Call for consistent teaching of life skills in schools across Wales
- Welsh Youth Parliament publishes its first major report
- Inconsistency of how life skills are taught across Wales highlighted
- More than 2,500 young people contribute their views
Life skills should be part of children's education in Wales according to the Welsh Youth Parliament.
In its first major piece of work from the body representing the views of young people in Wales, the Welsh Youth Parliament found huge inconsistencies in how life skills are currently taught, with almost half of those surveyed saying they received lessons once a year or even less.
The Minister for Education in Wales, Kirsty Williams AM, will address the report's recommendations during a full session of the Welsh Youth Parliament at the Senedd on Friday, 25 October.
Life skills could include first aid training, teaching financial literacy, diversity or mental health and wellbeing among other subjects.
Members heard that often these sessions are treated as free lessons with little structure or impetus on behalf of teachers who either don't treat them as a priority, or who lack the training and confidence to deliver them effectively.
Of more than 2,500 young people who took part in a nationwide survey, 72 per cent want to see fortnightly lessons on skills and issues which would help them prepare for adult life.
"We can't survive adulthood or any part of our life if we leave school as A* robots with no knowledge of the real world. We're going through this education system, our siblings and our kids will go through this system. We want them to feel equipped and able to function as productive adults, who don't feel as though their worth is based on their exam results. We are worth more than this."
– Welsh Youth Parliament Member
Welsh Youth Parliament Members believe the decision on which life skills are taught should be decided together by young people and education professionals. There should also be a balance between life skills and teaching more traditional subjects for exam results and qualifications.
The Welsh Youth Parliament wants to see a life skills co-ordinator in every school in Wales and courses delivered by a mixture of specially trained teachers and outside experts.
Investment will be needed to ensure teachers have the right training to make sure they are confident in delivering life skills lessons, members concluded.
"This report represents the progress of democracy in Wales and shows young people have a voice. It proves the Welsh Youth Parliament's dedication and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of young people. It shows that young people know what is best for young people and that we have the competency to make an impact." – Welsh Youth Parliament Member
The Welsh Youth Parliament makes 13 recommendations including:
- A consistent, nationwide Life Skills Specification containing all core life skills mapped out across appropriate key stages and taking in to account all learning needs.
- A life skills coordinator to be appointed within every school. The coordinator would be responsible for mapping the core life skills across the school's curriculum, ensuring that each pupil's experience is consistent and in line with the Life Skills Specification.
- Core life skills within the specification to be agreed upon by young people and education professionals – with a focus not only on teaching young people how to exist but how to lead a full and healthy life.
The next meeting of the Welsh Youth Parliament will take place on Friday, 25 October at the Senedd in Cardiff. The session will start with the address by the Minister for Education in Wales from 15.00.
Proceedings will be live streamed on www.senedd.tv and the Welsh Youth Parliament's Twitter channel.
English report downloadable from here: http://bit.ly/life_skills_eng
Welsh report downloadable from here: http://bit.ly/sgiliau_bywyd
Programme of events:
Tuesday, 22 October – Life skills in the curriculum report published
Friday, 25 October – Minister for Educations, Kirsty Williams AM, to respond to report in full session of the Welsh Youth Parliament at the Senedd from 15.00pm.
The second part of the meeting will provide an opportunity for 10 Welsh Youth Parliament Members to make 90 second statements on issues important to them.
Saturday, 26 October – Welsh Youth Parliament to begin its work examining its two remaining key priorities – emotional and mental health support for young people, and littering and plastic waste.