriwtio athrawon, os caf i, oherwydd rydym ni’n gweld o’r ffigyrau nid yw’r targedau o safbwynt y nifer sy’n cofrestru ar gyrsiau wedi’u cwrdd yn y bum mlynedd diwethaf, beth bynnag, ac mae yna nifer fawr o lefydd gwag ar y cyrsiau yma. Nid wyf yn amau mai popeth rydym ni wedi’i drafod yn barod yw’r ateb, ond beth sydd angen ei wneud i drio denu mwy o bobl i mewn i’r proffesiwn, a’i wneud o’n broffesiwn atyniadol i’r rheini?


Llyr Gruffydd: I want to discuss the difficulties in recruiting teachers a bit further, if I may, because we see from the figures that the targets for the numbers registering on courses haven’t been met in the past five years, and there are a great many empty places on these courses. I don’t doubt that everything that we’ve discussed already is the answer, but what do we need to do to attract more people into the profession, and to make it an attractive profession to them?

[118]   Mr Myfyr: Fe af i’n gyntaf. Wel, yn union. Rydw i’n meddwl ein bod ni wedi trafod bron iawn pob peth sydd yn ffactor yn yr hyn rydych chi wedi’i godi yn barod, felly. Yn sicr, rydw i’n meddwl, y brif ffactor ydy’r llwyth gwaith. Mae’r disgyblion a’r myfyrwyr yn ymwybodol o hyn, a phan maen nhw’n gwneud y penderfyniad o safbwynt gyrfa, mae hynny yn sicr yn ystyriaeth. Mae o hefyd yn bryder, nid yn unig recriwtio, ond y niferoedd mawr sydd yn gadael y proffesiwn ar ôl rhyw flwyddyn neu ddwy. Mae hynny’n bryder ofnadwy oherwydd mae yna niferoedd mawr. Mae yna niferoedd o’n haelodau ni ac aelodau’r undebau eraill sydd, ar ôl rhyw flwyddyn neu ddwy, yn sylweddoli, ‘Wel, mae hyn yn amhosib. Mae hyn yn amhosib. Rydw i’n gweithio cymaint ag y gallaf, ond eto nid yw’n ddigon.’


Mr Myfyr: I’ll go first, then. Well, precisely. I think that we have discussed nearly everything that is a factor in what you’ve raised already. Certainly, I think that the main factor is workload. Pupils and students are aware of this, and when they make the decision in terms of their career, that is certainly a consideration. It’s also a concern, not just in terms of recruitment, but also in terms of the large numbers who leave the profession after a year or two. That is an enormous concern, because we’re talking about huge numbers. There are a number of our members, and those of other unions, who after a year or two realise, ‘Well, this is impossible. This is untenable. I’m working as hard as I can, and yet it’s not enough.’

[119]   Mi fedraf i nodi mab i ffrind i fi ddaru roi’r gorau i swydd dysgu, wedi bod ynddi am ddwy flynedd, yn ddiweddar. Tra roedd o yn gweithio bob nos, bob nos yn ddiflino tan 9 o’r gloch, roedd y ffrindiau eraill a oedd efo fo yn y colegau yn gallu cael noson iddyn nhw eu hunain i fynd i’r sinema neu’r theatr, neu beth bynnag. Dyna’r math o broffesiwn mae ein myfyrwyr ni yn cychwyn ynddo fo, ac fel rydw i wedi dweud eisoes, nid yw’n gynaliadwy. Nid yw’n gynaliadwy. Mae’n rhaid gwneud y proffesiwn yn llawer iawn mwy atyniadol o safbwynt llwyth gwaith, trwy ei leihau o yn sylweddol, fel bod myfyrwyr yn cael eu denu i’r proffesiwn, a hefyd fel bod athrawon sydd newydd gymhwyso yn aros yn y proffesiwn.


I could note the son of a friend of mine, who gave up his teaching job after a couple of years. He was working every night, and that was without cease until about 9 o’clock. His other friends who he’d gone to university with could have a night to themselves to go to the cinema or the theatre or something like that. This is the kind of profession that our students are starting out in, and as I’ve said before, it’s not sustainable. It’s not. We have to make the profession much more attractive in terms of the workload, by reducing it significantly, so that students are attracted into the profession, and also so that newly qualified teachers remain in the profession.

[120]   Mr Foden: I think we’ve got a concealed crisis in schools at the moment, as far as teacher recruitment is concerned. There are obviously issues about the recruitment to initial teacher training courses, and I agree with my colleagues that the wastage rate in the first five years is also an issue. Now, that hasn’t necessarily manifested itself in huge problems covering classes, because as Rex said right at the start, over 1,000 teaching jobs have been lost, and obviously class sizes have increased as a result, so the shortages have been covered simply by deleting posts. Particularly in the primary sector, there are a number of instances in schools now where pupils are not being taught; they’re actually being supervised by a classroom assistant or a higher level teaching assistant. The PPA, the planning, preparation and assessment time, is very, very often done by somebody who doesn’t have a teaching qualification. Effectively, you have a situation where children are not being taught for the equivalent of a month in every academic year. If you had that provided by teachers, you would struggle to recruit. So, those sorts of things mask shortages. In the secondary sector, you have shortages being masked by people teaching second, third or, in some cases, even fourth subjects, and subjects in which they themselves have no qualifications post A-level. There’s been an awful lot of make-do-and-mend in schools, and if schools stuck rigidly to a programme of only having teachers teach classes in which they themselves have been trained at PGCE level, then schools wouldn’t function.


[121]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rex, and then Rachel.


[122]   Mr Phillips: To answer your question, I think you need to make teaching appear to be an attractive profession for people to want to go into it, but the constant denigration of the profession, the seizure on the PISA results and the artificial crisis that was created by Leighton Andrews over that has caused major harm to people wanting to go into teaching. Every year PISA comes out, everybody denigrates the profession. It’s all blame—the last Estyn report was blaming poor classroom practice, and I think behind that, they then blamed the leaders in the schools for allowing the poor classroom practice. All that does is encourage a culture of bullying in schools. We need to free ourselves of the high-stakes accountability culture that grips our schools; that needs to go, and teachers need to be able to get on with the job.


[123]   The other major issue is that we need to end the year-on-year cycle of redundancies in our schools. Training places have been cut, they were held steady, I think, last year in the colleges. But, you know, you’re training teachers but at the same time you’re making good teachers redundant in schools. There’s something fundamentally wrong with that, and it comes back to the funding. It comes right back to that. We shouldn’t be in a situation where there are teachers being made redundant and we’re taking on other teachers. The Teach First initiative that was introduced—we weren’t big fans of that because that was the assisted graduate teacher training programme; I think that’s what it was brought in for. The funding for that now is being withdrawn because I don’t think it was a success. I mean, there’s been a spin put on that, but, I think, if it was successful the funding would have carried on. I was disappointed to learn that the Central South Consortium are now buying into Teach First in their particular area. Now, where that money’s coming from I don’t know, because there’s no Welsh Government money going into that, as I understand it. So, they’re using money that’s going to the consortia that could be going into schools for that training programme, which I don’t think was successful.


[124]   It’s a conundrum for everybody, but the key to it comes back to the very start of this, and it comes back to funding. If you’ve got the places in schools and if schools have the funding to take on teachers, they take them on. But what governing bodies are doing is struggling with making people redundant; that’s the reality of it. Those two concepts are irreconcilable. You can do it through legislation as well, and that’s what the Welsh Government needs to look at: how do we go back to a system of avoiding redundancies and redeploying staff? Equally, you can solve that problem overnight with that £283 million—stick that into the schools budgets, we wouldn’t have redundancies, and you’d have the world-class education system that everybody aspires to.


[125]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rachel.


[126]   Mr Curley: Well, I agree. We would share your concerns about fewer trainees taking up those places, and when you couple that with the number of teachers leaving within the first five years of the profession, then you can see—. As Neil says, I think there are sticking plasters happening all over the place, and a lot of that is happening with support staff colleagues. We know that a lot of pupil deprivation grant interventions and a lot of the support for children and pupils with additional learning needs are delivered by teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and so on. So, I would agree with my colleagues in relation to problems around workload. The messaging is important about how attractive the profession is, and I’d also mention pay. You know, we’ve had pay restraints now since 2010. The 1 per cent pay restraint in the public sector continues, and at some point that’s going to impact in terms of how attractive teaching is as a graduate profession.


[127]   Llyr Gruffydd: Jest i ofyn felly, mae yna wrthdaro, mae’n ymddangos i mi, rhwng y dyhead yma i gael mwy o ddatblygu proffesiynol, i wella ansawdd, i recriwtio darpar athrawon o’r radd flaenaf, a’r angen i’w cadw nhw yn y proffesiwn, oherwydd beth rydym ni’n ei weld yw sefyllfa lle mae yna bobl nawr, efallai, yn mynd i gael eu gofyn i wneud gradd Meistr—cyrsiau pedair blynedd—ac felly mae’n mynd i fod hyn yn oed yn llai atyniadol, efallai, i rai pobl. Felly, a fyddech chi’n cytuno bod yna wrthdaro sylfaenol rhwng y gyriant yma i gael gwell ansawdd, ond ar yr un pryd i gynyddu nifer y bobl sy’n dewis hyn fel gyrfa?


Llyr Gruffydd: May I ask, therefore, it does seem to me that there’s this conflict or tension between our desire to have a greater amount of professional development, to improve the quality and to recruit prospective teachers of the highest calibre, and the need to retain them in the profession, because what we see is a situation where there are people who are now being asked to undertake a Master’s degree for four years, and that may be even less attractive for some people. So, do you think that there’s this fundamental conflict between the drive to improve the standards but also to increase the number of people who choose this career?


[128]   Ms Curley: Certainly.


[129]   Mr Myfyr: Yn sicr.


Mr Myfyr: Certainly.

[130]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. I’ve got Hefin and then Andrew on this.


[131]   Hefin David: I just had a comment regarding Teach First: we took evidence from the Cabinet Secretary on that, and one of the things she said was that it isn’t the process that’s the problem but the fact that only a third of the teachers stayed in Wales after completing the course. I’ve actually met students who’ve gone through the Teach First process and, actually, the principle, for those who want to do it, I don’t think is a bad thing.


[132]   Mr Phillips: I’m not saying—. Well, you say it’s not a bad thing, but it is Teach First, it’s ‘Come and have a go at it and then see whether you want to stay in it’. That was the whole fundamental principle of it, attracting—


[133]   Hefin David: Well, I disagree.


[134]   Mr Phillips: Well, that is my understanding of what Teach First was. The clue was in the name—that you came, and you had a go, you try it out, and then if you like it—. And it was to attract the high fliers—that was the purpose of it—but I don’t know—. I’m not sure—if you’re saying that what’s happened is people have come in and trained and then they’ve gone to work over the border, well, you know, that comes back to the funding issue, doesn’t it, because the schools in England are funded better than the schools in Wales? So, they see that it is more attractive to go over the border to work, and that’s how you get—. If you want people to stay, then you make better working conditions for the teachers in Wales.




[135]   Hefin David: I think the issue I’ve got is that the principle of learning intensively whilst working is not necessarily a bad thing. I think, whatever you badge it up as, whether you go to Teach First or whatever, the principle of that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


[136]   Mr Phillips: Not necessarily a bad thing, but the way that it operated—. We’ve had instances where we had schools where teachers were being made redundant in those schools, and those schools then were taking on Teach First trainees—


[137]   Hefin David: That’s a different issue.


[138]   Mr Phillips: —to come in and take their work off them. That’s where systems like that go wrong. On the job training—it’s okay up to a level, but it’s got to be that combination of the training and the academic learning that is necessary.


[139]   Hefin David: The academic learning can take place while you’re working.


[140]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, I don’t want to have an across-the-table debate on Teach First.


[141]   Hefin David: Well, I think it’s important—the way initial teacher training happens. I’d like to come in on something else, but I’m happy to take a step back if you’re ready to move on to the next topic.


[142]   Lynne Neagle: Were yours on the points that have been made?


[143]   Andrew R.T. Davies: On the points that have been made—just a couple of points of clarification, if I may. In our papers—. Rex has introduced that 1,050 teachers have been lost to the profession in Wales since 2010-2015. The NUT paper talks of 3,000 teachers lost in recent years. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of teachers. So, just a point of clarification: which one’s right?


[144]   Mr Phillips: Ours are based on the census figures from Welsh Government. So, if the census figures are correct, then ours would be—that’s taking the number of teachers that there were in 2010, and the number of teachers that there are in the 2015, I think, or 2016 census figures. So, that was the number that was used. Probably what the NUT is talking about is the number of redundancies over the last couple of years. That may well be it. But we’ve looked at the global figure in terms of pupil numbers just dropping by 58-whatever it was, and then the number of teachers dropping by over 1,000. Now, that’s almost—.


[145]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Is that a fair—? There is a hell of a difference in those figures, and if you look at the capacity in the teaching profession, the number of teachers obviously is a big driver of standards in the school.


[146]   Mr Foden: We’ve been looking at the number of jobs that have gone from local authorities, as a result either of natural wastage where people haven’t been replaced, or via redundancies.


[147]   Andrew R.T. Davies: I think the way you reference it is EWC—forgive me for not knowing acronyms—


[148]   Mr Foden: The Education Workforce Council.


[149]   Andrew R.T. Davies: That’s it—the Education Workforce Council. Well, the figures you quote are the Education Workforce Council’s then. Are they predicated on the census as well, or they include redundancies and other bits and pieces, would they?


[150]   Mr Foden: The EWC figures—. I can see why there’d be a difference between the two, because the EWC figures are the number of teachers who are registered. We’re not looking at the number of full-time equivalent posts that will have gone.


[151]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Right, okay. Do you have any evidence—because you’ve introduced this about redundancies and the number of redundancies, and I corroborate that, because my own school in Cowbridge has made considerable redundancies over the last academic year—? Have you, as the unions, got any information that could give us a taste of the scale of redundancies across Wales that are being made? I presume you might not have that now, but could you provide them in a note?


[152]   Lynne Neagle: Yes, and bearing in mind that we’re looking at teacher training and development.


[153]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Exactly. Well, you’re not going to train and develop if you’ve got redundancy over your head. That has been introduced by the unions, and I think it’s a fair point to understand the scale of the redundancies.


[154]   Mr Foden: We could provide those for you.


[155]   Mr Phillips: We certainly do that, and I know that, I think it was last year, ITV ran a freedom of information request on that and produced some statistics, but I don’t think they did anything last year. I think it was two years ago they did something.


[156]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Can I ask, then, that you provide us with a note of the scale of the redundancies around Wales over the last two or three years to give us an idea, because that has a demoralising impact on people who actually put themselves forward for training et cetera?


[157]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. We’ll try and clarify the other figures for you as well. Hefin.


[158]   Hefin David: Is initial teacher training all set and ready for the delivery of Donaldson in 2018?


[159]   Mr Foden: No.


[160]   Mr Phillips: No.


[161]   Mr Foden: Because schools aren’t either.


[162]   Hefin David: Okay. And what specific changes need to be made to initial teacher training in order to prepare for Donaldson in 2018?


[163]   Mr Foden: Can I suggest that the problem is actually the preparation for Donaldson, rather than initial teacher training? We’ve just become a pioneer school for maths and numeracy, and we went to the conference in Llandudno that all the new pioneer schools and a number of the existing pioneer schools had been invited to. I think it’s fair to say, first of all, we welcome the opportunity to be part of a completely different model of curriculum design, where the professionals are given an opportunity to contribute to the overall shape of the curriculum, and what will actually be taught. But there are several problems with that.


[164]   One, the confidence to do that has been knocked out of teachers over the years, because lots of curricula in the past have been top-down. Second, the pioneer model seems to be: a whole host of schools being told there’s going to be a jigsaw, and you’re going to be able to design your pieces in the jigsaw—we don’t know what the picture on the box is, and we’ve no idea what jigsaw pieces the other schools are developing. So, we’re all in danger of working in isolation. And people round the tables who I was talking to, in the course of the conference, were becoming increasingly worried that they spend a lot of time designing parts of the maths curriculum, sharing good practice, but they had got no real idea what the detail of the curriculum was going to be. Now, if that’s the situation for schools, you can’t prepare ITT to do it, because nobody, as yet, has a detailed map of what the curriculum is going to be. And I have a real worry that you’re not going to have a curriculum in place to offer to schools in 2018, and you’re going to miss the 2019 statutory deadline as well.


[165]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. I’ve got Rex next.


[166]   Mr Phillips: I was just going to say we’d echo that. I mean, I think that we put in our response that there’s nothing published yet. You know, we’ve asked our question, ‘When are we going to see what it’s going to look like?’ It’s being worked on, but I don’t share the confidence that it is being built by the profession for the profession, which was the idea of it. I don’t think it’s getting much further than senior management in many of the pioneer schools. I don’t think our members are being involved in building that curriculum at all. But the amount of information that we’ve got coming out of the pioneer schools is extremely limited. You know, I’m pleased that Neil’s is now a pioneer school, because we’ll maybe get a bit more information coming out, but, at the moment, no. You know, from what Neil’s described, there doesn’t seem to be any joined-up thinking on this.


[167]   Hefin David: Okay. We’ve gone off the topic of initial teacher training a bit, and I was hoping to focus on that.


[168]   Mr Phillips: Well, the two are linked, because you asked—


[169]   Hefin David: Okay.


[170]   Mr Phillips: Neil made the point. You asked whether people were going to be prepared to deliver it. How can you be prepared to deliver something that you don’t know what it looks like? That’s the point.


[171]   Hefin David: Okay.


[172]   Lynne Neagle: Ywain.


[173]   Mr Myfyr: Buaswn i’n hoffi dweud, i aros efo Donaldson am ychydig, fod UCAC, wrth reswm, yn croesawu’r sylwadau ac yn croesawu adroddiad Donaldson ar y cwricwlwm newydd. Wedi’r cyfan, hwn yw’r cwricwlwm cyntaf i ni yng Nghymru. Ond, mae’n rhaid inni hefyd, ar yr un tro, wneud iddo fo lwyddo. Mae yna bryderon—a buaswn i’n licio ategu beth sydd wedi cael ei ddweud o gwmpas y bwrdd.


Mr Myfyr: I would like to say, to remain on the issue of Donaldson, UCAC welcomes, it stands to reason, the comments and welcomes the Donaldson report on the new curriculum. After all, this is the first curriculum for us in Wales. But, at the same time, we have to ensure that it’s a success. There are concerns—and I would like to endorse what has been said around the table.


[174]   Rwy’n meddwl mai un peth sydd yn dod drwodd ydy bod yna anwybodaeth yn y proffesiwn. Efallai bod yna bethau yn digwydd yn y dirgel o safbwynt cynllunio’r cwricwlwm. Rwy’n siŵr bod yr ysgolion arweiniol yma yn gweithio yn ddygn, ond mae angen rhannu’r wybodaeth yna, fel bod gweddill y proffesiwn a gweddill yr ysgolion yn gwybod hynny.


I think one thing that comes through in all of this is that there’s a lack of awareness within the profession. Perhaps there are things happening behind the scenes in terms of developing the curriculum. I’m sure that these pioneer schools are working very hard, but that information needs to be shared with the rest of the profession and the rest of the schools, so that they know what’s going on.


[175]   I ddod nôl at y pwynt o safbwynt hyfforddiant cychwynnol, rwy’n meddwl ei bod hi’n hollbwysig bod elfennau ac egwyddorion Donaldson yn cael eu cyflwyno i’r myfyrwyr yn rhan o’u hyfforddiant, fel eu bod nhw’n cyrraedd yr ysgolion ac yn gallu bod yn rhan ac yn fricsen bwysig iawn, iawn, iawn yng nghyflwyniad yr ysgolion. Achos, wedi’r cyfan, mi allai’r myfyrwyr yma, neu’r athrawron newydd yma, fod, os liciwch chi, yn fwy ‘clued-up’ yn aml na rhai o’r athrawon sydd eisoes yn yr ysgol. Ac mae eu rôl nhw yn gallu—o’i gwneud hi’n gywir ac o’i gwneud hi’n iawn—ac yn mynd i fod yn bwysig iawn.


And to return to the point about initial teacher training, I think that it’s vital that elements and principles of the Donaldson report are presented to the students as part of their training, so that they arrive at the schools being able to be part, a very important part, in the introduction of the curriculum in the schools. Because, after all, these students, or these new teachers, could be more clued-up, if you like, than some of the teachers who are already in the schools. So, their role could—in ensuring that it’s done well—and will be very important.


[176]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rachel.


[177]   Ms Curley: I haven’t got a huge amount to add. I mean, I don’t think we’re trying to be difficult in answering—


[178]   Hefin David: No, not at all.


[179]   Ms Curley: You said: are you ready? The very easy answer is, ‘No, I don’t think we are.’ I mean, I do worry about the trainees who are applying now, who will be going in and starting courses later this year, they will be expected to come out and be ready to teach the new curriculum. And until we can actually articulate exactly what that is, and what that’s going to look like—. If Neil, leading a pioneer school, can’t yet, then there’s a gap, isn’t there?


[180]   Hefin David: There’s a gap between the top pioneer schools and what’s going on in the middle, and that isn’t informing—. That isn’t leading into teacher training programmes, and—


[181]   Ms Curley: Well, that’s going to obviously trickle down and have impact in terms of teacher training programmes, isn’t it?


[182]   Mr Foden: I think, Chair, it’s not so much a gap, I think what we’ve got is something that’s a bit more like an atoll—you’ve got lots of little islands of things going on, but there’s too much water in between them.


[183]   Hefin David: Okay.


[184]   Andrew R.T. Davies: That’s a good analogy.


[185]   Hefin David: Well, I’ve just got your bidet joke. [Laughter.]


[186]   Mr Phillips: All you need is a boat. [Laughter.]


[187]   Andrew R.T. Thomas: You’d get seasick then. [Laughter.]


[188]   Lynne Neagle: Did you want to come back on anything, Hefin?


[189]   Hefin David: Well, just reflecting on what you’re saying, there’s a chance, as the new curriculum comes in, through teacher training, that you’re going to end up with a group of teachers who aren’t trained specifically for it. But, as we become familiar with what it is, they will later on. So, there’s going to be a—. I put it to the Cabinet Secretary that there’s going to be a time lag. And it seems to me that you’re suggesting that the time lag is bigger than perhaps we expected it to be.


[190]   Mr Foden: Yes.


[191]   Lynne Neagle: Can I just ask NAWUWT: you’ve referred to some concerns you’ve got about the Education Workforce Council. Would you be able to just—? You’ve highlighted concerns about how you feel their previous role would not make them well fitted to take on the training aspects. Can you elaborate on that for the committee?


[192]   Mr Phillips: Yes. It’s our clear view that we don’t think that the Education Workforce Council, or the former body, the General Teaching Council for Wales, ever earned the respect of the teaching profession. And I think you can’t have a body that has not earned the respect of the teaching profession being an accrediting body for teacher training in Wales. It’s as simple and straightforward as that. And it comes back to the points I made earlier. It’s about the way in which they conducted themselves over their regulatory functions. In our view, they went for the sensationalism, they went for the public hearings, and our view is that what they did was really put people in the stocks in public. We felt that they did not respect a teacher’s human right to privacy. That’s not to say, where someone has done wrong, that should not be reported on, but the fact is you are brought before the council, the publicity is out there while the hearing is going on, and, then, if you’re subsequently found to have no case to answer, very little is said about that, but the damage to the teacher’s career has been done.


[193]   The GTCW and the Education Workforce Council say that their role is to work in the public interest. We believe that they’re certainly not working—. We don’t believe they’re working in our members’ interest, and we certainly don’t think it’s actually in the public interest to generate that publicity while hearings are going on. And that’s what we’ve constantly argued for. That’s why we don’t think that they are an appropriate body to undertake that role in terms of initial teacher education and training.


[194]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Was it on this?


[195]   Llyr Gruffydd: Yes, specifically on this. Can they redeem themselves, then? Can they become an appropriate body? Or what do they need to do?


[196]   Mr Phillips: Well, I don’t know. That’ll be up to them. They—


[197]   Llyr Gruffydd: What do you think they need to do?


[198]   Mr Phillips: They’ve in part put in places where—. They’ve got a process where they may not take everybody into a public hearing, but they could redeem themselves if they just respected a teacher’s human right to privacy in the first instance, rather than going for the sensational approach by having a public hearing. Even when a teacher says, ‘Yes, I’m holding my hands up to what I’ve done’, they still run the case. They still do that. Now that doesn’t happen in a court of law. If you say, ‘Right, I plead guilty’, you don’t run the case afterwards, but they run the case still. They want to put it out there. And what we’re told is they do that to send a message to other teachers. And that message is the wrong message. We’ll see; the jury’s out on what’s going to happen now. Their role has been extended to cover support staff in schools. We’ll see how they approach that and how the other trade unions feel about them, but we have our view, and we’ve been banging on about that for some considerable time. So, we wouldn’t see them as appropriate. I think it should be a separate body that looks at the accreditation for teacher education and training.


[199]   Lynne Neagle: Is that the view of the rest of the witnesses?


[200]   Mr Foden: I think they’re widely regarded as a regulatory body. To use another analogy, I think what you’re looking to do is to build an annexe onto a building in a completely different architectural style.


[201]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Thanks. Rachel.


[202]   Ms Curley: Well, we’ve certainly always argued, as ATL Cymru, that we’re concerned that the council is made up of people appointed. And we think it would go a long way if they were elected by the profession, and more representative in that sense.


[203]   Lynne Neagle: Anything to add?


[204]   Mr Myfyr: Buaswn i’n cytuno efo pob peth sydd wedi cael ei ddweud.

Mr Myfyr: I would agree with everything that’s been said.


[205]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. I’ve got Andrew, then Oscar.


[206]   Mohammad Asghar: Thank you very much, Chair.


[207]   Lynne Neagle: No, Andrew first.


[208]   Andrew R.T. Davies: I think time is getting on, and something I would have liked to have explored a bit more is leadership, and, in particular, the senior management in schools, because a lot of what we’ve talked about this morning does need that leadership to be delivered, it does. In a simple analogy, if 10 on a scale is that the ability to attract and retain headteachers and the senior leadership team is a crisis, and one is everything’s swimming along, how would you define the ability in Wales to fill those gaps in the senior leadership teams and, in particular, headships, because this has been a problem for quite some time? I can remember when I was education spokesperson for the Conservative group here in 2009, I think it was, and we took evidence from the National Association of Head Teachers that there was this crisis. So, 10 being that there is a crisis, one being that there is no problem at all, how would you define that in those simplistic terms?




[209]   Mr Foden: To be simplistic, I think if you went across Wales I’d say it’s probably a five or a six, but you’ve got an awful lot of areas where it’s a 10. There is a significant number of smaller primary schools now that that are being clustered or federated, not necessarily because it’s believed that’s genuinely the best management model for them, but it’s a response to not being able to secure a headteacher. As a school, we’re currently running a primary school and an infants school because they couldn’t recruit and they’re in our catchment area. That’s a stop-gap measure, and that sort of thing is happening quite regularly. It used to be the case that you’d get a field of maybe somewhere in the teens for a secondary headship. Over the last few years, it’s gone down to single figures. There are a number of schools in my area who’ve had no applicants at all. And, again, we’re not talking about no suitable applicants; we’re talking about literally no applicants.


[210]   Mr Myfyr: Fe fuaswn i yn hoffi ategu yr hyn mae Neil wedi ei ddweud, felly. Yn sicr, mae o’n amrywio o ardal i ardal; fe fuaswn i yn tueddu i ddweud efallai ei fod o’n bump a chwech mewn ambell i le, ond efallai hyd yn oed yn bedwar mewn ambell i le. Mae recriwtio yn broblem fawr iawn. Mae recriwtio yn broblem fawr. Mae yna nifer o ysgolion trwy Gymru heb bennaeth neu efo pobl mewn gofal. Mae’n rhaid mynd i afael efo’r broblem yma fel bod yr holl ddatblygiadau yma yn dod yn llwyddiant. Mae’r proffesiwn am i’r datblygiadau fod yn llwyddiant, ond mae’n rhaid i bob peth gydweithio a chyd-dynnu fel ein bod ni yn cael pobl sydd yn awyddus i fod yn benaethiaid, achos ar hyn o bryd mae’r pwysau gwaith a’r amodau ac yn y blaen yn eu gorfodi nhw i ddweud, ‘Na, dim i mi’, yn anffodus.


Mr Myfyr: I’d like to echo what Neil has said. Certainly, it’s variable from area to area; I would tend to say that it would be five and six in some areas, but perhaps even four in other areas. Recruitment is a very large problem. Recruitment is a big problem. There are many schools throughout Wales without a headteacher or someone in that position. We have to tackle that problem so that all these developments become a success. The profession does want these developments to succeed, but everything has to come together and pull together so that we get people who are eager to be headteachers, because at present the work pressures and the conditions and so forth force them to say, ‘No, this isn’t for me’, unfortunately.

[211]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Oscar.


[212]   Mohammad Asghar: Just very quickly—thank you very much, Chair. My question straight to the panel is: we need political will to change the education system to improve in future. That’s definite because the Cabinet Secretary wants to change the system. The curriculum is changing soon. There is a political will. What about the education system? Are you ready for the change, and how long will it take for you to adopt, for the teacher to improve themselves and come to the level that, actually, the education system needs?


[213]   Mr Foden: I don’t think anybody goes into teaching not wanting to improve, and I don’t think there is anybody who is afraid of change. The concern that there has been over the years is the pace of change and the number of initiatives. When Leighton Andrews was education Minister, he promised us there would be no education initiatives if they couldn’t be shown to add value. And, as a union, we responded to 16 consultation documents, I think, in the following 12 months. There has just been too much change. A lot of it is ill thought out. It’s not being designed by teachers for teachers and schools, and it’s just been, effectively, dumped on us and we’ve been made to make it work. That’s increased teachers’ workload quite significantly, and it’s come at a time where resources have become more and more scarce. So, there’s more change, more work that needs to be done to implement it, but with fewer and fewer resources available to do that as well.


[214]   And I think if you have change that’s planned and structured and it’s done on the basis of proper research—. Just to go back to the point I think it was that Llyr made, about the asymmetric school day, if you look at the research from Scotland that underpins that, it’s based on a very, very small number of schools and there’s very little evidence to suggest that it actually brings about improvements in standards. But that research is mentioned in papers that the Welsh Government has used. Well, unless you’ve got proper evidence that what you’re asking schools to do has a positive impact on standards, unless somebody’s done the research and the research is reliable, you shouldn’t be doing it, quite frankly. We’ve wasted an awful lot of time and money chasing initiatives that have run into the ground. The classic one is probably—I can’t even remember the name of the thing now—but it was the one that had that fancy diagram with concentric coloured circles—the school effectiveness framework.


[215]   Mr Phillips: The ‘wheel of fortune’, we called it.


[216]   Mr Foden: Yes. That existed as a diagram in headteachers’ offices and it went very little further.


[217]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Rex.


[218]   Mr Phillips: One of the things that I think needs to be looked at and needs to be changed is the funding system. We’ve mentioned the funding gap, but we’ve got a new curriculum coming in and, surely, we should be looking at funding schools on their ability to deliver that curriculum, not just based on the number of pupils that are in that school. There must be an element to say every school has to deliver the curriculum, so therefore you look at the curriculum first and you say, ‘This is the number of teachers that we will need to deliver that curriculum’. And that would be a much better way of funding our schools.


[219]   Of course, there’s a cost element to that, and that, I think, is the real problem. But, like Neil, I don’t think any teacher goes into teaching not to do the best for the pupils in their charge. But quite often that’s difficult, given the realities of their working environment. If you’re in a small primary school that’s just funded on its pupil numbers, it’s much harder than working somewhere else. I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re not attracting headteachers into the profession, because it’s all the other work that goes with that. Now, if all they had to do was concentrate on the delivery of the curriculum in their schools and improving their pupils’ education, if that’s what they were doing—if they did what their title says, ‘head teacher’, rather than having to be the administrator looking after the budget and so on, if they could concentrate on that, I think we’d be in a far better place. I’m really arguing for a return, I think, to more local authority control over school budgets rather than less. I think that that would be a better way forward.


[220]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Final remarks from Rachel and Ywain then, please.


[221]   Ms Curley: You say the political will is there, and you asked the question whether the workforce is committed—absolutely, they are. I think we’ve all welcomed the Donaldson review, the Furlong review, and the vision, but it’s now about how we implement that. As I said earlier, I have yet to meet a leader, a teacher, a member of support staff who doesn’t want to improve their practice, who doesn’t want to access training and development. The issue is that there are often barriers put in their way. So, I would say, yes, of course the will is there, but give them the tools to do it.


[222]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you.


[223]   Mr Myfyr: Buaswn i’n hoffi ategu pob peth y mae Rachel newydd ei ddweud rŵan. Hynny yw, mae’r ewyllys yn sicr yna. Mae’r ewyllys yn sicr yna, ond er mwyn cael y llwyddiant mae’n rhaid i’r ffactorau fod yna yn ogystal, felly. Rydym ni eisoes wedi clywed am ariannu; rydym ni wedi trafod rhain drwy'r bore. Mae gennym ni yr ariannu, mae’n rhaid cael yr hyfforddiant yn iawn, mae’n rhaid denu arweinwyr, mae’n rhaid denu pobl i’r proffesiwn, ac mae’n rhaid cael yr hyfforddiant iawn ar eu cyfer nhw. Os cawn ni’r ffactorau yma ac, yn bwysicach na dim, lleihau y baich gwaith sydd ar athrawon, yna, fel rydw i eisoes wedi ei ddweud, mae’r ewyllys yna. Mae gennym ni weithlu sydd yn awyddus iawn yng Nghymru i lwyddo a dod â llwyddiant i’r newidiadau yma, ond mae’n rhaid i’r ffactorau a’r hinsawdd fod yn iawn er mwyn hynny.


Mr Myfyr: I would like to endorse everything that Rachel has just said. The will is certainly there. It is certainly there, but to ensure success the factors have to be in place as well. We’ve heard about funding; we’ve discussed this all morning. We need the funding, we need the training, we need to get that right, we need to attract leaders, we need attract others into the profession, and we need to have the right training in place for them. If we get all of those factors right, and, more importantly than anything else, decrease the workload on teachers, then, as I’ve already said, the will is there. We have a workforce that’s very eager in Wales to succeed and to bring success to these changes, but the factors and the climate need to be right for that to happen.

[224]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, well we’ve come to the end of our time, so can I thank you all for attending this morning and for answering so many diverse questions? We do appreciate it. As usual, you will be sent a transcript to check for accuracy following the meeting. So, thank you very much for your time. The committee will break until 11 o’clock.


Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:53 ac 11:00.
The meeting adjourned between 10:53 and 11:00.


Trafod yr Adroddiad gan y Coleg Brenhinol Pediatreg ac Iechyd Plant:
Cyflwr Iechyd Plant
Consideration of the Report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health: State of Child Health


[225]   Lynne Neagle: Can I welcome Members back for item 3, which is our consideration of the report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health ‘State of Child Health’, which was launched last week? I’m delighted to welcome Dr Mair Parry, who is the RCPCH’s officer for Wales. Thank you very much for coming. Did you want to make any opening remarks?


[226]   Dr Parry: No, not really. I’m open to any questions and I’ll try my best.


[227]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. We’ve got lots of questions in lots of different areas. If I could just start on the general issue of child health strategy, one of the recommendations in the report is that the Welsh Government should have an evidence-based child health and well-being strategy for the whole of childhood. Can you expand on what you think the benefits are that that would bring and how you would like to see that developed?


[228]   Dr Parry: I think the basis of that recommendation is that this is not just a medical approach or a Government approach; it needs to be a team approach and a societal approach, doesn’t it, starting really pre-conception with the education of children and young people in schools and the development of the curriculum to encourage schools to provide appropriate personal, social and health education in schools, and that that is measurable.


[229]   At the moment, it’s not part of what Estyn look at, but perhaps it should be—perhaps that’s not the answer—but to make it measurable and to achieve a certain standard and deliverable. That then carries through to health education for, particularly, young girls, particularly regarding choices about parenting and about health and well-being prior to conception and during conception—that it doesn’t just happen to them, but that it’s planned and it’s appropriate. That leads on to the support of young mothers, particularly, but all mothers—that we increase and that we have appropriate support in midwifery and health-visiting for all mothers, but particularly to redistribute that to young mothers or to young mothers who are living in poverty in particular. It’s things like the expansion of Dechrau’n Deg—the Flying Start scheme—so that it’s more accessible to all.


[230]   So, it’s not just about health; it’s about everything. Perhaps the Government could help us to measure those things so that we know that they work. Because there have been examples of such schemes that don’t show any benefits, and we don’t want to be wasting resources on those schemes. We need to be measuring the schemes we’ve got and applying them across society, and then reviewing them, and if they’re successful, we continue with that. If they’re not, accept that it didn’t work as we would have liked, but perhaps there’s another model. It’s more about the ethos of working together and of it being a society approach to health and wellbeing.


[231]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Another thing that you’ve recommended is that all the policies should be tested for child health impact, I suppose. Obviously, we’ve got the children’s rights Measure in Wales and all these decisions are meant to be tested for impact on children. How satisfied are you that that is being done effectively in relation to health services and tackling health inequalities?


[232]   Dr Parry: To be honest with you, if you’d have asked me this question three years ago, I would have said ‘very dissatisfied’. We had significant concerns. Just to give you some specific examples—and it might seem that I’m bearing a grudge and still going on about it—but there were some key documents published a few years ago. One was on standards of care for respiratory services. If you did a word search for the word ‘child’ or ‘children’ in that document, it didn’t come up once, despite asthma being the commonest chronic disease of childhood, and despite bronchiolitis being one of the commonest reasons for a child under one to be admitted to hospital in Wales—no mention, nothing. Similarly, for the diabetes; similarly for the neurodisability and for the neurology—nothing. That’s shocking, really. It’s something that people should be very, very ashamed of.


[233]   Since then, given that every response we made to all of these documents was ‘what about the children, what about the children, what about the impact on—’, there has been a demonstrable improvement, but it has still not threaded its way through everything. It should be absolutely standard for every decision we make and every discussion that happens, even if you think it’s only an indirect impact. There is no way that it won’t have an impact on children; it will. However indirect or vague the connection to child health is, there will be an impact. So, things like planning our towns and cities—where the schools are placed, where the green areas are—there should always be a very clear assessment of impact on child health, and that is something that we’ve done a lot of work on, but there’s a lot of work to do again. So, I’m somewhere between dissatisfied and—I’m somewhere in the middle at the moment.


[234]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Llyr.


[235]   Llyr Gruffydd: Bore da. Rydw i jest eisiau sôn ychydig am iechyd deintyddol. Mae yna sôn am hyn yn yr adroddiad Prydeinig ond nid yw o reidrwydd yn cael ei amlygu yn yr adroddiad Cymreig. Rydw i’n gweld rhai o’r ffigyrau sy’n cymharu iechyd deintyddol yng Nghymru â gwledydd eraill, ac mae’n dangos darlun sy’n annerbyniol, buaswn i’n dadlau—hynny yw ein bod ni’n cwympo ar ei hôl hi a hefyd bod yr achosion yn uwch mewn sawl sefyllfa yng Nghymru nag y byddem yn sicr yn dymuno. Beth yw eich asesiad chi o sefyllfa gwasanaethau deintyddol i blant ar hyn o bryd?


Llyr Gruffydd: Good morning. I just want to talk a little about dental health. There is reference to this in the British report, but it’s not necessarily reflected in the Welsh report. I see some of the figures comparing dental health in Wales with other countries and it shows a picture that I would argue is unacceptable—namely that we are falling behind and also that the rates are higher in many situations in Wales than we would certainly wish to see. So, what is your assessment of the state of dental services for children at present?


[236]   Dr Parry: Wel, mae hwn yn rhywbeth eithaf newydd ar ein radar ni, os leiciwch chi, fel meddygon. Mae hynny’n swnio’n ofnadwy, ond yn amlwg, rydym yn gwybod am y problemau ers blynyddoedd. Rwy’n meddwl bod yna lot o resymau y tu ôl i’r peth: mae yna broblemau efo teuluoedd yn medru ffeindio deintydd, ac nid yn unig ffeindio deintydd ond ffeindio deintydd cyfleus. Rydym ni i gyd yn gwybod hynny o brofiad. Rydych yn gorfod ffonio degau, weithiau, o lefydd i ffeindio lle i roi eich plant. Felly, mae yna broblemau efo hynny. Mae hwn ynghlwm iawn efo plant difreintiedig. Y lleiaf o arian sydd gan y teulu, y lleiaf tebygol ydynt o fynd at ddeintydd yn rheolaidd a lleiaf tebygol ydynt o fedru glanhau eu dannedd, am amrywiaeth o resymau, yn rheolaidd. Felly, mae yna broblem efo hynny efo teuluoedd difreintiedig yn methu, am amryw o resymau, i edrych ar ôl dannedd eu plant. Eto, mae gennym i gyd gyfrifoldeb dros hyn. Pan rwyf i mewn clinig—nid deintydd ydw i ac ni fedraf smalio bod gennyf arbenigedd mewn dannedd plant—ond pan rwyf mewn clinig, dylwn i fod yn sbïo ar eu dannedd nhw hefyd, ac os rwy’n gweld bod yna drafferth—. Weithiau, mae jest eisiau pwnio rhieni a dweud ‘Dyw eu dannedd nhw ddim yn lân heddiw, a ydych chi wedi anghofio eu glanhau?’ Nid yw'r pethau yma yn hawdd eu dweud, ond mae gennym ni gyfrifoldeb. Rwy’n meddwl bod yna broblem efo pobl yn medru ffeindio deintydd. Mae yna hefyd, a dweud y gwir wrthych chi, ymysg plant efo lot o anghenion meddygol—. Er mwyn gwneud ffisig plant yn neis, mae yna lot o siwgr ynddo. Mae gennym gyfrifoldeb fel meddygon am hyn. Y mwyaf o ffisig y mae plant yn gorfod ei gymryd, y mwyaf anodd yw eu cael nhw i’w gymryd. Felly, mwy o siwgr sydd ynddynt, a dweud y gwir. Er bod yna lot o bethau wedi newid efo hynny’n ddiweddar—mae yna lot o ffisig rŵan sydd ddim efo siwgr—mae yna dal rhai ohonyn nhw. Naill ai mae’n amhosib cael ffisig heb siwgr neu mae’n anodd iawn cael y plant i gymryd y fersiwn heb siwgr. Felly, mae gennym ni i gyd ychydig bach o gyfrifoldeb.


Dr Parry: Well, this is something that’s quite new on our radar, if you like, as doctors. That sounds terrible, but we’ve known about the problems for years. I think there are a great many reasons behind this: there are problems with families being able to gain access to a dentist, and not only finding a dentist but finding a conveniently located dentist. I think we all know that from experience. Sometimes, you have to phone tens of times to find a place for your children. So, there are problems in that regard. This is very much tied up with children from deprived backgrounds. The less money a family has, the less likely they are to go regularly to a dentist and they’re less likely to be able to brush their teeth regularly. So, there are problems with that with families from deprived backgrounds failing to care for their children’s teeth, for various reasons. Again, we all have a responsibility for this. When I’m in a clinic—I’m not a dentist and I can’t pretend that I have expertise in children’s teeth—but when I’m in a clinic I should be looking at their teeth as well, and if I see there are problems—. Sometimes, you just need to nudge the parents and say ‘They’re teeth aren’t very clean today, have you forgotten to brush their teeth?’ These aren’t easy things to say, but we have a responsibility. I think there is a problem with people accessing a dentist. There is also, amongst children with many medical needs—. In order to make medicines for children taste nice, there is a lot of sugar in that medicine. We have a responsibility as doctors for this and the more medicine that children have to take, the more difficult it is for them to take that medicine. So, there is more sugar in them. Although there have been changes recently—with a lot of medicine now without sugar—some of them will still have sugar. It’s either impossible to have medicine without sugar or it’s very difficult to get the children to take the version without sugar. So, we do all have a responsibility.

[237]   Llyr Gruffydd: Buaswn i’n tybio bod yna gyfrifoldeb hefyd o safbwynt gwasanaethau sy’n cael eu darparu drwy ysgolion.


Llyr Gruffydd: But I would think that there would also be a responsibility in terms of the services provided through schools.

[238]   Dr Parry: Oes.


Dr Parry: Yes.

[239]   Llyr Gruffydd: Rwy’n ymwybodol ac rwy’n nodi, efallai, bod yna wasanaeth symudol yn yr ardal lle rydw i’n byw, Betsi. Mae darpariaeth symudol deintyddol wedi bod ac rwy’n meddwl eu bod nhw wedi profi rhyw 4,000 o blant yn y flwyddyn ddiwethaf a bod rhyw 500 o’r rheini wedi cael eu cyfeirio neu wedi bod angen triniaeth. Ond mae’n debyg nad yw’r cerbyd hwnnw nawr mewn service oherwydd nad yw e ddim yn addas i fod ar y ffordd. Felly, mae hynny’n awgrymu i fi, os oes yna 500 allan o 4,000 angen triniaeth bellach, ei bod hi yn broblem sylweddol.


Llyr Gruffydd: And I am aware, and I would note, that there’s a mobile service in the region where I live, in Betsi. There have been mobile dental services and they’ve had about 4,000 children that they’ve seen, and about 500 of them had been referred to them as needing treatment. But apparently that vehicle is no longer in service because it’s not fit to be on the road. So, that suggests to me that, if there are 500 out of 4,000 with a need for further treatment, this is a significant problem.

[240]   Dr Parry: Y rheswm mwyaf cyffredin i blentyn gael anesthetig cyffredinol—general anaesthetic—yw i gael tynnu dannedd wedi pydru, ac mae hynny’n ddychrynllyd, onid yw?


Dr Parry: The most common reason for a child to have general anaesthetic is to have their teeth taken out, and that’s terrible, isn’t it?

[241]   Llyr Gruffydd: Roeddwn i jest yn edrych ar y ffigurau sydd yn yr adroddiad, ac roeddwn i’n gweld bod yna un tabl fan hyn sy’n rhannu yr achosion o broblemau gyda dannedd yn ôl pum categori o amddifadedd.


Llyr Gruffydd: I was just looking at the figures within the report and I saw that there is one table here that breaks down the causes of dental problems according to five categories of deprivation.

[242]   Dr Parry: Pa dudalen? Fel ein bod ni’n sbïo ar yr un peth.


Dr Parry: Which page was that, so that we’re looking at the same thing?

[243]   Llyr Gruffydd: Pedwar deg saith yn y prif adroddiad Prydeinig. Roeddwn i jest yn gweld—yn y pedwerydd quantile, mae Cymru llawer iawn yn uwch, a’r pumed quantile ydy’r lleiaf difreintiedig. Roeddwn i jest yn meddwl: a oes yna ryw esboniad posib am hynny?


Llyr Gruffydd: Forty seven in the main British report. I could just see that in the fourth quantile Wales was much higher, while the fifth quantile was the least deprived. Is there any reason for this?


[244]   Dr Parry: Rwy’n meddwl mai un o’r problemau sydd gennym ni efo niferoedd Cymru ydy y lleiaf ydy’r nifer, y mwyaf o blips rydych chi’n eu gweld—sydd yn blips, ac nid—. Felly nid yw’n cymryd lot mwy i wneud iddo edrych fel ei fod yn wahaniaeth mawr. Rwy’n meddwl, yn y ddogfen yma, os ydych chi’n sbïo ar Ogledd Iwerddon, maen nhw’n cael lot o wahaniaethau oherwydd bod yna lot llai o blant yna. Os oes gennych chi ddim ond 50 o blant i’w cyfri, os oes yna ddau un flwyddyn a 10 y flwyddyn nesaf, mae’n gwneud gwahaniaeth mawr. Felly, rwy’n amau mai dyna ydy’r gwahaniaeth, eu bod nhw jest ddim yn cyfrif—bod yr N total ddim gymaint. Felly, rydym ni’n gweld y peaks and troughs yn haws. Rwy’n amau mai dyna ydy o, achos nid oes yna eglurhad arall a dweud y gwir. Mae o’n od.


Dr Parry: I think one of the problems that we have with numbers in Wales is the lower the number, the more blips that you see—which are blips, and not—. It doesn’t take much more to make it seem as if there’s a great difference. I think in this document, if you look at Northern Ireland, they have a lot of variation because there are far fewer children there. So, if you only have 50 children to count, if there are two one year and 10 the next year, then it does make a huge difference. So, I suspect that that’s the difference, that they’re just not counting—that the N total isn’t as much. So, you do see these peaks and troughs more easily. I suspect that that’s the reason, because there’s no other explanation really. It’s very odd.


[245]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ocê, diolch. Diolch am esbonio. Felly, a ydych chi’n teimlo bod yna ddigon o raglenni yn bodoli o safbwynt dannedd plant? Oherwydd mae rhywun yn ymwybodol—rwy’n mynd i ryw sioeau ac eisteddfodau ac mae yna stondin iechyd cyhoeddus ac maen nhw’n rhoi brwsys dannedd allan a phethau felly. Mae yna wasanaethau mewn ysgolion lle maen nhw ar gael. A ydy’r ymateb yn ddigon bwriadol ac wedi’i gydlynu’n ddigonol i sicrhau ein bod ni yn cyfro’r bases i gyd?


Llyr Gruffydd: Thank you for that explanation. So, do you feel that there are a sufficient number of programmes in place in terms of children’s teeth? Because one is aware that you’ll go to shows and eisteddfodau and there’s a public health stand and they give out toothbrushes. There are services within schools and there’s a certain availability there. But is the response sufficiently co-ordinated to ensure that we’re covering all bases?


[246]   Dr Parry: Rwy’n meddwl bod y ffigurau yma’n dangos eu bod nhw ddim—nad oes yna ddigon. Achos, yn y sioeau yma—rwyf innau wedi bod hefyd—ond rydym ni’n dewis mynd iddyn nhw, onid ydym? Nid yw pawb yn dewis mynd. Yr hen inverse care law ydy o efo dannedd, yr un peth; nid yw’r bobl sydd â’r angen mwyaf, efallai, ddim yn medru neu ddim eisiau mynd at y pethau yma.


Dr Parry: I think these figures show that they aren’t—that they are insufficient. Because in those shows—I’ve been to them as well—we choose to go to them, and not everyone chooses to go. It’s the inverse care law with teeth as well, isn’t it? The people who have the greatest need perhaps can’t or don’t want to go to these things.


[247]   Llyr Gruffydd: Diolch.


[248]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. The report makes repeated calls for new methods of data collection that are more consistent across the UK. Are you able to highlight any particular areas where you feel the lack of that data is having an impact on child health?


[249]   Dr Parry: I think there are two big areas that stand out in this report. One is child deaths, isn’t it, which we are working on. The child death data is England and Wales lumped together, and that’s partly because of the effect I was talking about earlier, that our numbers are so small—which is a good thing—that peaks and troughs are amplified. People can think, ‘Well, if twice as many children died one year than last year, then something horrific must have happened’, but actually it was just a blip. So, there’s a little bit of that. I think that’s maybe something that we need to bear in mind when we’re looking at separate data.


[250]   From the child death point of view, we are part of the Office for National Statistics data and it’s England and Wales together. There is, however, a child death review study in Wales now, which has been ongoing since—it’s only started relatively recently, so the figures aren’t in this. So, when we revisit the state of child health, we would hope that we’d have the ONS data for England and Wales, but we would also have the separate Wales data. And every child death in Wales, plus every Welsh child that dies if they’re outside of Wales at the time of death, gets recorded and we all have a responsibility to report and give certain baseline information on that death and whether it was preventable et cetera. So, from that point of view, we hope that, the next time we revisit the state of child health, we will be able to untangle the data. 


[251]   Then, the other big group is the obesity measurements, or the growth and nutrition measurements. In England, they are measuring height and weight at the end of year 6 or the beginning of year 7, and we are not doing that in Wales. There’s a missed window, really. There’s a missed opportunity to make changes because, certainly, we know that, on entry to primary school, our children are heavier, and the heaviest in the UK. They are heavier than they should be and the heaviest in the UK. But we have no data on that key point, which is actually really important in children. They’re becoming slightly more independent, they’re making their own choices. Their parents aren’t there all of the time. There’s a window there, really, where we might be able to make a difference. So, if I could choose two, they are the two.




[252]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. John.


[253]   John Griffiths: Yes. The inverse care law, of course, applies very much to child health and children in our more deprived communities in Wales. There’s a requirement—I think we would all agree—on the health boards and Public Health Wales to understand the issues and how children from more deprived backgrounds could receive better health services. Are you satisfied, from your report, that there’s enough rigour in the system? Do we really know where the child poverty issues lie? Do we know whether health boards are tackling them effectively and whether Public Health Wales is tackling them effectively? Is there enough information, statistical analysis and accountability in the health system in Wales?


[254]   Dr Parry: This is a report. This is not an economic report or a report on rates of deprivation. It’s a report on the health of the children, and linking that to what we already know. We’re going about it the other way around, I guess, aren’t we? We are starting with health and trying to link that to deprivation, whereas maybe you’re talking about measuring deprivation and linking it with health.


[255]   John Griffiths: Well, I think it’s about the resource—you know, the health spend that’s directed towards dealing with those issues of children from more deprived backgrounds and the health needs that they have. So, is there accountability in the system to know whether need has been identified and appropriate resource allocated?


[256]   Dr Parry: I think it could be better, if that answers your question. I think the prime example is Flying Start, isn’t it? It is a great resource. It’s time-intensive, it’s cost-intensive, but we know that it does make a difference, and it has been rolled out to certain areas, depending on postcode. There are problems with that. There are families living next door who would get it, and there are families who would need it but don’t get it. So, I think we have a long way to go, but I think that’s one of the recommendations we made—that things such as Flying Start are rolled out. Does that answer your question? Is that an example of what you’re asking, or am I missing the point? I’m feeling that I’m missing the point.


[257]   John Griffiths: No, that’s relevant, but if we looked at health boards, for example, they identify need in their areas. Are they then allocating sufficient resource so that those children in the more deprived backgrounds are not suffering the inverse care law?


[258]   Dr Parry: Okay, so smaller pockets within larger areas rather than looking at all of Wales.


[259]   John Griffiths: Well, no, I think it’s relevant to all of Wales, isn’t it? Because, obviously, the health boards cover all of Wales. I’m interested, really, in to what extent we are able to say that, right across Wales, health boards, for example, who are tasked with front-line delivery, are identifying the needs of children from more deprived backgrounds and dealing with those through the allocation of resources and effective services.


[260]   Dr Parry: I work in Betsi Cadwaladr in north-west Wales. My personal experience is that the health board is well aware of the pockets of deprivation. There’s an intention to provide services in a different way to meet the needs of the populations. Particularly where I work, places like Blaenau Ffestiniog are a long way away from the hospital, and we do provide different services there, but I think there’s a gap between the intention and the reality of the services that are delivered there. Whether that’s a resource or a lack of commitment, ‘I’m not quite sure’ is the honest answer.


[261]   John Griffiths: Of course, there’s no hypothecated funding for children’s health services.


[262]   Dr Parry: No.


[263]   John Griffiths: So, that makes it difficult, I guess.


[264]   Dr Parry: We are forever battling and jumping up and down and saying, ‘What about the children?’


[265]   John Griffiths: Would you like to see that?


[266]   Dr Parry: Yes, in the same way that we’re asking for the Government to consider the needs of children. That goes across society, whether we’re talking about schools, about health, the needs and how this impacts. Health services are traditionally designed for adults, and then children services are latched on—bolted on. They shouldn’t be. We don’t think that that’s the way to do it. They should be designed for children from the word ‘go’. The way that children access health services is different. They are not little adults. They are different. Their needs are different, but the way that they access services is different as well. I think the health boards do acknowledge that, but perhaps there’s a gap between how we’d like to see it delivered and how it’s actually delivered. Whether that gap is, as I say, due to lack of funding or lack of intention, I’m not quite sure.


[267]   Lynne Neagle: In your report, you make the case for a strong emphasis on primary care to mitigate the impact of poverty. Can you maybe give us some idea of what you’d like to see develop in that area that’s not happening now?


[268]   Dr Parry: There’re a few things, to be honest. Most child health contacts are with primary care, whether that’s the GP, the practice nurse, or the health visitor—it’s out in the community. I see a tiny proportion of sick children, really, in the grand scheme of things, don’t I? And that is where we can make the most difference. That’s where the prevention work starts, that’s where the promotion work starts, and that’s where we’ll get more for our money, if you know what I mean. Certainly, traditionally, family GPs didn’t have to have experience of hospital paediatrics, and, as part of their training we’d like to see that become mandatory, and slowly, slowly that is becoming the norm. Although it’s still not mandatory by any means, slowly, slowly it’s becoming the norm, and you get a sort of critical mass where people see the benefits and therefore want to do it, and then it gets better and better, and we’re at the tipping point of that now. So, we’d like to see that all GPs have to spend a period of time working in child health. Certainly, there’s a service delivery component of it, but it’s about training them to be good GPs. It’s not about training them to be paediatricians. It’s about training them to be GPs with some expert knowledge of child health.


[269]   Likewise, health visitors will often come from a non-paediatric background, and they are trained as health visitors, but we would like to see it become more normal for them to have a child health background as well. They can come from everywhere at the moment, which is excellent, because you don’t just need the child health skills to be the health visitor; you need to be able to engage with the mother as well, and there are maternal health issues that you need some expertise about. Again, we need a more rounded approach to those. And, when it comes to the mental health aspect of it, then we are not just talking about healthcare providers, are we? We are talking about everybody who has any contact with children—that they need to have a certain level of training about recognising children who are in distress, and how to then forward them to the appropriate services, hopefully out in the community. Most children with mental health problems don’t need to see child and adolescent mental health services, but they do need to see somebody.


[270]   Lynne Neagle: Okay, thank you. Andrew, on this.


[271]   Andrew R.T. Davies: If I may, Chair, introduce the point about the community, and you said about GPs in particular having exposure to working with young people as part of their training and development. In the third Assembly, there was a Government initiative to have every school have an identifiable school nurse within, obviously, the remit of services and help that they could bring forward. How has that initiative panned out in the intervening years? And how much of that infrastructure is still in place for schools to have that identified school nurse who, I would assume, is a key component of delivering much of what your report is talking about?


[272]   Dr Parry: From my experience, it has worked quite well up to a point. Schools do have an identifiable school nurse. A school nurse these days is completely different to 20 or 30 years ago. They don’t do the immunisations in the same way; things are different. I think one of the big problems we have is recruitment and retention of schools nurses. It’s a relatively stressful job. There’s a lot of counselling and support, and mental health work is involved That’s now part of the school nurse role. Unfortunately, because of gaps in the services, we do get nurses having to cover a variety of schools that, in the rural areas of Wales, may be a long distance apart. They spend a lot of their time on the road between one school and the other. So, progress has been made, but I think there’s room for improvement. Their role is vitally important in managing these sorts of chronic health needs at school, including children in mainstream school when that’s appropriate, and enabling children to achieve their potential through their education despite, perhaps, having some health needs as well.


[273]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Can you take that a little further? As I said, in the third Assembly, it was a political priority and the Government’s priority for every school to have a school nurse. Now, it’s one thing having a school nurse named on paper; it’s another thing actually being able to practically have that service available to them and delivered day-to-day in the school week. Is it fair to say that the bulk of schools today do have a functioning and viable school nurse structure to support them in their health messaging and health support needs? Or is it merely a paper exercise in many instances, because of the staffing issues that you talked about, and finding people to fill those spots?


[274]   Dr Parry: I wouldn’t have the data, is the quick answer. I suspect that it might be easier for you to find the data than for me regarding exactly—. What we’re talking about are people, bodies, not names on pieces of paper. Certainly, I’m well aware that there are gaps in the service as there are not enough school nurses. So, there are nurses cross-covering, which is not the same as having a nurse in the school. Depending on the size of the school, or where the school is, some schools need more school nurse hours than another school would. In some schools, it would be very appropriate to have half or a quarter of a school nurse who visits on certain days. In other schools, they would need somebody full time. The gaps are going to be spread between all of those services, aren’t they? So, yes, there are gaps in the service, but the gaps, I think, are more to do with recruitment and retention than they are with funding of the school nurses themselves. With all the money in the world, if there’s nobody to do the job, you still can’t do the job. My experience is that that’s the issue, rather than the willingness for each school to have access to a school nurse.


[275]   Andrew R. T. Davies: Chair, is there a way for us to find this out, or not?


[276]   Lynne Neagle: We took this up with the Cabinet Secretary when he came in for general scrutiny, and there was meant to be a report on school nursing that he was waiting for, which had been a little delayed. We have got a letter going to the Cabinet Secretary about that, so the committee is on it.


[277]   Andrew R. T. Davies: Thank you.


[278]   Dr Parry: There must be a way of counting, you know, the number of jobs versus the number of people in those jobs—there must be a way.


[279]   Andrew R. T. Davies: As I say, it was a particular priority in the third Assembly. I understand it was delivered on, but we’re now some six years on from that, it would be good to see what—


[280]   Dr Parry: Yes, to revisit, I agree.


[281]   Lynne Neagle: Llyr, on this.


[282]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ie, jest cwestiwn ynglŷn â nyrsys ysgol. A oes yna ddisgwyliad i bob disgybl weld nyrs, neu dim ond lle mae yna feddwl bod yna rhywbeth sydd angen—?


Llyr Gruffydd: Yes, just a question about school nurses. Is there an expectation that every pupil should see a school nurse, or only where there is an idea where there’s a need for that—?


[283]   Dr Parry: Dim ond lle mae angen. Mae yna dipyn bach, onid oes—? Eto, rydym ni’n mynd nôl i’r inverse care law—nid yw disgybl yn mynd i chwilio am nyrs. Felly, mae’r nyrs efo rhyw fath o rôl o wneud yn siŵr bod neb ei hangen hi sydd heb sylwi eto eu bod nhw eu hangen hi.


Dr Parry: Only where there is a specific need. But again, we’re back to this inverse care law—pupils aren’t going to seek out a nurse, so the nurse has some kind of role in ensuring that someone who needs her help hasn’t realised that they need that help.

[284]   Llyr Gruffydd: Achos byddai rhywun jest yn dychmygu, hwyrach, bod yna elfen o stigma hefyd. Wedyn, oni fyddai’n well ein bod ni’n trio symud i sefyllfa lle mae pawb—unwaith y flwyddyn neu beth bynnag—yn cael sesiwn gyda nyrs?


Llyr Gruffydd: Because one could imagine that there might be an element of stigma also. So, wouldn’t it be better that we try to move to a position where everyone—once a year or whatever—has a specific session with the nurse?

[285]   Dr Parry: Ac mae yna gyfleoedd, fel y pwyso a’r mesur yma. Mae o’n fwy na jest pwyso a mesur; mae o’n gyswllt. Rydym ni’n siarad eto am y gwneud i bob gyswllt gyfrif fel ein bod ni’n cymryd mantais. Mae hwnnw wedi cael ei hybu lot efo gordewdra, bob tro rydym ni’n gweld plant. Ond hefyd, mae iechyd meddwl yn rhan o wneud i bob cyswllt gyfrif. Felly, mae yna gyfleoedd lle buasem ni’n gallu defnyddio prosesau eraill er mwyn hybu gwaith y nyrs ysgol.


Dr Parry: Well, there are opportunities, such as with the weighing and measuring. It’s more than just an opportunity to weigh and measure; it’s a contact. We need to make sure that every contact counts so that we do take advantage of them. This has been promoted in relation to obesity and contact with a child, but it also relates to mental health, in terms of making sure that every contact counts. So, there are opportunities where we could use other processes to promote the work of the school nurse.


[286]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ond, i gyflawni hynny, mi fyddai angen llawer mwy o adnoddau o safbwynt nyrsys ac amser.


Llyr Gruffydd: But, to achieve that, we’d need much more resources in terms of nurses and time.


[287]   Dr Parry: Nid jest yr adnoddau, ond y bobl.


Dr Parry: Not just the resources, but the people.


[288]   Llyr Gruffydd: Y bobl rydw i’n ei feddwl—adnoddau dynol.


Llyr Gruffydd: Yes, I was referring to people—the human resources.


[289]   Dr Parry: Ie, adnoddau dynol. Nid jest yr arian ydy o; mae o’n fwy na hynny.


Dr Parry: Yes, human resources. It’s not just the funding; it’s about more than that.


[290]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. We’re going to go on now to child and adolescent mental health services, anyway. So, Llyr.


[291]   Llyr Gruffydd: Wel, mae hyn yn arwain felly at—. Mi fyddai yna gyfle mewn sefyllfa fel yna wedyn, wrth gwrs, i ddechrau trafod gydag unigolyn a chyfle i unigolyn agor allan os ydyn nhw’n teimlo bod angen gwneud hynny. A ydych chi’n teimlo bod yna ddigon o gyfleoedd—hynny yw, rwy’n tybio eich bod chi’n mynd i ddweud nad oes—i bobl ifanc gael mynediad i’r gwasanaethau y mae eu hangen angen arnyn nhw o safbwynt iechyd meddwl?


Llyr Gruffydd: Well, this leads on to the point that there would be an opportunity in such a situation to talk to an individual and to get an individual to open up if there was a need for that. So, do you feel that there are enough opportunities—I assume that perhaps that you’ll say that there aren’t—for young people to access the services that they need in terms of mental health?

[292]   Dr Parry: Nac oes.


Dr Parry: No.


[293]   Llyr Gruffydd: Na, ocê.


Llyr Gruffydd: No, okay.

[294]   Dr Parry: Am amryw o resymau.


Dr Parry: For various reasons.

[295]   Llyr Gruffydd: Mae’r Llywodraeth, wrth gwrs, wedi datblygu rhaglenni helaeth yn y maes yma.


Llyr Gruffydd: But the Government has developed extensive programmes in this field.


[296]   Dr Parry: Do, ac rydym ni’n falch iawn o hynny. Rydym ni’n ddiolchgar iawn am hynny. Ond, rydym ni’n mynd yn ôl at ddenu pobl i weithio ac i aros yma. Rwy’n mynd on ac on am hyn efo’r nyrsys, y nyrsys ysgol, efo meddygon, efo pob peth, ond rydym ni angen gwneud y swyddi yma yn ddeniadol ac yn hawdd. Rydym ni angen cynnig rhywfaint o fynd-yn-eu-blaenau o fewn y swydd yng Nghymru. Rydym ni angen cael y bobl yma i fod eisiau gwneud y swyddi yma, eisiau eu gwneud nhw yng Nghymru, ac eisiau aros yng Nghymru y funud y maen nhw wedi dechrau eu gwneud nhw. Ac mae hynny’n beth cymdeithasol, hefyd, onid ydy? Nid yw jest yn iechyd, nid yw jest yn Llywodraeth; mae o’n dipyn bach o bob peth.


Dr Parry: Yes, and we’re very pleased about that, and we’re very grateful for that. But, this takes us back to the point about attracting people into the profession and remaining here. I go on and on about this with the nurses, the school nurses, with doctors and so on, but we need to make these posts attractive, easy to access, and we need to make sure that there’s progression within the profession in Wales. We need to make sure that people want to take on these roles, that they want to take them on in Wales, and that they want to stay in Wales. So, it’s also a societal issue isn’t it? It’s not just about health, it’s not just the Government; it’s a little bit of everything.


[297]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ac nid oes digon, rydych chi’n ei ddweud, ar hyn o bryd.


Llyr Gruffydd: And there aren’t enough, you would say, currently.


[298]   Dr Parry: Nid oes yna ddigon, nac oes. Ac, yn enwedig lle rydym ni’n byw ac yn gweithio, nid yn unig ein bod ni angen pobl, ond buaswn ni’n licio, yn ddelfrydol, cael pobl sy’n siarad Cymraeg yn y swyddi yma.


Dr Parry: No, there aren’t enough, And, in particular, where I live and work, it’s not only that we need people, but we would, ideally, like to have people who can speak Welsh in these posts.


[299]   Llyr Gruffydd: Mae iechyd meddwl pobl yn eu harddegau wedi cael tipyn o gyhoeddusrwydd, rydw i’n teimlo, yn y misoedd diwethaf. Mae yna straeon wedi bod ynglŷn â sut mae merched ifanc, efallai, yn gweld eu hunain o safbwynt eu delwedd ac yn y blaen, a hapusrwydd yr unigolion hynny ac yn y blaen. Beth yn fwy rydych chi’n credu y gellid ei wneud i fynd i’r afael â’r grŵp yna’n benodol?


Llyr Gruffydd: The mental health of those in their teens has received a great deal of publicity, or so it feels, in the past few months. There have been stories about how young girls, perhaps, see themselves in terms of their self-image and so on, and their personal contentment and so on. So, what more could be done, do you think, to get to grips with that group?


[300]   Dr Parry: Rwy’n meddwl, eto, fod hyn yn rhywbeth lle rydym ni, ym maes iechyd, angen gwneud i bob gyswllt gyfrif, a thrafod y pethau yma efo plant. Fel roeddwn i’n ei ddweud, nid wyf i’n gweld y rhan fwyaf o blant yng Nghymru. Rydym ni’n gweld canran fach, fach, sy’n dod i ysbytai. Mae eisiau mynd â fo yn ôl i’r gymuned. Buasem ni’n licio i’r ysgolion, fel yr oeddwn i’n ei ddweud, wneud yr addysg yma yn y dosbarth, a bod honno’n rhywbeth mesuradwy, eu bod nhw’n gorfod ei wneud o, a’n bod ni’n gallu mesur sut y mae o’n gweithio, ac, os nad ydy o’n gweithio, ein bod ni’n newid y ffordd rydym ni’n ei wneud o nes ein bod yn ffeindio system sydd yn gweithio. A bod athrawon yn gallu pigo i fyny ar y cliwiau, efallai, bod yna rywun sydd ddim mor hapus, a bod athrawon wedyn yn gwybod lle i’w gyfeirio. Achos mae o’n fwy na jest sylwi, onid ydy—mae’n gwybod beth i’w wneud wedyn, y funud rydych chi wedi sylwi.


Dr Parry: I think, again, that this is something where we, in health, need to make every contact count and we need to discuss these things with children. As I said, I don’t see the majority of the children in Wales. We just see a small cohort of children who come into hospitals. So, we need to take a step back and bring it back to the community. We’d like the schools, as I said, to bring this education into the classroom, so that this would be something that was measurable, that they had to do it, and then we could measure how it was working, and, if it wasn’t working, then change the way that we did it until we found a system that worked. And so that teachers can pick up on the clues that there might be, perhaps, that someone wasn’t as happy as they could be, and that teachers then know where to refer them. Because it’s about more than just noticing something—it’s knowing what to do next.



[301]   Llyr Gruffydd: Achos mae hynny yn un argymhelliad clir yn yr adroddiad, ac mae diwygiadau Donaldson i’r cwricwlwm yn digwydd, ac mae yna fwriad, onid oes, i edrych ar lesiant ac iechyd pobl ifanc yn y cyd-destun yna. A ydych chi, fel corff, yn ymwneud â’r broses yna o ddiwygio, neu a oes yna bobl o’r maes iechyd yn ymwneud, hyd y gwyddoch chi, â’r broses o ddiwygio’r cwricwlwm ar hyn o bryd?


Llyr Gruffydd: Because that’s one clear recommendation in the report, and the Donaldson reforms to the curriculum are going to happen, and there’s an intention to look at young people’s well-being in that context. Are you, as a body, involved in those reforms, or is somebody in the field of health involved, as far as you know, in the curriculum reform at the moment?

[302]   Dr Parry: Rhywfaint, ond ddim, rydw i’n meddwl, ar draws bob agwedd ar y cwricwlwm. Mi ydym ni, wrth gwrs, yn gwneud mwy o drafod ynglŷn ag anghenion iechyd yn yr ysgol ac mae yna lot wedi bod am hynny, lot o drafodaethau. Rwy’n gwybod bod y coleg psychiatrists, bod y bobl CAMHS, wedi bod yn rhan ohono fo, ond nid ydw i’n siŵr faint, a dweud y gwir wrthych chi. Mae yna rywfaint o drafod ond nid ydw i’n gwybod faint.


Dr Parry: To some extent, but not perhaps across every aspect of the curriculum. Now, of course, we are having more discussions in terms of health needs in the school and there has been a great deal of discussion about that. I do know that the college of psychiatrists, the CAMHS people, have been part of it, but I’m not sure to what extent, to be honest. There has been some discussion but I really don’t know how much.

[303]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ac un agwedd arall ar yr adroddiad, wrth gwrs, sy’n cael sylw yw hunanladdiadau. Beth ydy’ch barn chi ynglŷn â’r strategaethau a’r polisïau cenedlaethol ar atal hunanladdiad ymhlith pobl ifanc ar hyn o bryd?


Llyr Gruffydd: And one other aspect of the report, of course, that is given attention is suicide. What’s your opinion about the national policies and strategies to prevent suicide amongst young people?

[304]   Dr Parry: Eto, rydym ni angen mynd yn ôl, onid ydym, i bigo’r problemau yma i fyny ynghynt. Rydym ni’n gwybod mae hogiau sydd fwyaf tebygol o ladd eu hunain—rydym ni’n gwybod mai hogiau ifanc yw e—ac rydym ni’n gwybod, wrth edrych ar—. Achos mi ydym ni rhan o’r child death reports yma yng Nghymru; mi ydym ni’n sbïo ar a ydyn nhw wedi bod o dan CAMHS yn y gorffennol, rydym ni’n sbïo ar bob agwedd ar eu hiechyd nhw yn y blynyddoedd yn arwain i fyny at y farwolaeth. Ac rydym ni’n gwybod eu bod nhw i gyd wedi pasio drwy’r system. Felly, eto, rydym ni i gyd angen medru sylwi: mae’r plentyn neu’r person ifanc yma, mae yna rywbeth sydd ddim yn iawn am ei fywyd o neu ei bywyd hi. Ac rydym ni angen gweithredu a medru gweithredu—meddygon, ond hefyd athrawon—pawb sydd ag unrhyw gyswllt efo pobl ifanc. Rydym ni’n sôn am iechyd, rydym ni’n sôn am bethau fel y youth justice system, mae pawb yn mynd i—. Rydym ni i gyd angen medru adnabod bod yna rywun mewn gwewyr a bod yna rywbeth rydym ni angen ei wneud. Nid yn unig ein bod ni’n ei adnabod o, ond ein bod ni’n gallu ei wneud o. Nid ydy pobl eisiau gorfod ffonio chwe gwaith ac wedyn ffonio yn ôl a methu’r galwad yn ôl ac wedyn yn ôl ac ymlaen—mae’n gorfod bod yn hawdd, onid ydy, eich bod chi’n codi’r ffôn unwaith ac yn siarad â rhywun sy’n cymryd y bêl yma ac yn mynd â hi ac yn gwneud rhywbeth efo hi?


Dr Parry: Again, we need to go back, don’t we, to the point where we pick up these problems and do it sooner. We know that boys or young men are more likely to commit suicide and we know that when we look at—. Because we are part of these child death reports in Wales; we look at whether they’ve been under CAMHS before and at every aspect of their health leading up to the deaths. And we know that they have all gone through the system. So, again, we all need to be able to notice that this child or young person, well, there’s something not right about his life or her life. We need to act and to be able to act—doctors, but also teachers—anyone who has any contact with these young people. We’re talking about health, but we’re also talking about things such as the youth justice system. We all need to recognise that someone is in distress and that there’s something that we need to do. And it’s not just a case of identifying that, but being able to do it. People don’t want to have to phone six times, then there’s a call back and they miss it, and it goes back and forth—it has to be easy, doesn’t it, that you’re able to phone once and you can talk to someone who can pick up the ball and do something with it?


[305]   Llyr Gruffydd: Ond rydych chi wedi enwi sawl stakeholder gwahanol yn fanna, onid ydych—hynny yw, o ran y bobl sy’n rhan o’r broses yna—ac mae cael y rheini i ddod at ei gilydd yn dipyn o her, onid ydy?


Llyr Gruffydd: You’ve named several different stakeholders there, haven’t you—that is, in terms of the people who would be part of that process—and getting those people to come together, it’s a challenge, isn’t it?

[306]   Dr Parry: Ydy, ac rwy’n meddwl bod yn rhaid i ni fod yn realistig am hynny, onid oes, am ei bod hi’n mynd i fod yn anodd. Mae’n rhaid i ni rannu’r baich rhywsut ond mae’n rhaid i ni hefyd gydnabod nad yw hi’n hawdd cael pawb—. Ac rydym ni i gyd—. Hyd yn oed pe buasem ni i gyd yn eistedd rownd un bwrdd, buasai pawb yno efo ei agenda ei hun, oni fuasai, ydy’r gwirionedd, ac mae yn anodd. Ond pan fyddech chi’n darllen ar ddu a gwyn mai hunanladdiad ydy’r rheswm mwyaf tebygol i hogyn ifanc yn ei arddegau farw yng Nghymru y dyddiau yma, mae hynny’n ofnadwy, onid ydy? A’u bod nhw i gyd wedi pasio drwy’r system cyn iddo fo ddigwydd, dyna sy’n ofnadwy. Pe buasen nhw’n dŵad o nunlle, buasai yna rywfaint o dderbyn fedrwn ni ddim gwneud dim byd, ond rydym ni’n gwybod bod yna gyfleoedd wedi cael eu methu.


Dr Parry: Yes, and I think that we do need to be realistic about that, don’t we, that it’s going to be difficult. We need to share the burden somehow but we also need to acknowledge that it’s not easy to get everyone—. Even if we all sat around the same table, everyone would have their own agenda, wouldn’t they, in truth, and so it’s difficult. But when you see it in black and white and you read that suicide is the most likely cause for a young boy or young man in his teens to die in Wales, well that’s dreadful isn’t it? And that they all passed through the system before it happened, that’s what’s dreadful. If they’d come out of nowhere, well, you know, there’s be a sense that we hadn’t been able to do anything, but we know that opportunities have been missed.


[307]   Llyr Gruffydd: Diolch.


Llyr Gruffydd: Thank you.

[308]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Oscar.


[309]   Mohammad Asghar: Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you, Mair. My question again relates to mental health among children. CAMHS has a very specific and narrow criteria for children and young people that it supports, which means that many young people suffering with mental health issues fall between the cracks. Many young people are left without any support at all, which has major repercussions and often means that their well-being and state of mind deteriorates. When transferring between services as children coming to adulthood, they often get lost in bureaucracy and they’re lost out of essential support also. This means that young people have no support at all and they are forced to face challenges, living challenges, alone without medical support. Given this, how does your department, RCPCH, view the effectiveness of current Welsh Government provision towards mental health services for children across Wales?


[310]   Dr Parry: Can I break that down? I think there are a few things—. First of all, yes, more funds are going to be released, aren’t they, and we are delighted about that, but, as we’ve already mentioned, we need people to fill those posts. So, we are delighted that Welsh Government are taking this on board. They’re listening that we need more resources, so that’s one part of it. Whether those resources are effective, we are yet to find out, but we are delighted that they’re there.


[311]   The access to services: I’m not sure if you mean that to access CAMHS, as opposed to community-based mental health services for children, you have to reach a certain criteria to access. Those criteria many of us perceive to be too high, but, on the other hand, to be fair to CAMHS, they have had a limited amount of resources for a very long time and the case load has absolutely mushroomed, even in my working lifetime. We used to see one, maybe two, children a year with deliberate self-harm when I started working in paediatrics. Now, we are up to six, seven or eight a week in a small department such as where I work. So, the work has mushroomed enormously, beyond all descriptions and belief. So, I can see why they have had to put quite strict criteria for acceptance and, quite understandably, CAMHS experts are telling us that everybody has a role to play. And I agree. That’s what I’m saying as well. We all have a role to play in guarding and preserving the mental wellbeing of children and young people in Wales, don’t we? We all have a role to play. The problem with that is, for those that do need CAMHS eventually, they have to jump through various hoops in order for somebody, somewhere, to decide that they meet the referral criteria. You are already talking about months and months already. They then go on to a waiting list for months and months and months. I absolutely agree: the whole time they are waiting for these repeated assessments by different people in the community prior to reaching the threshold for CAMHS—if only we could have acted earlier, they probably would never have reached that threshold. But, because we were waiting and assessing and going back—months go by and children get worse and worse and worse. So, I absolutely agree: the waiting lists confound the original problem. They make it worse. Hopefully, with more resources, that will get better.


[312]   The transition between paediatric services and adult services—it’s not just CAMHS where that’s a problem. All children with chronic health needs, whether they’re physical health needs or mental health needs, at some point will reach the age of 17 or 18, become independent adults, and will need their care transferred. I’m no expert on adult health; they will need their care transferred. There are some very good models of transition that work very well. One of my special interests is cystic fibrosis and respiratory problems. For cystic fibrosis we start transition at around 14, 15. We have joint clinics where they see a paediatrician and an adult physician and eventually they go over. So, there are models of care. There are similar models in diabetes. They’re not perfect, but they are much better than alternatives. I think, in mental health in particular, because it has been under-resourced for so, so  long, and the services just aren’t there, there is a risk of these patients, as you say, dropping off between two stools and never reaching adult services. It’s all bound in to insight, self-awareness, ability to access services, ability to understand that you need to access services. So, certainly, as part of the increased resources in CAMHS, I would hope that transitional care and bridging that gap would be part of the service structure once the new resources are in place, because it is a huge problem—but not just for CAMHS; it’s a huge problem for physical conditions as well.


[313]   Mohammad Asghar: Thank you.


[314]   Lynne Neagle: Thank you. Hefin.


[315]   Hefin David: What progress have we made on increasing breastfeeding?


[316]   Dr Parry: Very little, in a nutshell, and it’s a real shame, isn’t it? Some progress, I suppose, has been made. We do see a slight increase in some years in some areas. Again, this is very closely linked to deprived areas and children who are disadvantaged babies—disadvantaged mothers in particular. It is more complicated than just breastfeeding. When we go back and ask teenagers in school what they think about feeding babies a lot of them will already think that the bottle is just as good as breast, so why would they bother. So, there’s work to do there. We also need to be concentrating breastfeeding support: one of the things that we have called for is that it becomes mandatory for all units in Wales to comply with the UNICEF breastfeeding initiative, for example. That actually take a huge amount of resource, it really does. We are going through the process ourselves now, and there’s a huge amount of resource. But, again, it’s not just about the doctors and the nurses and the support; it’s about society accepting breastfeeding as the best way to feed your baby.


[317]   Hefin David: What about support for those mothers who’ve tried, but, despite their best efforts, have failed to breastfeed? It can be quite an emotional experience.


[318]   Dr Parry: Absolutely. I would avoid the use of the word ‘fail’ in that scenario, to be honest. I don’t think people fail—


[319]   Hefin David: That’s how they feel; that’s how mothers feel when they can’t.


[320]   Dr Parry: Absolutely, but if we as a society use the word ‘fail’, it’s only going to add to that, isn’t it? There are some babies, who, for some reason, cannot take to breastfeeding, and that happens, and it needs to be absolutely accepted that that happens. But there needs to be support for the mother to be sure that she has reached the point where she decides that she’s going to give up breastfeeding—that she’s not failed, she’s decided to give up breastfeeding. Again, that’s a society change, isn’t it? That is closely built into the BFI, the breastfeeding initiative, schemes that support breastfeeding mothers and breastfeeding mothers who are struggling to breastfeed. It’s very in-built, but it’s very resource intensive. It’s a lot of face to face, one to one. Some of it lends itself well to group work, but a lot of it has to be one to one. Babies are different, mothers are different; you can’t really generalise for all of the little problems that mums come across.


[321]   Hefin David: But do you accept that there’s a great deal of stress for the mother who has decided to stop breastfeeding?


[322]   Dr Parry: I will accept that a great deal of stress is put upon the mother, but I think that society puts a lot of that on them, if I dare say that. I think there’s an expectation—yes, I would agree that there’s an expectation—and that some mothers feel that they are put under pressure to breastfeed.


[323]   Hefin David: Because there are quite a lot of Facebook groups that react against breastfeeding because they feel the pressure.


[324]   Dr Parry: There’s a lot of Facebook groups that say a lot of very strange things, aren’t there? I wouldn’t use that as a resource.


[325]   Hefin David: Okay.


[326]   Lynne Neagle: Are you going to move on to smoking now?


[327]   Hefin David: Smoking, yes.


[328]   Lynne Neagle: Before you go on to smoking, can I just ask: Public Health Wales got rid of their breastfeeding lead, didn’t they? So, do you think that Public Health Wales and Welsh Government are actually doing enough to get the increase in breastfeeding that we want to see?


[329]   Dr Parry: No, I think the way around the loss of resources in Public Health Wales, really, is to promote the Unicef BFI initiative, because that gives us a very clear framework to work within, and either we get that or we don’t. I think if we were to use that structure to promote breastfeeding then the rest would fall into place. We would get appropriate services, but they might come from a different place, if that makes sense.


[330]   Hefin David: I wouldn’t underestimate the impact of social media, mind, and the effect it has on parents.


[331]   Dr Parry: No, I agree with you. Yes, mothers are made to feel guilty, but I don’t think that health should take the full responsibility for making mothers feel guilty.


[332]   Hefin David: No, but if you’re talking about campaigns and awareness campaigns, there’s already a huge—the opposite of that goes on on social media.


[333]   Dr Parry: All we can do is use social media in a positive way. We can’t stop other people using it in a negative way, can we, unfortunately. I think that’s maybe what—


[334]   Hefin David: No, okay. I think maybe use the same methods, though.


[335]   Dr Parry: Yes.


[336]   Lynne Neagle: Andrew, on this.


[337]   Andrew R.T. Davies: Can I just come in on this specific point? My wife was a midwife, a community-based midwife, for many years and there was a huge onus—. Because we’ve heard about Public Health Wales doing away with their breastfeeding lead, but, in the maternity teams, there was a huge emphasis on trying to encourage expectant mums to breastfeed. Is that still the same? Do you believe that capacity is there amongst the maternity teams in the community, irrespective of the cutbacks of Public Health Wales? There are various avenues, obviously, of support. It just doesn’t come from one provider, it doesn’t, does it?


[338]   Dr Parry: I think that the will is still there. Certainly, I think that probably adds on to what you were saying, that people then feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed for some reason—because we push it all the time, and we do. Hands up, we push it all the time. I think that adds to this level of guilty feeling, that mums feel that they’ve failed at something. But I think what has changed is the level of midwife support post delivery now. Babies and mums, for very valid reasons, go home from hospital earlier than they used to. They used to be in for three days to a week after giving birth 20 or 30 years ago, which meant that breastfeeding was established while still in a relatively controlled and safe environment, where you didn’t have to do the washing and feed the other children and do the thousand other things that you have to do once you’re at home with your baby. Breastfeeding is a time when you absolutely have to switch off from the rest of the world and retreat into your bubble with your little baby. It’s actually quite difficult for mums to do that when they’re home six hours after delivery. Much as they want to be home, and there’s lots of very positive reasons for them to go home, that lack of intensive midwife support—. It’s not there. So, that that is deliberate, so that that is—


[339]   Andrew R.T. Davies: I take the point you’re making, and I most probably agree with the point you’re making, but I’m conscious of the time. Is it fair, almost, to say then that there isn’t sufficient resource or help for expectant mums in maternity services to persevere, continue with breastfeeding, let alone start with breastfeeding?


[340]   Dr Parry: If we take away the word ‘expectant’, because it’s usually post delivery that the problems are: if you ask people while they’re pregnant, they’re far more likely to be positive about wanting to breastfeed, but the reality of breastfeeding is where it all falls apart.




[341]   Andrew R.T. Davies: So, it’s fair to say that the resource is not there in sufficient amounts.


[342]   Dr Parry: Yes. I think that many of these mums need more support than they are currently getting and the resource is not there to provide that increased support.


[343]   Lynne Neagle: Hefin, on smoking.


[344]   Hefin David: Staying on breastfeeding, if a mother’s had a very bad experience the first time around, then with the second child, are they more likely, during pregnancy, to rule out breastfeeding?


[345]   Dr Parry: I don’t think so. I don’t think the data suggest that, do they? Each pregnancy starts again and that willingness—either they want to breastfeed or they don’t. Some mothers will accept—


[346]   Hefin David: That’s not my experience, anyway, with my family. My wife is pregnant now and she’s ruled out breastfeeding because she had difficulties the first time around.


[347]   Dr Parry: I did the opposite: my first child wouldn’t breastfeed, but the other two did.


[348]   Hefin David: What I’m saying is anecdotal, I appreciate that, but I think the discussion is helpful.


[349]   Regarding smoking, this should be something that’s a lot easier, shouldn’t it? Smoking is bad: stop it.


[350]   Dr Parry: Absolutely.


[351]   Hefin David: Why is it so difficult?


[352]   Dr Parry: Smoking is really disappointing, when you look at our numbers: teenage girls are still smoking more than teenage boys in Wales, but also, in Wales, more of our teenagers smoke. What I preach to the medical students is that if we could stop teenage girls from taking up smoking, I’d be twiddling my thumbs most of the time. It’s phenomenal the impact that maternal smoking has on child health. They are the group that we need to reach and that we are least successful at reaching.


[353]   Hefin David: Why?


[354]   Dr Parry: Societal pressures and external pressures. It’s all closely bound to self-image, isn’t it?


[355]   Hefin David: Is there not a stigma attached to seeing a pregnant woman smoking?


[356]   Dr Parry: You’d think so, but apparently not. In Ysbyty Gwynedd, where I work, outside the maternity entrance, there are massive ‘No Smoking’ signs, but there’s a pile of cigarette butts there.


[357]   Hefin David: Okay. So, what services can be provided then to help?


[358]   Dr Parry: Again, we need to rewind to stop them. All the evidence that we have demonstrates that most adult smokers have started in adolescence. Very few people start smoking after adolescence is over, and carry on. They might try it, but very few long-term smokers have started in their 20s; most of them have started in their teenage years. So, we’ve had to rewind to stop them taking up smoking. We can use any role models that we can: if we have to use Premier League footballers, that’s what we do. We have to get them on board that smoking is bad at a very, very early age.


[359]   However much we try and do that—. Because, as you say, everybody knows that smoking is bad for you, but we still have 9 per cent of 15-year-old girls in Wales who smoke. That’s nearly one in 10. That’s a huge amount. If I could choose between stopping boys and stopping girls smoking, I’d stop the girls because when they become pregnant, they are more likely to carry on smoking, their babies are more likely to be small, the babies are more likely to have wheeze in the first year of life, the babies are more likely to develop asthma and they’re less likely to grow out of their asthma. At every stage in childhood, there is a negative impact from that mother smoking. If we could stop that, it would be fantastic. But how we stop it, other than—. As a paediatrician, I prescribe anti-smoking stuff: the patches and the chewing gum—as a paediatrician. Twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have been doing that, but we have to—we have to start somewhere. We have to make every contact count; we have to discuss smoking with our teenagers. We are not very good at that, as paediatricians. We’re very good at talking about asthma inhalers, but not so good at talking about cigarettes, but we have to be doing it and we have to be openly promoting different ways of giving up smoking.


[360]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Michelle.


[361]   Michelle Brown: Has any research been done into what draws adolescents into starting to smoke? I appreciate the reasons might be different between boys and girls.


[362]   Dr Parry: It’s all tangled up in the risk-taking behaviours, isn’t it? The idea that they’re going to live forever. That’s reflected in the ‘death’ figures as well, isn’t it, that that’s when they take the most risks? Smoking is part of the risk-taking behaviour.


[363]   Michelle Brown: Girls tend to be more risk averse than boys.


[364]   Dr Parry: There’s some evidence that it’s tied in with managing weight and things as well—that girls take up smoking because they eat less.


[365]   Michelle Brown: So, there has been research done.


[366]   Dr Parry: Yes, there’s been some, but it’s so multifactorial—there are so many confounding factors. It’s tied in to role models, whether their parents smoked and where they are on the poverty scale. There are so many confounding factors. It’s very difficult to pull out, ‘This is why teenage girls smoke’.


[367]   Michelle Brown: Has any work been done in the schools with very young children?


[368]   Dr Parry: Yes, there is already with—. The problem is that you can get very young children to say that smoking is bad, but they change their minds with peer support—peer pressure—and that’s where we lose it. We can do it in primary schools, and if you ask year 5 and year 6 children, ‘Who’s going to smoke?’, they’ll all say, ‘no’, but when they get a little bit older, and the peer pressure comes in, that’s where we tend to lose it.


[369]   Michelle Brown: So, have you any thoughts about how this can be addressed?


[370]   Dr Parry: Well, it still needs to be part of the education in school—the personal health education sort of package. I think we also need to demonstrate to young people, if they do start to smoke, how to give up and what support—. You know, we don’t just tell them, ‘You must stop smoking’, and leave it at that; we have to acknowledge that some of them will be addicted to nicotine, even though they’re only 14, and we have to have the support in place and that they know how to access it, and what support measures they need to enable them to give up smoking. At pregnancy, we do screen pregnant mums. We do the carbon monoxide test; it measures the carbon monoxide that they breathe out, which is linked to smoking. So, we do screen them, and they know they’re going to be screened—


[371]   Michelle Brown: What’s the purpose of the screening?


[372]   Dr Parry: It’s to identify the smokers, and to make the most of demonstrating, ‘Well, we know that the smoking is damaging your body, and we can prove it because this number shows us that it is.’ So, it’s just yet another way of demonstrating to them that quitting is something that they would benefit from, as well as something their baby would benefit from. Because most of them, about smoking, to be honest, will be relatively open about it and admit that they smoke. They will grossly underestimate the number that they smoke, and the carbon monoxide test is just demonstrating, ‘Look, even though you’re telling me you’re only having one a week, we know that, actually, there’s a bit more in your body.’ And, therefore, it’s just the opportunity to try and help them.


[373]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Thank you. John.


[374]   John Griffiths: Thank you, Chair. Moving from smoking to childhood obesity, you mentioned earlier that, in Wales, this is a very significant problem for us. Various ways of trying to address the problem have been taken forward, but, in your report, you say that there’s no magic solution to these issues. So, given that general situation, how would you suggest we move forward most effectively from this point, to make real inroads into reducing childhood obesity in Wales?


[375]   Dr Parry: I think there are lots of little ways that we would, hopefully, expect to add up to reducing the incidents of obesity in children. Some of it is health—that, whenever I see a child who’s overweight, I have the courage to discuss it openly with them, that I can offer them appropriate support to help them, whether that’s dietetics, whether that’s prescribing exercise, whether that’s advising them of what exercise to do. So, there’s a clear health role, and, obviously, we have to lead the way with that.


[376]   But, there’s also planning our environment roles. The obesogenic environment is where our children live. I live in the middle of nowhere, yet my children cannot cycle to school safely—the roads are too dangerous. So, we need to be thinking about planning where the schools are, what the roads are like. At the moment, councils in Wales can opt in the 20 mph around primary schools, but they don’t have to, and to do so costs them money. We would like to see that changed, so that, around schools, 20 mph is the norm, so that children can walk, can skate, can cycle, can get to school using active methods, so that driving to school is not the norm anymore—that we change that. That feeds into all of the town and country planning, doesn’t it, that schools have got green areas around them that children have access to, both within school hours and outside school hours, so that they burn off those extra calories?


[377]   We also need to look at the licensing of fast-food outlets around schools, the places that children tend to hang out—children and young people, but especially the teenagers, who make their own choices, who go out with a few pounds in their pockets to buy something for their tea—so that we limit their choices somewhat. Similarly, the advertising for products that are high in sugar—the sugar tax. There are all sorts of little ways that, if we put them all together, we would, hopefully, have an impact on child obesity. And it is a very real problem. And it’s difficult, because people have forgotten what a normal-shaped child looks like. When you tell these parents that their children are overweight, they don’t believe us, and if they don’t believe us, they are not going to take any steps to make amends for it.


[378]   John Griffiths: Okay, thanks for that. In terms of legislation, we’ve had the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, we have the Public Health (Wales) Bill; do you think they are enough, in terms of legislation, in terms of devolved powers that the Welsh Government has, or should more be done?


[379]   Dr Parry: I think more could be done. And I absolutely accept that some things are devolved, and some things are not, and it’s quite difficult for us to influence something that has to come directly from Westminster. We think about some of these things that I’ve already talked about: the sugar tax, the advertising, and the licensing of premises around schools—but not just around schools, it’s also around leisure centres and places where young people hang around in our towns and areas—that all of these places should have limited licensed capacity to sell the obesogenic foods that we are talking about, because it’s easy access to the sugar-laden and the highly calorific food that adds to the fact that children don’t walk as much as they used to, that they can’t cycle as much—everybody’s terrified that they’re going to fall off their bikes on the roads and be knocked over by somebody doing 45 mph. It all adds up. So, I think, yes, there are some changes that have been made, but we would like to see more.


[380]   John Griffiths: Okay. Could I move from prevention to services for those children who are obese? Is it your view that the services to help and support children who are obese to lose weight are effective and prevalent enough right across Wales?


[381]   Dr Parry: They’re not effective. For the interventions, any data that we have—and they’re relatively skimpy, for want of a better way to put it—any data that we have show that our interventions are not effective, and there is certainly a sense of ‘Well, we are identifying this problem, but whatever we do, it’s not getting better.’ So, rather than give up, we have to think of different ways, don’t we? And it’s very, very difficult. We, for example—and I know I keep going back to my anecdotal experience, but we set up an obesity clinic. We didn’t call it that, but we set up a clinic, a weight-management clinic, for children. We had an attendance rate of almost zero. What can you do, if they won’t come to access the resources? Therefore, we had to scrap it and we’re trying to think of a different way to provide that service, that support. There have been several different ways we’ve tried. There was something—I can’t remember the acronym for it. What was it called? In north Wales, we set up a service whereby dieticians and physiotherapists would go to schools after hours or go to leisure centres. I can’t for the life of me remember what we called it. So, we, as doctors—any doctor who saw children—could refer a child or a young person and they would have a holistic assessment, really, of nutrition plus exercise. Physiotherapists are very good at assessing exercise. They’re not just for treating injuries, they’re very good at assessing physical well-being. And with that, again, initially, a few would turn up, but people didn’t. So, you try to take it out to the community so it’s not a hospital thing, that it’s in the leisure centre, which would, you would think, be a little bit more attractive for these teenagers, but it’s very, very difficult.


[382]   John Griffiths: Okay.


[383]   Dr Parry: Prevention would be a lot, lot better than trying to manage it once it’s well established.


[384]   John Griffiths: Yes, that’s the key point, isn’t it?


[385]   Dr Parry: Yes.


[386]   John Griffiths: In terms of the child measurement programme, you’ve called for an expansion of that, building on what’s currently in place. What would be the major benefits of that expansion?


[387]   Dr Parry: I think it would make us all happier if we had figures for Wales for other stages in childhood, so that we could compare with other nations, to be honest. It’s not just a matter of collecting figures for the sake of collecting figures, is it? It’s nice to know where we stand and do we need to increase resources. It helps us allocate resources appropriately. So we would have better data, that’s the first thing, but also, going back to what we discussed earlier, it gives an opportunity for a trained healthcare professional to interact with that young person at another stage in their life. And it’s quite a key stage. What we’re calling for specifically is year 6 or year 7; it’s quite a key stage, where they are going from being primary school children to secondary school children. Psychologically, developmentally, socially, there’s a huge window that opens out to them then, and if we have an opportunity to make that contact count in all manner of ways, not just height and weight, but beyond that, and yes we could discuss nutrition and exercise, but we could also discuss well-being and discuss their health, if they are going up to secondary school with inhalers and whatever else that they need to maintain good health when they’re in school, but there’s an opportunity there. So, yes, we would like to get better obesity data, but the way that we collect that obesity data would also open the window to other opportunities to promote health and well-being.


[388]   John Griffiths: Okay; thank you.


[389]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Well, we’ve run out of time, unless Members have got any burning questions.


[390]   Mohammad Asghar: Chair—


[391]   Lynne Neagle: Go on.


[392]   Mohammad Asghar: Thank you very much, Chair. Thank you very much, Mair. The thing is, I just go back to the question of breastfeeding. In a certain part of the world, there’s a general perception that mothers who feed children with the breast have less breast cancer. Have you done any research work in Wales for that?




[393]   Dr Parry: I haven’t personally, but there is a very reliable body of evidence to support that, yes. And it’s widely promoted, as part of the promotion of breastfeeding.


[394]   Mohammad Asghar: Thank you.


[395]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Well, can I thank you for your attendance today? We’ve covered a whole range of issues and had a very interesting discussion. The excellent reports as well, I know, will give us plenty of further work to do, including on our forthcoming inquiry on the first 1,000 days. So, thank you very much for your time. We will send you a transcript of the Record for you to check for accuracy. Thank you very much.


[396]   Dr Parry: Okay. Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr.


Papurau i’w Nodi
Papers to Note


[397]   Lynne Neagle: Item 4, then, is papers to note. Paper to note 6 is additional information from Estyn on our education improvement grant inquiry. Paper to note 7 is a letter from the Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, telling us that they’ve launched an inquiry looking at inter-institutional relations between Wales and the UK. Paper to note 8 is a letter from the Presiding Officer relating to the Senedd@Newport week that they’re doing, which is the week commencing 20 March. The Presiding Officer has invited suggestions on how committees could get involved in that. Now, I understand that it’s going to be difficult for us to go to Newport that week because we’ve got the Minister in, haven’t we, here, and it’s only possible to do it here? But if Members have got any other suggestions, maybe—but it would have to be outside the committee slot. Are you happy to note those? Hefin.


[398]   Hefin David: Just coming back to the letter from the Chair of the legislative committee, he’s actually invited us, or invited you to submit any further views on how we can better improve inter-parliamentary working. Have you thought about how we might do that in response?


[399]   Lynne Neagle: Well, that’s a matter for the committee to discuss, if the committee wants to respond to that.


[400]   Hefin David: Okay. Are we minded to respond as a committee, given that the invitation is there?


[401]   Lynne Neagle: What do Members think? Shall we timetable it for further discussion?


[402]   Llyr Gruffydd: It would be worth having just a little bit of time set aside, I think, for that. Not too much, but just enough for us to be sure that we’re not missing something that we should be—


[403]   Hefin David: There could be issues that we’ve discussed—today there were a number with regard to pay and conditions, and I know it’s going to be devolved, but there could be an opportunity to submit those views to the committee and their inquiry.


[404]   Lynne Neagle: Okay. Well, we’ll schedule a discussion on that, then. Are Members happy to note the papers otherwise? Okay.




Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod
Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Meeting








bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o’r cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).


that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).



Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Motion moved.



[405]   Lynne Neagle: Item 5, then, is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content? Thank you.



Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.



Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:03.
The public part of the meeting ended at 12:03.