|Angela Burns AC|
|Caroline Jones AC|
|Dai Lloyd AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Dawn Bowden AC|
|Jayne Bryant AC|
|Lynne Neagle AC|
|Rhun ap Iorwerth AC|
|Vikki Howells AC||yn dirprwyo ar ran Julie Morgan|
|substitute for Julie Morgan|
|David Rosser||Pennaeth Chwaraeon, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Head of Sport, Welsh Government|
|John Pugsley||Pennaeth Cangen y Celfyddydau, y Dyniaethau a Lles, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Head of Arts, Humanities and Wellbeing Branch, Welsh Government|
|Kirsty Williams AC||Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg|
|Cabinet Secretary for Education|
|Nathan Cook||Pennaeth y Gangen Byw’n Iach ac Egnïol, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Head of Healthy and Active Branch, Welsh Government|
|Vaughan Gething AC||Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol|
|Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services|
|Yr Arglwydd / Lord Elis-Thomas AC||Y Gweinidog Diwylliant, Twristiaeth a Chwaraeon|
|Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport|
|Tanwen Summers||Dirprwy Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Ymchwiliad i weithgarwch corfforol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg a'r Gweinidog Diwylliant, Twristiaeth a Chwaraeon||2. Physical activity in children and young people: Evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, and the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport|
|3. Papurau i’w nodi||3. Paper(s) to note|
|4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn||4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for the remainder of this meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:00.
The meeting began at 09:00.
Croeso i chi i gyd i gyfarfod diweddaraf y Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon yma yng Nghynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru. O dan eitem 1, a allaf i estyn croeso i fy nghyd-Aelodau, a hefyd, yn naturiol, egluro i bawb bod y cyfarfod yma'n ddwyieithog? Gellir defnyddio clustffonau i glywed cyfieithu ar y pryd o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg ar sianel 1, neu i glywed cyfraniadau yn yr iaith wreiddiol yn well ar sianel 2. Dylid dilyn cyfarwyddiadau'r tywyswyr os bydd yna larwm tân yn canu. Rydym ni wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau oddi wrth Julie Morgan ac rydw i'n falch iawn o groesawu Vikki Howells i'r cyfarfod, sydd yn dirprwyo ar ei rhan—bore da, Vikki.
A warm welcome to you all to this latest meeting of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee here at the National Assembly for Wales. Under item 1, may I extend a welcome to my fellow Members, and explain that this meeting is bilingual? Headphones can be used for interpretation from Welsh to English on channel 1, or for amplification on channel 2. In the event of a fire alarm, we should follow the directions of the ushers. We've received apologies from Julie Morgan and I'm very pleased to welcome Vikki Howells to this meeting, who is here as a substitute—good morning, Vikki.
Symudwn ymlaen, felly, i eitem 2, ymchwiliad i weithgarwch corfforol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc, sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru. Wrth gwrs, rydym ni wedi bod yn cynnal yr adolygiad yma am rai misoedd, bellach, gyda rhai ymweliadau allanol hefyd. Ac, wrth gwrs, dyma ydy'r sesiwn dystiolaeth olaf ar gyfer yr ymchwiliad yma i weithgarwch corfforol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc. Rydym hefyd wedi cael ein hysbysu ymlaen llaw y bydd Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg yn gorfod gadael cyn 10 o'r gloch y bore yma—rydym ni'n deall hynny.
Rydw i'n falch iawn o groesawu, felly, Vaughan Gething, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol, Kirsty Williams, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, y Gweinidog Diwylliant, Twristiaeth a Chwaraeon, David Rosser, pennaeth chwaraeon, John Pugsley, pennaeth cangen y celfyddydau, y dyniaethau a lles, a Nathan Cook, pennaeth y gangen byw’n iach ac egnïol. Rydym ni wedi derbyn eich tystiolaeth ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw a diolch yn fawr iawn am honno. Wedyn, gyda'ch caniatâd, ac yn ôl traddodiad y pwyllgor yma, awn ni'n syth i mewn i gwestiynau. Mae'r cwestiwn cyntaf o dan ofal Caroline Jones.
Moving on to item 2, the inquiry into physical activity in children and young people, evidence session with the Welsh Government. Of course, we have been conducting this inquiry for some weeks, having carried out external visits too. This is the final evidence session for this inquiry into physical activity among young children and young people. We've also been informed that the Cabinet Secretary for Education will have to leave before 10 o'clock this morning—we do understand that.
So, I'm very pleased to welcome Vaughan Gething, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, David Rosser, head of sport, John Pugsley, head of arts, humanities and well-being branch, and Nathan Cook, head of healthy and active branch. We've received your written evidence and I'd like to thank you for that evidence. With your permission, as is this committee's wont, we will move immediately into questions and the first question is from Caroline Jones.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Good morning—bore da, everyone. My first question is: with rising levels of obesity and sedentary behaviour in our young and children, Public Health Wales have told us that they agree with the 2016 Active Healthy Kids report card conclusion, and that the
'policy has not resulted in an increase in physical activity in Wales for the past 10 years'.
So, in your view, why have previous Welsh Government policies failed to make an impact and how do you plan to drive forward improvement and ensure that future policies, like the forthcoming obesity strategy, do have a positive impact? And, regarding the Active Healthy Kids report card, which rated Wales a D+ for physical activity and a C+ for the Government on this issue, how can we improve on this, please?
Well, I think it neatly points out the challenges of leadership at national level, which includes, obviously, the Government and our challenges in policy leadership, and the example that we try to set, together with our partners, but also, crucially, with the public. Because, actually, the report card that you just referred to set out, actually, from a policy point of view, that there isn't a huge criticism of the Government. We could always do better, and it's a useful inquiry to have in that sense, but it's actually about how successful we are in changing behaviours. That is our big challenge, and it's not just a challenge here in Wales—we know it's not just across the UK, but the wider western world as well. So, we are looking again at what we're doing. So, the review is particularly timely. We're having a range of views on what is actually working, from the schools network to introducing the daily mile to the school holiday enrichment programme. We do know that the way children behave is influenced by a number of factors—school, yes, when they're at school, but actually the biggest influence is parents and families and the communities that they live in. So, for all of the activity we've undertaken—you see it described in our evidence paper; if we hadn't done that, I think it's fair to say that you could expect the situation to be worse. So, we know that we need to do even better. That's why the obesity strategy—and I've already announced that there'll be a consultation on that before the end of this year, and, again, this committee may well want to take an interest during that consultation; I'd welcome views from it as part of it. So, we're not just talking about what sounds like a great policy, but we need to look critically at what's worked and what hasn't, and, to be fair, I think the review of the healthy schools network is a really important part of that— not just about the process, but actually how do we deliver outcomes that change behaviour outside of schools as well as what takes place within them.
Ocê. Kirsty Williams, a ydych chi eisiau dweud rhywbeth ar y pwynt yma?
Okay. Kirsty, do you have a comment on this point?
Just to pick up on some of the points Vaughan made, whilst we ask a lot of our schools, schools clearly have a role to play in ensuring that our children understand why it's important to be physically active. We have an opportunity via our investment in twenty-first century schools to ensure that our schools are built in a way and have facilities that maximise the opportunities to be physically active, and, of course, with our new curriculum we have the opportunity to embed well-being as a central part of that new curriculum reform. We also recognise that we need to further work and develop schools as community hubs so that school facilities are available outside normal school working hours in partnership with local organisations. Vaughan, crucially, mentioned what we can do in some of our deprived communities around summer holidays and our food and fun programme, which we will see many more children participating in this summer than last summer. It's about trying to break down some of the barriers that prevent children from participating. So, you'll be aware of the announcement on pupil development grant access last week, which will allow families on free school meals to be able to have some financial assistance—previously just for uniform, but now actually for kit, for sports kit, as well as other pieces of equipment that they may need to fully participate in extracurricular activity.
Ocê. Diolch yn fawr. Mae'r cwestiynau nesaf dan ofal Rhun ap Iorwerth.
Thank you. The next questions are from Rhun ap Iorwerth.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rydw i'n synnu eich clywed chi, Ysgrifennydd Cabinet, yn dweud y gallai'r sefyllfa fod yn waeth nag ydy hi rŵan. Nid ydy hynny yn amddiffyniad, rydw i'n meddwl, o'r sefyllfa rydym ni ynddi, lle rydym ni yn wynebu argyfwng cenedlaethol o ran lefel iechyd ein plant ni. Nid oes yna ddim ffordd arall i'w ddisgrifio fo. Mae fy etholaeth i yn un o'r rhai sydd â phroblemau gordewdra ar y mwyaf. Mae'n rhaid i ni fynd i'r afael â hyn.
Rŵan, rydym ni wedi cael sawl menter. Mae rhestr hir o fentrau ac acronymau—menter addysg gorfforol a chwaraeon mewn ysgolion, y rhaglen lythrennedd corfforol i ysgolion, ac yn blaen, ac yn y blaen. Mae yna beth ymateb positif wedi bod i rai ohonyn nhw, ond dro ar ôl tro mae'r cyllid yn dod i ben. A fyddech chi'n cytuno efo fi bod y ffaith bod y rhaglenni yma yn stop-start, bod yna ddim parhad iddyn nhw, yn adlewyrchiad o'r diffyg cysondeb, diffyg difrifoldeb, sy'n cael ei roi yn y maes hwn?
Thank you very much. I'm surprised to hear you, Cabinet Secretary, say that the situation could be worse than it currently is. That is no defence of the situation we are in, where we are facing a national crisis in terms of our children's health. There is no other way to describe it. My constituency is one of those that has the greatest obesity problems. We must tackle this.
We've had a number of initiatives. There is a long list of initiatives and acronyms—the physical education and school sports initiative, the physical literacy programme for schools, and so on and so forth. Now, there has been some positive response to some of these, but time and again funding comes to an end. Would you agree with me that the fact that these programmes are stop-start and there is no continuity is a reflection of the lack of consistency and the lack of emphasis put on this area?
No, not at all. I think it's very difficult to describe a sustained investment by previous administrations from 2001 to 2016, which saw nearly £30 million invested in school sport—that's hardly a stop-start initiative.
So, that's—. Just a second. That's £2 million a year for 13 years—just a little bit more. That's not enough, is it?
Well, with all due respect, Rhun, what we're looking for, surely, is impact and outcomes. What's really important, if you look at the legacy associated with those two programmes, is that, if we look first of all at the physical education and school sports funding project, that was about ensuring that we could upskill PE teachers in our schools so people had a more positive experience of PE lessons, and that the impact of those PE lessons was greater. So, what we have seen—and, crucially, I'm sure you would agree with me, it's not all about inputs; it's about what you get for that input—what we've seen at key stage 3 is a sustained acceleration in those children reaching the expected target for physical education at key stage 3. Crucially, because we have to make these schemes sustainable, because we can't just keep putting more and more money in when there are other parts of the curriculum that need development—. So, if I could explain to you, in 2001, 61 per cent of children at the end of key stage 3 reached the expected attainment levels in PE. By 2015, that had risen to 91 per cent, and, even since that funding has come to an end, the latest figures in 2017 showed an increased attainment level again to over 94 per cent. So, the legacy of those programmes, of investing in PE teachers and their skills, continues to have that effect.
Jest i dorri ar eich traws chi, rydw i'n cytuno efo chi—rydw i'n meddwl eich bod chi'n hollol iawn i ddweud mai'r allbynnau sydd yn bwysig. Ond mae Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru, er enghraifft, wedi dweud wrthym ni o'r blaen bod yna lawer gormod o ffocws wedi bod ar broses ar draul canlyniadau, ac nad oes yna ddigon o fesur wedi bod ar allbynnau a pha mor llwyddiannus maen nhw wedi bod. Dyna'r dystiolaeth sydd gennym ni.
If I could just interrupt, I agree with you. I think you're entirely right to say that outcomes are what's important. But Public Health Wales, for example, have told us quite clearly that there has been far too much focus on process at the expense of outcomes, and that there hasn't been sufficient assessment of outcomes and outputs and how successful they've been. That's the evidence we have.
Because you're talking about a different programme. You're now switching from the investment that the education department put into PE lessons and joint investment with Sport Wales in delivering physical literacy. You're now quoting Public Health Wales, which are referring to the healthy schools network programme. So, you are mixing up—
Just to be fair, you interrupted before me. This is really important—
This is the healthy schools network programme that Public Health Wales—
—run, and they recognise they need to have a greater focus on outcomes.
Okay, I need to explain to you: we're talking about a number of different initiatives, which may be positive initiatives in themselves, and, if we are to measure outcomes—and the outcome, at the end of the day, will be how healthy we become as a nation—you've got to take the agglomeration effect, if you like, and see how they all come together. And we're told by Public Health Wales that the results and other pieces of evidence are saying that
'policy has not resulted in an increase in physical activity in Wales for the past 10 years'.
We've got to look at it as a whole.
And we recognise that. So, when we said that, actually, in the opening response to Caroline Jones, if we hadn't done this the situation would be worse, that isn't saying that that means everything's fine—far from it. It's a recognition from us that we actually want to achieve more. That's why we're looking again at the range of things we're doing, including the healthy schools network, where, actually, it's not just about going through a process to get a certificate or a badge but actually saying, 'What is changing in terms of the activity of those children and families?' Again, it's a consistent theme, isn't it, about how we need to get alongside whole families, not just children, so that the work that schools do isn't just confined to the classroom and the playground, and that's really important. That's why there's lots of work going across my portfolio and the Cabinet Secretary for Education's. There is no complacency within the Government, and our challenge is how we persuade people who live in the country to act differently.
And also what's important is that, when we put in investment, that investment leads to sustainable change, that, actually, the impact of that investment goes beyond the lifetime of that funding programme. Otherwise, we're not going to see the step change that the health Cabinet Secretary just discussed. What the evidence is from the investment that the education department put in is that, actually, we've seen an increase in attainment levels that have continued to increase beyond the end of that particular project funding, because we've invested in a sustainable way in the skills and the capacity of individuals to deliver change in their own institutions, and in a suite of curriculum support materials that are still available that schools are still using.
So, some programmes we'll need to look at again—we'll need to really interrogate whether we're getting what we want out of those programmes—but, for other programmes, there is evidence that those programmes have made a difference. But there is clearly more to do when we look at some of the statistics around participation levels.
Your paper, for example, says that one of the key legacies of the physical literacy programme was the physical literacy journey on Sport Wales's website, so we have some online material available. Other evidence we've heard says we haven't got the teachers and we're losing the skills in our schools to pass on those physical literacy tips or that physical literacy education. But do you think that having that physical literacy journey on a website, which is not used by all schools, is good enough as a legacy of the physical literacy programme?
Well, it's not the only legacy, is it, because what's happening with the physical literacy programme is that that evidence and those resources are integral to the curriculum group that is looking to develop the content for the health and well-being area of learning and experience. So, there is an ongoing input for those resources that is shaping policy for the new curriculum. So, it's not just that a programme comes to an end and then there's nothing; those resources continue to inform policy decisions to shape the new curriculum. That's an ongoing piece of work.
Ocê. Dafydd, a oeddet ti eisiau dweud rhywbeth ar y pwynt yma?
Okay. Dafydd, did you have a comment here?
Oeddwn—jest eisiau esbonio y cyfrifoldebau fel maen nhw ar hyn o bryd ers i mi gymryd cyfrifoldeb fel Gweinidog. Mae gen i drosolwg ynglŷn â gweithgaredd corfforol yn ogystal â chyfrifoldeb penodol am gyllido ac am gylch gorchwyl Chwaraeon Cymru. Ac felly nid yw o'n wir i ddweud bod yna wahaniaeth bellach yn mynd i fod rhwng yr hyn mae Hybu Iechyd Cymru yn ei wneud yn y maes yma a'r hyn y mae Chwaraeon Cymru yn ei wneud, ond rydym ni yn chwilio am fframwaith o allbynnau cyffredin. Nid yw'r gwaith yma eto wedi ei gwblhau—nid ydw i'n gallu ei rannu fo efo chi fel pwyllgor yn yr ymchwiliad yma—ond, cyn gynted ag y bydd y gwaith wedi ei gwblhau, a gobeithio mewn ymateb i adroddiad y pwyllgor yma, fe fyddwn ni mewn sefyllfa fel Llywodraeth i esbonio'r fframwaith allbynnau gytûn newydd.
Yes, I just wanted to explain the responsibilities as they currently are since I took responsibility as Minister. I have an overview of physical activity as well as a specific responsibility for the funding and remit of Sport Wales. So, it isn't true to say that there is now a difference between what Health Promotion Wales does in this area and what Sport Wales does, but we are seeking a framework of common outputs. This work hasn't yet been completed—I can't share it with you as a committee during this inquiry—but, as soon as that work is completed, and, hopefully, in response to this committee's report, we will be in a position as a Government to explain that agreed framework.
Ocê. Rhun, wyt ti eisiau dod yn ôl ar hynny, neu wyt ti'n iawn?
Rhun, did you want to come back on that?
I'll just find the questions. We've heard from witnesses that there's a window before the age of seven where it's optimal to target children's physical activity. Is this something that you recognise, and is it something that you're planning to address more in terms of the early years?
From an education point of view, of course, physical development is a core element of the foundation phase. So, we recognise, in the first part of our curriculum, that we need to look at the child's development in the round, including their physical development. And that's really important for that child in building self-confidence and beginning to develop a love for physical activity. Of course, the very nature of the foundation phase means that we don't expect our children to sit at a desk. That stage of their education is all about moving around inside the classroom, crucially outside of the classroom, and physically doing and learning through doing and learning through play. So, I think we fundamentally understand that important principle.
Clearly, though, there is always more that we can do. So, last year, myself and the previous Minister, Rebecca Evans, wrote to all schools, launching the daily mile. There's lots of evidence out of Scotland that the introduction of the daily mile into their primary school sector, and indeed the secondary school sector, can have a positive impact on a child's mental well-being, as well as their physical well-being. I think that's also an important element that we need to discuss here about how physical activity can lead to improved mental health for our children and young people also. So, we have now got 247 primary schools who are signed up to the daily mile, and the feedback that we have from schools is that that is really, really positive.
Schools also recognise that, also—. Later on in primary schools, we find schools that are doing little bits of yoga and little bits of physical activity at the start of a lesson to get that energy out, to burn some of that energy up, allowing the children then to sit down and have greater levels of concentration on their work. So, it's a really important element of school attainment as well. So, putting children in a position where they can access other parts of the curriculum.
Clearly, in the foundation phase, we have some excellent practitioners, but we also know from Estyn's report that, in some of our schools, the foundation phase is not as good as it could be, and that's why, earlier this year, we launched the national network of excellence for the foundation phase, where we can share good practice, where those who are responsible for delivering the foundation phase in the maintained and the non-maintained sector can have access to better evidence-based interventions, as well as professional learning opportunities, because we want that foundation phase experience to be good wherever a child is.
Yes, thank you. We have had a lot of evidence that PE is not given enough priority and that it's actually being squeezed, and that children aren't getting the recommended two hours a week. Have you got any plans to ensure that that does in fact happen in our schools?
Well, I think what's absolutely clear—and schools know this, and I'm more than happy to remind our schools of it—is that PE, in the current curriculum, is a statutory element of the curriculum, alongside English, Welsh and maths. So, this is already a statutory element of our curriculum. Going forward, of course, in the new curriculum, it will form part of our area of learning and experience for health and well-being. And, Lynne, you would know much better because of your chairmanship of the other committee that each of those AoLEs has equal status.
I recognise that, sometimes, in the pursuit of—in secondary schools especially—grades associated with GCSEs, there can be pressure on timetables, and I would be very concerned if schools were not meeting their statutory responsibilities that, in law, say that they are to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, and that PE is a statutory element to the age of 16.
Thank you. One of the things we've also heard is that schools are reducing play times, whether it's breaks or lunch breaks, and that's having an impact on children's ability to run around and play. Play Wales have told the committee that they think that there should be a statutory right to have a play time and a lunch break, and that that should be inspected by Estyn. What is your view on that?
I would be concerned if schools were making those kinds of decisions. I'm not aware from correspondence of this matter being raised with me previously. Ultimately, the organisation of the school day is a matter for the individual headteacher and the governing body. It is for the individual school to structure their day in a way that they feel is appropriate, in consultation with stakeholders. But, clearly, many schools recognise that the ability to have breaks and have access to physical space to do what children want to do naturally, which, in many cases, is to run around, is really important.
In some schools, of course, we have seen—and this, I know, is of interest to the Chair—a lack of facilities for children to do that. That's why the Welsh Government has made additional resources available to look at ensuring that we've got proper play spaces for children. A crucial part of our twenty-first century schools programme is not just to develop buildings, but also to develop outdoor spaces as well. So, this week, I had the opportunity to open the new extension of Adamsdown Primary School, here in the city centre. Previously, the green space in that school was waterlogged and unusable by the children—they couldn't get out onto it. As part of the twenty-first century schools programme, we've built a new building, but we've also sorted out all of the drainage problems so that the green space is now available for children to play on, and they've got a multi-use games area to be able to play on a hard surface as well—facilities that that inner-city school didn't have previously.
Yes, specifically on your response to Lynne Neagle about the new core subjects coming forward with Donaldson and that sport or physical activity will be part of health and well-being, et cetera. What measures will you be able to put in place to ensure that the time within the curriculum allocated to that rather broader subject isn't entirely devoted to talks about how to eat healthily, how to look after yourself, why you shouldn't smoke, et cetera, and that the kids will still actually get out there and do some form of physical activity? I do use the words 'physical activity' advisedly, rather than sport, because physical activity is a much nicer thing to do than sport. You said that they all have equal weight, but how are you going to monitor and measure, because you will know from previous questions that one of my big bugbears is the fact that time for PE, sport and physical activity has gradually reduced in Welsh schools over the last few years?
The fact that each of the AoLEs has equal standing is, I think, an important first principle, so that when the curriculum becomes statutory in 2022, schools will know that they have to provide that broad and balanced approach.
I think what's really important about putting PE in the health and well-being AoLE is to actually have some of those lessons, Angela, around why it's important, because there are some children who love sport—their natural instinct, their love and desire and their passion is to participate in sport—but other children like drama and music. As individuals we all like different things. But explaining to children about why it's important to be physically active, I think, is a really important thing, so that we don't just see PE lessons and games lessons in isolation, but we're actually making the connections for children about, 'I'm doing this, even if I'm not particularly sporty' or 'I don't particularly enjoy sport, but I know it's important for me to participate in these activities, because that's good for my health and well-being.'
You're also right, Angela: I think it's really important that we recognise that not all of us have a particular interest in competitive sports or traditional sports that are sometimes found in schools. We need to be able to ensure that schools offer a wide variety of physical activity for youngsters to be involved in, whether that is dancing or a gym for people who like to be on a running machine. For some people, of course, their passion would be traditional sports like hockey or netball or football or rugby. And it's about ensuring that those sports are offered across both genders as well, so we can actually tackle some of the other issues around gender stereotyping, so that all sports are available for both genders so that people don't feel that they're having to fit into a particular box.
I think, again, it's really important to recognise what these activities can give to a child as an overall part of our curriculum. It's not just about health and well-being; it's about learning resilience and it's about learning to pick yourself up when you haven't been able to succeed, and to try again. It is about improved mental health; it is about life skills, like team building and leadership and being able to be social and make friends. So, these opportunities are so much more than just a stand-alone part of the curriculum.
If we look at the purposes of our curriculum and the kind of people we want to lead the Welsh education system, physical activity is about delivering more than just physical fitness; it is about being able to use those lessons to be able to develop leadership skills, resilience, teambuilding, the ability to communicate—all really important skills that we need our children to leave education with.
Thank you. Yes. Tanni Grey-Thompson recommended to your predecessor that physical education become a core subject in the curriculum on a par with other core subjects, like maths and English. What's your view on that?
Well, I believe that the new curriculum will allow us to do that with the equal weighting for each of the AoLEs and a recognition that when we're moving away from individual stand-alone subjects, every subject gives us the opportunity to develop the skills that children need, which I was just referring to. So, in a PE lesson, you can actually do maths, you can do English, because you're developing communication skills. So, actually, those lessons give us an opportunity to reinforce lots of different aspects of the curriculum. Of course, currently in the curriculum, PE GCSE remains a really popular choice for many, many children, both at GCSE and at A-level, and it's good to see that many children who want to study this subject more in depth, rather than just the physical activity aspect of it, are choosing that opportunity too.
Diolch yn fawr. Symudwn ymlaen at Jayne Bryant.
Thank you. We move on to Jayne Bryant.
Thank you, Chair. The committee's heard calls for the Welsh Government to make the recommended 120 minutes of PE per week a statutory minimum and for it to be included in Estyn's inspection regime. Indeed, we've heard that many have called for Estyn to give physical activity greater priority and say it should be inspected as rigorously as numeracy and literacy, to elevate its status. Perhaps you could give your views on that and whether it's something you would consider.
Well, currently, Estyn would visit many PE lessons as part of their core inspection regime of any school, although I would agree that, when looking at well-being, which is something that the Estyn framework currently requires them to do, they are probably looking at a different set of indicators to identify how a school is doing in well-being.
You will be aware, Jayne, that last week, Professor Donaldson published his report on the future of the inspection regime in Wales, and we will be carefully considering as a Government our reaction to what Professor Donaldson is proposing, as, of course, will Estyn. But, clearly, as we move towards a new curriculum, how that new curriculum is assessed within school, by our regional consortia challenge advisers and Estyn, will be really important. Members will perhaps want to be aware that we are not just looking at what the content of the curriculum will be, but, crucially, how we will assess that—so, what are the developmental stages that we would be expecting children to demonstrate in each of the AoLEs as they progress through school?
Thank you. You've already touched on a few of these points about the new curriculum and the opportunities that that will bring, but where do you see the improvement to get our children and young people more physically active as well? You know, we've touched on the mental health side of it, but how do you see the new opportunities from the curriculum to get people actually physically out there?
I think there's a really exciting opportunity with the development of the new curriculum to combine the opportunity to be physically active, but also to link that very clearly to why that is important, and giving people the motivation, the understanding and the reasons, especially for more reluctant participants, for why it is important for them to do that.
But, clearly, we also need to look at the barriers, and that can't just be about the curriculum. So, as I said, that's why it's really important that we are looking at the physical nature of our school buildings, whether there is actually the space and the facilities that children and young people need to undertake these activities. But I have to say, Jayne, there's only so much we can do within the school. We are asking an awful lot of our teaching profession, and while it is really important that these messages and these lessons and these opportunities are available in the school day, it has to build upon actions and messages that are being delivered and developed with colleagues across the table. Because, if we leave it all to schools and say this is the job of schools and nobody else has any responsibility to deliver this regime, or these changes that we want, then we won't succeed.
Thank you. And just finally, we've had witnesses like Public Health Wales and Ray Williams, who is a Welsh weightlifting coach, and they believe that the new curriculum development provides an opportunity to introduce objective measures of physical fitness at individual child level. Ray's talked about the personal fitness passport, which follows you through school, and this committee has visited Bassaleg School in Newport as well, where every child was assessed and given a tailored exercise programme, which seemed very successful. Is that something you'd consider adopting in the new curriculum?
What's important to describe, I think, to reassure Members, is that Sport Wales and PE teachers in our pioneer schools are part of the development of the content of the curriculum. So, we've got a great deal of expertise that are actually advising on the 'what matters' and what actually the content will be. Alongside that, we have an assessment group that is working on, 'Okay, how are we going to measure the impact of that curriculum and how can we satisfy ourselves that children are making the proper progress?' There will be individual progression points for each of the AoLEs that we would expect schools to be able to measure on an individual pupil basis.
The other thing, though, to say is that the curriculum is not about dictating to individual schools individual approaches. One of the problems that we have in education, in many ways, is that the creativity of teachers has been driven out of them over recent years. So, sometimes, it's schools like Bassaleg, who are introducing these innovative approaches, where that happens despite the old curriculum rather than because of the new curriculum. I believe our new flexibility in the curriculum, for individual schools to think about what's best in their own community, will give a greater level of flexibility and allow those individual schools to tailor-make their curriculum especially to the needs of their individual community, recognising that each community will have a different set of needs.
Ocê. Rhun, mae gyda ti gwestiwn atodol cyn inni symud ymlaen.
Okay. Rhun, you have a supplementary question before we move on.
Yes, a supplementary to that, really, picking up on some of the comments that Ray Williams made, and I appreciate what you're saying about the need for flexibility. Ray Williams, with a background in army physical training, also would like to see an element of pretty structured and formal physical training that could contribute to the kinds of motor skills improvements that we've heard clear evidence needs to happen in schools as well. Maybe a comment from the three of you.
There are many ways of developing those motor skills, yes, through a variety of programmes. I don't believe it's for the education Minister to dictate to individual classroom teachers which programmes they use, though clearly there is an evidence base amongst many of these programmes, and it's for individual schools to think about it. But you can have physical training or you can have children doing the playdough disco. The reason why children do those exercises is to develop those fine motor skills that they need. But it's not for me to dictate to individual classrooms, 'You will do it this way', because that robs our profession of their creativity and of their ability to tailor what they do in their classroom for individual children and for individual communities.
Thank you, Chair. And I take, Kirsty, absolutely, your point that this isn't just an issue for schools, but schools have a fundamental role in this. We've certainly heard evidence—so, I just want to concentrate on this for a little bit—about the training for primary schoolteachers in particular. The evidence that we've heard is that primary schoolteachers aren't really adequately trained in the competencies required for developing the kind of physical activity motor skills that we've heard about. So, I just wonder whether you accept that, and if you do, what you think we need to address. Because I think Tanni Grey-Thompson, in her report, was talking about teachers having as little as four hours in their basic training for this. So, it's whether we need to develop the teacher training competencies around this.
Absolutely. There are two elements to that. The first element is initial teacher education. So, for those people who are undertaking that, are we giving them the training that they need to make sure that they are going to be successful and impactful in schools? You will be aware that we are currently recommissioning and re-accrediting all our initial teacher education courses. So, anybody who will, in the future, want to deliver initial teacher education in Wales has been asked to submit courses for accreditation. Then, on the basis of whether their courses are accredited, we will then be allocating where we want initial teacher education to take place in Wales. So, we are seeing a radical reform of how we do initial teacher education across the piece—PE is just one element of it—but we really need to up our game in how we are training our teachers. But then, that's fine for those who are going to come out of that system, but we have a whole cohort of professionals who are already out there in our schools, and, of course, the new curriculum will mean that we'll need to develop and deliver a national approach to professional learning to get the profession ready for the implementation of the curriculum.
I recognise that that is a big job, and that's one of the reasons why I made the announcement I made last year about giving extra time for the roll-out of the curriculum, so that we can get those professional learning opportunities right and delivered, and so that the existing teaching professionals will in a place to deliver and develop that new curriculum. So, there are two aspects: we need to do better, both in our undergraduate study and our undergraduate programmes, and ensure that we have a national approach for professional learning rolling out to succeed the successful implementation of the curriculum.
And you see within that, absolutely, the role of training in the physical education side of primary education in particular.
We would expect our initial teacher education programmes to be able to equip a primary schoolteacher to deliver the statutory content of a curriculum, and that will include the health and well-being AoLE.
Okay, because the reason I ask that specifically is that the evidence that we had from the Wales Institute for Physical Literacy said that they felt that there was a significant gap at the foundation phase on fundamental motor skills. I noticed what you were talking about earlier on about the excellence for foundation phase programmes, so you would see that as part of developing the foundation phase excellence programme.
The excellence network of the foundation phase is all about establishing best practice and sharing that best practice across maintained and non-maintained settings, because, remember, some of our children, in the very earliest part of foundation phase, are in a non-maintained setting. They're not in school at all—they're in nursery. So, that's exactly what that network is about—providing those training and professional learning opportunities, the evidence base, the scholarship behind interventions, and being able to roll that out to individual practitioners in schools. There are many ways in which that can done. So, what we need to do is establish: what is the best practice, why do we know that that works and how can we ensure that all our professionals are aware of that and, crucially, can adapt that to their own individual classroom that is fit for purpose for those children?
Okay, because we've seen some programmes that appear to have had a measure of success. I'm thinking of the of the SKIP Cymru programme—kinaesthetic instruction for preschoolers. You would see that as being part of the—?
Well, I've met with the developer of SKIP Cymru, as has Rebecca Evans in her previous role. It certainly, on the face of the evidence that is available to date, seems to have had an impact. We have had discussions with the developer of the programme to see whether they would put together a proposal that we could look at—a small pilot—to be able to test some of that a bit further. We're more than content to continue to have those conversations about it. But, again, I don't believe that we as a Government should be singling out individual interventions and saying to a school, 'That is the approach that you have to take.' But it could be a programme that, with further research and further piloting, could be something that could be seen as best practice, and that would need to be shared then across the profession.
Mae'r cwestiynau nesaf gan Rhun ap Iorwerth.
The next questions are from Rhun ap Iorwerth.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rydw i'n poeni eich bod chi, Ysgrifennydd Cabinet, yn gorfod cael eich gwneud i weithio'n rhy galed, oherwydd nid ymchwiliad i addysg gorfforol mewn ysgolion ydy hwn—mae o'n rhywbeth llawer rhy llydan. Mae'n bosib bod y cwestiwn yma'n pontio rhwng yr ysgol a'r byd y tu allan i'r ysgol: beth ydy eich barn chi, fel Gweinidogion ac Ysgrifenyddion Cabinet, ynglŷn â'r posibilrwydd o ymestyn y diwrnod ysgol—yr effaith ar yr ysgol ei hun a'r allbwn rydych chi'n meddwl a allai ddod o hynny yn sgil cynyddu iechyd, drwy, o bosib, adeiladu amser yn y dydd i bob plentyn, yn yr ysgol ond y tu allan i oriau'r ysgol, ar gyfer gweithgarwch corfforol?
Thank you very much. I'm a little concerned, Cabinet Secretary, that you're being made to work too hard, because this isn't an inquiry into physical education in schools—it is much broader than that. Perhaps this question bridges between the school and the world outside school: what's your view, as Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries, on the possibility of extending the school day—the impact of that on the school itself and the outcome that you believe that could emerge from that in improving health by, perhaps, building time into the day for each child, in school but outside school hours, for physical activities?
Yes, I can start. I think there are two elements to this. I'm very keen to ensure that facilities in schools are, as much as possible, made more widely available, especially when we are developing our twenty-first century schools programme. It seems a great shame that the investment goes—we don't want that investment only to be available during school hours. So, we have recently set up a task and finish group to look at what the barriers are to being able to ensure that those facilities are available 365 days of the year, across a wider period of time, recognising that it doesn't need to be the job of teachers or staff within that school to be able to provide those opportunities. And we need to do that in conjunction with voluntary groups, and there's lots and lots of evidence and good practice out there where that is happening. But there are some real barriers because, of course, the rules around access to those facilities very much lie with the headteacher and with the governing body, and we need to understand some of the concerns that they sometimes have about making those facilities available.
So, we've got a task and finish group looking at that at the moment, about how we can have truly community-focused schools. And when I talk about community-focused schools, I don't just mean, 'We let out the hall.' We actually mean truly part of a community, providing opportunities not just for the children who attend that school but the wider community, recognising that, in some areas, the school will have the only facilities that that community has got—that's all there is within the community. We have seen some really innovative practice in this area. If I think of my own constituency, the local authority was going to close the gym that was situated at Gwernyfed High School. The headteacher at that school said, 'Hang on a minute, that's really bad for our community. It's bad for my kids, but it's bad for the wider community', and has taken over the running of that facility. The gym in Crickhowell High School is run by the school, but that is open to the entire community. Without the schools' intervention, those facilities would not be there.
So, there is some really innovative practice, and we need to understand how we can break down the barriers to make sure that that's the case across the piece, because those are the only facilities, sometimes, a community has.
I think what I'd pose back is to say: is extending the school day the most effective intervention in this area? Because you'd want to understand what you're trying to achieve in doing that. You've got to understand the cost for the staff to keep the school open, the impact on parents, and things like school transport. So, there are very practical considerations, in any event, about just what you'd need to do to do that. And then I think we need to come back to what works and would be most effective in terms of what already takes place within the school day—we've heard lots about that already in the questions Kirsty has already answered—and then what works in terms of outside the school day with that whole school community—not just what Kirsty talked about on access to those facilities, but the broader points we started off with, about the culture of that wider school community and the behaviour.
My view is, actually, that we have a significant piece of work and real improvement to be gained in terms of health outcomes, in terms of physical activity, in focusing on what we already do within the school day and what we already do with that school community. If there's different evidence the committee has heard that, actually, extending the school day would be the most cost-effective intervention to deliver the improvements in physical activity we'd want to see, then I'd be very interested in hearing that and engaging with it. But, obviously, I start with a note of scepticism about whether that's the right thing to do, rather than focusing on what we already have and improving that.
Rydw i'n cytuno efo'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud, yn enwedig o ran trafnidiaeth ysgolion, sydd yn ddigon o broblem mewn ardaloedd gwledig a threfol y dyddiau hyn. Ond y pwyslais sydd gyda ni, wrth gwrs, yw datblygu hybiau cymunedol mewn ysgolion, fel bod y gweithgaredd ôl-ysgol a'r gweithgaredd oriau ysgol yn cydlynu â'i gilydd. Yn wir, mae yna rywbeth arbennig o bwysig, rydw i'n meddwl, o'm mhrofiad i fel taid neu dad-cu, pan fydd ieuenctid yn teimlo, os ydyn nhw'n gwneud gweithgaredd ar ôl ysgol, fod hwnnw yn weithgaredd mwy gwirfoddol, sydd yn rhan o'u dewis nhw o ba fath o chwaraeon maen nhw am ei ddilyn, p'un ai ydy o'n nofio neu gymnasteg neu bêl-droed neu rygbi—beth bynnag y bo. Ac mae'n bwysig iawn, os caf i ddweud yn y fan yma, fod yna ddewis bob amser o weithgaredd corfforol ar gael ar gyfer pobl ifanc, oherwydd gwahanol fathau o weithgaredd ydy un o'r atebion pwysicaf, yn fy marn i, i gynyddu cyfranogaeth.
I agree with what's been said, particularly in terms of school transport, which is a real problem in rural and urban areas these days. But the emphasis for us, of course, is to develop community hubs within schools, so that the after-school activity and the school-hours activity are co-ordinated. Indeed, there's something very important, in my experience as a grandfather, where the young people feel that, if they are involved with an after-school activity, that is more voluntary, and is part of their choice of the kind of sport that they want to pursue, be it swimming, gymnastics, football or rugby—whatever it may be. And it's very important, if I may say at this point, that there is always a choice of physical activities available for young people, because different kinds of activity is one of the most important solutions, in my view, to increasing participation.
I just think as well that this has to be a collective effort; it can't just be about the school staff. And I want to put on record that, in some rural areas, the schools recognise the logistical disadvantage and the fact that children can't stay after school because they've got to get on a school bus, and they are giving up lunch time after lunch time after lunch time to provide those opportunities, because they know that the child from, I don't know, Tirabad can't stay after school—they're going to need to get on the bus home.
I think we're having some success. The latest Sport Wales survey says that 48 per cent of children up to the age of 16 are participating in three or more sessions a week of sporting activity outside of the curriculum. I also want to pay tribute to organisations that we don't think of as sporting organisations. We know about the rugby clubs and the football clubs and all the volunteers who are doing things there, but also, Dafydd was telling me only yesterday about the number of children who are playing rugby via the Urdd movement—
And that's a fantastic opportunity, because that helps us with physically active children, but it also helps us to be able to demonstrate to those children that they can use their language in a setting outside the school, which is particularly important for those children growing up in communities where perhaps Welsh isn't the language necessarily of the community or of the home. Or the young farmers' club. My daughter will be off to Aberystwyth next week for the all-Wales young farmers' clubs sports day. You know, playing dodgeball—not an Olympic sport, but she'll be out there running around on a pitch. So, there are lots and lots of organisations—Scouts, Girl Guides. All these organisations have a role to play, and I want to pay tribute to all those volunteers who are actually making those opportunities available for young people outside of the school, because that's crucial too.
Just a couple of comments, really. We should point out that Public Health Wales, Estyn and Sport Wales all supported the possibility of extending the school day. The problem with giving people a choice of what to do and whether they take part after school is that some will choose not to do anything and it's those with the most encouragement and the most support that are perhaps most likely to go to young farmers' clubs or to the Urdd. And on the school transport issue, of course, you could shift the whole thing an hour forward and just make sure that school transport leaves an hour later so that everybody can take part. There are answers that we have heard in evidence during the course of the inquiry. And these are challenges, of course.
No, just to say there are always challenges and always choices we have to make.
Thank you very much. I wanted to talk about three things, actually: the gender gap, disability or those with disabilities, and also the view from your respective positions as Ministers as to what you think we should be doing.
But can I just pick up this business about 48 per cent doing three extra sessions on top of the—? In your paper, you actually say that only 20.1 per cent of boys and 10.7 per cent of girls participate in the recommended amount of sport, which actually is incredibly low. So, quite where the other figure comes from—. We are talking about what we think should be the recommended amount for us to become a healthy nation, and one of the great calls that we have is that we recognise that, going forward, the pressure on our public health services is becoming more and more immense because of the lifestyle choices that we make. So I wondered whether, from the point of view of your positions as heading up your different portfolios, you would just give a comment on what you think we should be doing to actually increase that level of participation from a mere 20 per cent of boys and 10 per cent of girls getting to the recommended amount. Because whether it's in school or out of school, at the weekends, whatever it might be, they are going to be the unhealthy adults of the future if we are not careful.
I think it comes back to your phrase 'lifestyle choices' and it's about how you get alongside families and communities for those different lifestyle choices. That is across Government. We are not individually responsible for active travel, but that's a huge part of it, so there are budget choices being made to invest more in active travel, which matters hugely, and we then need to get people to use that active travel and take up those choices as being normal rather than special. And that's a big part of it. We need to renormalise physical activity. I know you've seen in evidence about the reducing numbers of people who walk or cycle to school. Well, that's a big problem, because we all know that behaviours up to the age of seven help to set what you are likely to think of as normal and acceptable for a significant part of your life. So, that's why the Healthy Child Wales programme wants to get an evidence base for those interventions because, pre school, it's a universal service, the service that families have around them, and then when they start off in the foundation phase and start to engage the schools are there as well. So, it's about how those things work with each other.
And that's why I go back to the phrase about the whole-school community, because it isn't just the teaching and learning, it isn't just the parents, grandparents and carers—it's actually all those other people around that school that create the climate of what is normal. And this is not just in this area. It's about all of our major public health challenges, so attitudes to smoking, drinking, diet and exercise—all of these things matter. We know that, as a nation, we have significant problems with some of our health activity and outcomes but also a significant challenge in growing health inequalities that exist across the country, and the figures on activity for children and on the numbers of overweight children we have are a real challenge that no-one tries to hide behind. But that is exactly what I say: we're reviewing what we do, and we need to understand again what works. That will mean doing things differently in the future.
Kirsty, I'm conscious of the time; so, if you want to say something now—.
The figures I'm quoting are from Sport Wales's sport survey—the latest survey. I think, from an education perspective, we also need to think about issues of equity and making sure that all children have an equal chance. I was disturbed to read the evidence that has come to the committee from Disability Sport Wales. Our curriculum is a curriculum for all of our children. It's an equitable curriculum, and therefore, as a result of the evidence that you have had, I'll be asking officials to meet with Disability Sport Wales so that we can understand more fully, and have a conversation with them about the barriers children with a disability are facing in the current curriculum so that we can be mindful of those challenges as we're designing the new one, and to see what opportunities we can take now. Because I don't want to wait until 2022 to fix those problems—it's what we need to do now in schools. So, I'm grateful to the committee that that evidence has come to the fore so that we can pick that up and we can do something. Because the curriculum—the existing one and the new one—is an equitable curriculum, and it's there for all children.
I'm afraid I'm not as pessimistic at all. I can give you other figures: the Football Association of Wales reporting to us and to Sport Wales a 32 per cent increase in the registered number of girls playing football, and this is for the last year, compared with the previous year. This is my opportunity to congratulate the national team on their wonderful victory, and to wish them well in the future and that they will take us into France. The comparable figure for rugby: 95 schools and colleges involved in the Welsh Rugby Union's School Club Hub programme. The increase in girls' participation—it's gone up from 200 to 10,000 in the last three years. So, there are very clear things happening, and there are initiatives that contribute to that.
The sports council has a call to action, and there's been £1.5 million invested in increasing sporting participation among young women and girls. Us Girls, set up by StreetGames, again funded by Sport Wales, continues to work to increase participation by young women, and Our Squad—another campaign for empowering young women and girls—is also getting a response. Similarly, in terms of the deprived communities, Cics Cymru, which is a programme supported by the FAW Trust and and the Premier League, is having a strong social impact. So, I am very optimistic that these activities are resulting in increased participation, and as soon as we have further figures, obviously we'll make them available.
And sometimes it's a call to arms to the community to support this, because sometimes there are waiting lists in clubs because of a lack of volunteers. So, Ynys Môn with gymnastics—an absolutely huge explosion in gymnastics in Ynys Môn. It's a private club. They've expanded, but there's still a waiting list. So, there are actually children waiting to be a member of that club. Sometimes, in communities, it's a constraint on the capacity to take more children on. There are more children who want to do things, so there's also a call to adults to actually say, 'What can you do in your community? Can you volunteer? Can you help one of your local sports clubs so that, if there is a waiting list, those children can have those opportunities?' So, there are kids out there who want to do stuff, and we need, collectively as adults, to be able to help and do our part to make those opportunities available.
And to provide the facilities as well, because we have football clubs that aren't able to train because they've got no fields.
I'm conscious that the Minister for education needs to go, but I just have a couple more questions for our other two Ministers. Just building on something that you were talking about earlier, of course, one of the real key things is about models—role models, people to follow. What influence would you be able to have, or are you able to bring, to the media, to television et cetera, to actually portray more about what women do, women's sports, women's successes, and not necessarily in what we would call traditional sports but in actually some of the more esoteric ones, which maybe far more appealing to young girls and young women?
I wouldn't want it. I certainly wouldn't waste my time lobbying the media. They know where their duty lies, and they should ensure that they reflect according to the broadcasting legislation under which they all operate, and through the governing bodies they have. They know that they must reflect the whole community, and surely they will understand that that's important in the area of sport. I must say that the coverage that was given overnight—I followed the BBC coverage, mainly—was exemplary, up to the point of not differentiating between the national team of men and women, and I think that's where we need to get to, because Wales is Wales, and it's not men and women that differentiate it.
But I would like to emphasise another programme that we have, which is the Young Ambassadors programme. There are 3,000 people who are listening to young people and delivering programmes for them within and across the school system and beyond, and that's the kind of initiative that we need to see, and this is highlighted in all our activity in terms of encouraging, through remit letters and so on, the activity of the sports council. I'm sure you will have seen Sport Wales's remit letter for this year and the emphasis that we've put on increasing participation across the board.
Do you have in train any plans for being able to nationally promote some of the more minority activities? I do take your point, of course. I probably worded it very clumsily. I don't expect you to influence the media. But I think that they do fail, actually, in promoting some of the sports, and it's only recently that women's sports have begun to have the high profile on national television. Five years ago, it wasn't happening, so it's been a long, hard battle. But we're talking about a catastrophic impact on our public services in 10, 15 or 20 years' time if we are not able to make some of these alterations now. So, I think promotion and talking about it and getting those role models out there—. And I just wondered if there are plans to do some sort of activity along those—.
We have 43 national governing bodies, at the last count—
It's a few more.
It's a few more. If you'd like to correct me, please do so on this.
There are about sixty national governing bodies and Sport Wales works with all of them at different levels, because they are of different sizes, but they clearly have different ranges of appeal to the media in terms of programming.
Right. Okay. I'd like to ask, if I may, the Cabinet Secretary for health about the community work that you were talking about. You talked about the fact that it's a universal offering in the early days of a young person's life, and the fact that there are a lot of health interventions; it's not just about schools or early years, but we've got district nurses, we've got advisers, we've got Flying Start, we've got all of these things. And when we look across the whole of Wales, we have some really large pockets of areas where we have a very obvious lifestyle issue in terms of choices that people are making. What promotions or activities do you think are particularly strong or that you'll be particularly encouraging within the health portfolio that get alongside those people and will help to encourage them to make those different choices, so that they become role models for their children? Do you think we can enhance or expand social prescribing in some sort of manner so that the mother or the father who perhaps doesn't know how to make some of these better choices is actually encouraged to do so because of the knock-on effect that that will actually have on the physical activity and long-term health of their child?
We will have more to say on social prescribing. We've got a commitment not just to the wellbeing bond, but we'll also be working alongside Dafydd and looking at a sports challenge fund as well. But, with social prescribing specifically, there's a commitment to have some national pilots, and we deliberately want to make sure that at least one of the pilots will be in a Valleys community, because we want to try and understand where we have ingrained challenges around health inequalities. We'll be announcing that later this year about what's going to get taken forward, so there'll be more to say on that in the future, and probably in response to this committee we'll definitely be able to describe that in more detail.
The Healthy Child Wales programme is drawn on evidence—evidence-based interventions, guidance and support. The challenge always is how we work successfully alongside families with the other influences on their behaviour. And the challenge is that lots of people do understand what healthier behaviours are like. The challenge is how you help people to undertake them; how you make them easier and cheaper, where possible, as well. Most people understand the message that eating more fruit and vegetables is probably a good thing for you and that smoking is bad for you. And yet, we know, actually, that our smoking rates are too high and, particularly in our less well-off communities, we know that people who don't actually follow that advice, but they understand that it's probably good for them and their families. There's something about how we improve all of those. That is partly about the Government, partly about the health services, but it is actually a nationwide mission and we need to get alongside different people to do this with us, not because it's good for me but because it's good for that family and that community. That's what we really haven't been successful enough at in the past.
Just one last question to round it off, which is on the collaboration between all of the portfolio holders and those who are not here, such as the Minister for local government. I know money isn't flowing off trees at the moment, but how do you as a Government sit down and balance that kind of priority about the future, because there is a tendency to always firefight today's problems, but we have to do that quantum leap, don't we, and say, 'Right, in 20 years' time what do we want a 40-year old in Wales to look like, or a 60-year old in Wales to look like? What do we want their fitness levels to be, and their health et cetera?'. So, how do you as a Government sit down and have that overarching aim? Do you have some think tank that looks at it? Do you have some kind of formal mechanism?
Because, of course, we talk about what we can do with children. You talked about an inner-city school that's finally been able to produce a pitch that people can play on. In rural areas, in my sport centres in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, lots of them are under threat, or they're being closed down because they can't afford to keep them open. So, where do the kids go? When we're building new housing developments, they're classing the grass verge alongside the pavement as 'playing space', so they get away with not having the right square meterage of proper play space, or they're building a playing field that's the other side of the main road from all the housing development. Where's the joined-up thinking from the Government that ties in all of these levers because, as you said, I think, earlier on, Kirsty, schools alone can't do it, but levers in each department—in planning, in social policy, in sports and tourism, in education and in health—will all have a little bit? Who has that overview?
Yes. So, as a Government, we are bound by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 so, actually, when I'm sitting down, having conversations with the finance Minister, he's asking me, 'You want to spend this money on these things—how can you demonstrate that that actually is meeting the aims of the future generations Act?' So, it's about that—it's about trying to make some strategic long-term investments that you won't see in this Assembly term, but, hopefully, in 20 years' time, you will see the effect of the decisions that are being made now. We have 'Prosperity for All'. One of the cross-cutting themes that the Government is determined to address is making sure that children have the best start in life and that early years provision is as good as it can be. Mental health: later on today, Vaughan and I and Cabinet colleagues will be sitting down to talk about, actually, where the Government's collective effort is to deliver better mental health. So, actually, there are formal mechanisms.
At the beginning of this week, the four of us sat down to talk about early years. Later on today, there'll be another group of us sitting down to talk about mental health. So, we've got the Act that is forcing us to think about long-term decision making and where we put our resources, as well as committee structures that are allowing us to work together to say, 'Each one of us has got something to bring to the table', and often it's the sum of those parts that has the biggest impact, rather than each individual department working in silos.
And you'll understand the tensions that the Government faces in terms of today and tomorrow. We have committee reports that often demand that we do something in the here and now, and there's an issue that people are interested in and people demand action on that. And then we're asked to think more broadly and in the long term, and you'll know that, in questions being asked too, that that's part of the challenge of being in the Government—you've got to manage those different tensions.
What Kirsty said is right—in the programme for government, 'Prosperity for all', we talk about having cross-Government priorities in areas where we think real gain needs to be made, and it's really important that ministerial behaviour and the way we make choices actually fits in with that. That's part of the challenge we have individually and collectively as Ministers and, obviously, the First Minister as well, in terms of making sure that Government is moving in that direction. Crucially, most people can never be around the table at the same time, but you've talked about planning, Rhun, and about what we require to make sure that those are real, and when choices are made that what is really intended is actually delivered, rather than people being allowed to have workarounds.
So, this isn't just a neat one Minister or one group of Ministers; it is, actually, a range of different actors. That's part of what makes it difficult, but, at the same time, it is possible, and that's partly going back to what devolution could and should deliver—a small country, getting people to the same place at the same time, and making choices, and that's something we need to be better at, because, as you point out, there is less money. We can't buy some of this off. Eight years into austerity and the promise of more to come, you can't pretend that money in itself is going to be the answer. I know that regularly we get calls to spend more money in areas, but, actually, we need to focus on what is the evidence for the best potential intervention, and who needs to be part of doing that for it to be successful.
Keeping your powder dry. Excellent. Tactics. That's what I like.
Dafydd, wyt ti eisiau dweud rhywbeth ar y pwynt yma?
Dafydd, did you have a comment at this point?
I don't do overview. My job is delivery. [Laughter.] No, seriously, my job is delivery. So, I'm just going to look at, for example, the Dragon Sport programme, which encourages seven to 11-year-olds to participate in eight extra-curricular sports. That includes training volunteers to deliver sporting opportunities. Ninety six per cent of primary schools deliver Dragon Sport across Wales. That's £1 million invested in 2017-18. I hope you will look at that.
Okay. Moving on, Caroline Jones, you've got the next couple of questions.
Your paper mentioned the need for Welsh Government, Sport Wales, Public Health Wales and Natural Resources Wales to work together to develop a collaborative plan on physical activity for people across all ages, and it states that this work is under way. So, I wonder if you could expand for me on the information regarding this plan, and if you could explain when you expect it to come to fruition, the timescales involved, and how the progress will be measured for children and young people? Thank you.
Yes. I'm very keen on this obviously because I spent some time working for Government, even before I joined it, on the whole question—[Laughter.]
That's the Natural Resources Wales bit. I spent a year looking at the potential of the use of designated landscapes and, indeed, all landscapes, as part of an integrated programme. And this is something that we are delivering across Government. But it's not just Natural Resources Wales, as you heard; it's Public Health Wales and Sport Wales now, with common outcomes. The work is ongoing, and by that we mean there are drafts circulating within Government and between these bodies, and I'm confidently expecting, in the autumn—and the autumn will arrive early this year, I hope—that we will have a document that will be consulted upon widely and will lead to new initiatives where we can work together. I'm especially interested in programmes of mental health in this area, so that people can use and enjoy the countryside in the way that I'm able to do because I live there, at the weekend anyway.
Thank you. Also, Sport Wales has told us that a single physical activity action plan is required from the Welsh Government, with clear action and published progress, reporting to a single Minister annually. So, with cross-Government accountability, and a clear attached resource, what is your response to this and is the Welsh Government prepared to take this forward? Diolch.
I think this is a bit of case of the tail wagging the dog. Sport Wales is our agency to deliver our policies, and I'm glad that they see the need for a national programme of physical activity. And we see the encouragement that we give to all the bodies that are accountable to us in this field as an opportunity for them to develop a common strategy, to present it to us, and we will certainly respond. And that's the way we operate. And, of course, I'm looking forward, in particular, Cadeirydd, to the outcome of this committee's report, because, as a Government, we take very careful note of your recommendations, and they will be responded to, and I'm certain that the organisations that deliver for us will be eager to respond. And I'm certain that you will be able to call them when you come to look at the response after the Government has produced its response, and you will scrutinise the bodies that deliver for us, because delivery for me is just as important as trying to make policy. Indeed, if you don't deliver the policy you make, what's the point of making it?
Frankly. Moving on to this committee's secret weapon now—Vikki Howells. [Laughter.]
Cabinet Secretary, in order to address any problem, first of all you've really got to understand the scale of that problem and particularly which groups of people are more affected by it. I know that the committee has heard evidence about gaps in the data available on physical activity and the fact that it can be a confusing picture as there are several different surveys measuring different things. Would you accept calls, which I know have come from quarters such as Sport Wales, that one agreed measurement framework should be developed so that a benchmark can be set and progress consistently monitored? Is this something you'd be willing to take forward?
Yes. On measurement and outcomes, when we talk about a common outcomes framework, that really matters, not just for the Government but actually to have those bodies like Public Health Wales and Sport Wales working to the same sort of framework, and that then matters about how we then measure our progress. So, in the child measurement programme, we have a range of measures there. We need to think about how we do this in a way that is consistent, because I do recognise the criticism and the validity in it that, actually, there are times when different people who are all in roughly the same space are saying slightly different things, and the message is then confusing and you can't then effectively understand what we've done. So, yes we understand that.
Yes, it will be part of what we're looking at. There are opportunities to try and bring us further forward there, so not just the common outcomes framework that Dafydd has just been describing, but, when we look at our obesity strategy, it's about how we will measure what success looks like and then try and make sure that we're not introducing another measure on top of other things but actually collapsing in to a more unified and sensible way of measuring our progress. So, it should mean that scrutiny is more effective as well as us being able to say whether we've succeeded or not.
You mentioned the child measurement programme there, which is currently just a one-off measurement of children aged four to five. I know that the committee has also heard calls for that programme to be extended. What would be your thoughts on that?
Well, we are considering it. We need to be clear about whether we do have a second measure and, if so, at what age, but also we need to be clear about the cost and the impact of that. So, not just that this is a great idea, but how much will it cost and what will it then deliver for us as well? Because we've got the obesity strategy that we've got to consult on, there's a useful period of time to think about that. We need to be clear if we're not going to do it to explain why and then explain what we're doing instead to understand, like I said, the progress we expect to make. So, there isn't a decision, but it is an active consideration for us. And if you've heard evidence about that, that would be very interesting for us to look at when we read your report.
What I would add to that is that delivery depends on the choice of the individual concerned, even the youngest citizen—that they want to participate. And that's the issue that always concerns me: how do you get to the stage where they understand what the offers are that are available, which is why I emphasised the need for a broad offer, but also how is it made easier for the individual citizen of any age to take up the kind of activity that will improve their well-being? That's not just about the measurement against indexes; it's about creating the culture in the broadest sense of the word where there is a responsibility on the individual that is also shared by the whole community. And that's the bit that worries me. We don't yet seem to have a notion that Wales has to be a fit and active country, and the role models that we have in our great champions of sport are people who we should all be following.
This is an interesting point, because there are loads of role models who we all cheer for and celebrate. I'm thinking about Jess Fishlock, the first person to have 100 caps for a Wales national side, a player who is recognised internationally—a really big figure. So, seeing the women's team on the tv live is really important, but then how you get from people doing that to actually being active and then how you make sure that watching sport, which is a sedentary activity, technically, unless you're mum or dad running up and down the side of the pitch and shouting and making a fool of yourself—. Actually, if you look at people who attend our major sports stadia, they're often not physically in great shape, and there's a conversation to be had with those particular bodies that actually run those sports about participation and about how we actually try and think about the fact that there's a business around that, but what is that business? There's a challenge about our relationship with alcohol in particular. But how do we get people from being active enough to want to go somewhere to watch sport to then doing something about it, and in a way that isn't judgmental? Because otherwise we're going to turn people off straight away and they'll just say, 'Who are you to tell me what to do?', and you'll lose the opportunity and the motivation to do something.
One final question, going back to my specific line of questioning on childhood obesity, I'm picking up on your point, Cabinet Secretary, about the need for outcomes as well. The committee's heard evidence that greater support and treatment is needed for overweight and obese children, for example, particularly between the ages of seven and 11. The committee's heard that there’s no appropriate treatment to refer children to at that age because the national exercise referral scheme isn’t available until the age of 11. Would you accept that more support is required for obese children and young people under the age of 11 particularly, and would you consider extending that national exercise referral scheme to younger age groups, as well as improving other treatment options?
Well, we're thinking about whether the exercise referral scheme is the right thing to do in terms of whether that's what should happen to actually help younger children who are overweight, and again recognising that those children are in a context with their whole family. So, you don't just need to address what the child wants to do, but kind of bring their family on board with them as well. So, as we develop the obesity strategy, we are actively looking and making sure that there are options available to help support people. And, again, going back to your point about measurement and outcomes, we're looking to have those when we consult on a strategy, and then when we finally produce the final strategy to make sure that you can see a path that says, 'This is what we expect, and here's how we measure whether we're really doing that.' Because I think it's fair to say we recognise the gap that you're describing in our services.
One final point: I know from visits I've done in my own constituency that, for certain cohorts, particularly children who attend Flying Start, and also for those who attend the lunch and fun clubs as well in the summer, there's a great deal of emphasis there on healthy eating. So, are there lessons that we could learn from projects like that that could be rolled out to the wider population?
Yes, and there's that challenge about how you have pressure that goes upwards, so ensuring what they learn and what they think is the right thing to do, and they take that back into the family home, but at the same time making sure that's a receptive message, and that families are interested in that. So, that's a deliberate focus of the school holiday enrichment programme. It's deliberately there. But it's also why the review of the healthy schools network really matters as well, to understand not just whether you are going to have an approach to tick some boxes, but whether you are then going to have a change in behaviour as a result. It goes back to some of the questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Education about what works and how you persuade more people to undertake that, recognising that, in some schools, the school should be deliberately interested in the health of its school population, and see it as part of its role—not its unique role, but part of its role—to help do something about that.
I attended a wonderful session last summer where parents actually came in to the lunch and fun club to do some healthy cooking activities with the children. It was good to see that sort of inter-generational approach.
Well, my favourite visits are when the parents are actually in, and I've got a number of them in my constituency because of the profile of it. It's the best time to actually see what parents think and how they then talk about what they're learning as well. Children want to show off to their mums and dads and their grandparents and other carers what they've done, and that's part of what you need to see as a continued approach, not just a one-off for a few weeks in the summer, to try and help in terms of that behaviour change. But it's not the only part.
It was on something I've raised with you previously, which is the soft drinks levy. It's a significant sum of money: £57 million over three years. At the moment, the Welsh Government hasn't earmarked a lot of that money for measures to either tackle obesity or to improve physical activity, unlike in other parts of the UK. Given that we've got this strategy now that's coming down the road towards us, is it your intention—and given that you've heard a lot about resources this morning—to actually earmark a much more significant sum of that money towards tackling what is a really major public health challenge in Wales?
We'll have to have a conversation not just with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, but other colleagues in the Government, about how money is allocated, and then we will need to make sure that if we're going to set out an obesity strategy that will improve the health outcomes of the nation, we've then got to make sure that the resource is in place to do it. If the money isn't identified, if you like, and it's going into broader health activities, we then have accountability for organisations to help deliver what we say is in the strategy as well. I recognise the point you make, and there'll continue to be questions from you and others until we start to see a change in health outcomes for the nation. So, we'll need to be able to describe what we're doing to improve public health, how we're funding it, and to make sure that that is joined up with the strategy that we provide. I can't tell you deliberately and clearly today that I will earmark the money that's coming in from that levy, because that's a conversation and a decision that needs to take place across the Government, but I understand very well what you're saying.
And you understand the scale of the challenge that we face, now that we're seeing young children actually being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which will have lifelong consequences and cost the NHS a lot of money.
Well, if we can't turn back the clock on obesity and all of its likely consequences, then there are real threats to the sustainability of the service and what sort of service we end up having. There's a challenge about how you help people to manage conditions if they have them, but also a more important one is how you try to prevent them in the first place, and no-one can be under any illusion about the scale of the challenge that we face.
Ocê. A oes unrhyw gwestiwn atodol? Rhun.
Okay. Are there any further questions? Rhun.
I have a similar question, really. We've been talking about various initiatives, whether in public health or in education, and we're talking about £1 million or £2 million a year. Do you agree that we need to be adding at least one, probably more than one nought to that in order to try to address the kind of preventative agenda that will address diabetes taking 10 per cent of the NHS's budget? You know, prevention, unless it targets children, is failing.
That's for children and their families, and the context in which they live. And there's a challenge for us again. It comes back to some of the points that Angela was making about addressing the here and now and doing something specific. We will have the core specifically earmarked and headline activities, but to go back to what I said yesterday in the Chamber about the future of health and social care together, first, it isn't all about the £100 million transformation fund, it's really about that £9 billion between health and social care.
In lots of this, we're talking about how mainstream budgets are used to deliver better outcomes, and we're talking about how we help the public to shift their behaviour, because actually the biggest health gain to be made is in more informed and active citizens making different choices. It tends to be the fact that once people have more information and access to do something about it, they make different choices and they tend to be healthier choices.
So, I think there is a danger that we say, 'Just spend more money in a specific area', rather than understanding how effectively you're spending the big blocks of your budget in helping to shift attitudes and being more preventative and intervening earlier, before children have type 2 diabetes, before young adults have type 2 diabetes, and before we see some of the other significant and damaging consequences of obesity. We're thinking about cancer as well—there are significant challenges there. We've got lots and lots of impacts that we understand come from the way that we choose to live our lives, and we need to help people to make different choices, because the directive approach only gets us so far and it turns an awful lot of people off.
Ocê, hapus? Dyna ni. Dyna ddiwedd y cwestiynau. A allaf ddiolch i'r holl dystion y bore yma am eu presenoldeb ac am y papur cafodd ei gyflwyno ymlaen llaw? Yn benodol, felly, diolch i Kirsty Williams, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg; Vaughan Gething, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros iechyd; a Dafydd Elis-Thomas, y Gweinidog Diwylliant, Twristiaeth a Chwaraeon; a'r swyddogion oll am eich presenoldeb. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Yn ôl ein harfer, mi fyddwch chi'n derbyn trawsgrifiad o'r cofnodion yma i wneud yn siŵr bod pethau'n ffeithiol gywir. Ni allwch chi newid eich meddwl yn sylfaenol ar bethau, ond gallwch o leiaf gadarnhau eu bod nhw'n ffeithiol gywir. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi.
Content? Okay, that brings our questions to a close. May I thank all our witnesses this morning for their attendance and for the evidence presented? A particular thanks, therefore, to Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education; Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for health; and Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport; and all of the officials. Thank you very much. As per usual, you will receive a transcript of this meeting to ensure that things are factually accurate. You can't change your minds, but you can at least confirm their accuracy. Thank you very much.
I fy nghyd-Aelodau nawr, rydym ni'n symud ymlaen i eitem 3 ar yr agenda a phapurau i'w nodi. Byddwch chi'n gweld llythyr gan Gymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru mewn perthynas â'r ymchwiliad i weithgarwch corffol ymhlith plant a phobl ifanc yng Nghymru—mae hynny er gwybodaeth. A hefyd 'Adroddiad Plant Egnïol Iach Cymru 2018', hefyd er gwybodaeth. A oes unrhyw sylw? Na. Diolch yn fawr.
My fellow Members, we move to item 3, the papers to note. You will see a letter from the Welsh Local Government Association in relation to the inquiry into physical activity in children and young people in Wales—that's for information. And also the 'Active Healthy Kids Wales Report 2018', also for information. Any comment? No. Thank you very much.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Symudwn ymlaen i eitem 4 a chynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Pawb yn gytûn? Pawb yn gytûn. Diolch yn fawr. Awn i sesiwn breifat.
We move to item 4, a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Everyone content? Everyone content. Thank you very much. We'll move to private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:23.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:23.