Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

National Assembly for Wales

Y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

Bil Senedd ac Etholiadau (Cymru)


Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill

CLA(5) SE05

Ymateb gan NAHT Cymru

Evidence from NAHT Cymru

The purpose of the Senedd and Election (Wales) Bill is to:

·         rename the National Assembly to Senedd; 

·         lower the minimum voting age of National Assembly elections to 16; and

·         deliver other reforms to the National Assembly’s electoral and operational arrangements.

In response to the above, NAHT Cymru presents the following:

1.        ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: A Common Understanding for Schools’ was published by the then Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills of the Welsh Assembly Government in July 2008 as an information document for schools (No: 065/2008).


2.      The document contained relevant information to aid delivery of ESDGC in schools. The ‘Themes’ identified in the ‘Common Understanding’ covered the range of ESDGC and supported the delivery of statutory Subject Orders, relevant frameworks, other relevant non-statutory frameworks and the 14-19 Learning Core. At the time, the document also supported delivery of the Welsh Baccalaureate.


3.      Within the document the content outlined issues related to a number of citizenship areas relevant to the new bill, including the ‘choices and decisions’ we make as individuals.

For example, through ESDGC, Foundation Phase pupils could be given opportunities to:

-       have their views listened to and listen to the views of others;

-       see that rules can help everyone;

-       and to understand choices and decisions have consequences.


4.      At Key Stage 2, within the same area, pupils could be given opportunities to:

-       participate in aspects of school life helping to make decisions

-       what is meant by the rights of the child and that not everyone has these

-       that environment can be affected by the decisions we make individually and collectively.

5.      Pupils at this same age group were also encouraged, through examples in the document, to become involved with activities such as the School Council, staff and student consultation processes, inviting the local councillor, AM, MP or MEP in for questioning on a local or controversial issue.


6.     At Key Stage 3, under the same ‘choices and decisions’ area, learners could be given opportunities to:

-       participate in the school and wider community in order to change things;

-       develop opinions about the denial of human rights;

-       appreciate the value of a well balanced and well supported argument;

-       what is meant by basic human rights and that no everyone has them;

-       the principles of democracy;

-       how conflict can arise from different views about global issues.


7.      Within the new curriculum, specifically the new ‘Humanities’ Area of Learning and Experience, children and young people will be expected to cover a range of relevant areas of learning. Pupils will be expected to study the past and present, and by imagining possible futures, will learn about people, place, time and beliefs. Among other areas, pupils will also:

-       understand historical, geographical, political, economic and societal concepts;

-       engage in learning experiences about rights, values, ethics, beliefs, religion, philosophy and spirituality;

-       positively contribute to their community and critically engage with local, national and global issues to become a responsible citizen of Wales and the wider world.


8.     The Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 made Wales the first country in the UK to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into its domestic law. This means that all Welsh policy and legislation has to take into account children's rights. Schools have steadily incorporated many processes and activities into their work in order to enact the principles of children’s rights into their daily work.


9.      NAHT Cymru know of rights respecting schools who have built upon the generally accepted School Council expectations and have now developed a whole school Senedd, included pupils in Governing Body Committee activity and developed the work of students within school improvement processes.


10.  Young people also have access to more information than ever before via the internet, social media and 24-hour news production. It is critical that as a nation, Wales recognises it’s duty to ensure children and young people stay safe, assess information for accuracy and make better and more informed choices. Many schools already seek to do this within their learning activities.


11.     As a result of the work already undertaken at school to prepare children and young people to take their place within a democratic society, and with the increased focus upon these issues within the imminent new curriculum, NAHT Cymru believe there is a great opportunity to engage young people in the proactive wider political process from 16 years of age onwards.


12.   It will be critical that schools are provided with the resources and professional learning for staff on an ongoing basis.