Y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg

Children, Young People and Education Committee

01/02/2024

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Heledd Fychan
James Evans
Janet Finch-Saunders Yn dirprwyo ar ran Laura Anne Jones
Substitute for Laura Anne Jones
Jayne Bryant Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Ken Skates

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Dr Dave Harvey Aelod o Staff Cymorth y Senedd
Member of the Senedd Support Staff
Manon Huws Gwasanaethau Cyfreithiol, Senedd Cymru
Legal Services, Welsh Parliament
Michael Dauncey Y Gwasanaeth Ymchwil, Senedd Cymru
Research Service, Welsh Parliament
Sam Rowlands Aelod Cyfrifol
Member in Charge

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Lucy Morgan Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Naomi Stocks Clerc
Clerk
Samiwel Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Sarah Bartlett Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Siân Hughes Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Sian Thomas Ymchwilydd
Researcher

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.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Croeso i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg heddiw.

Welcome to this meeting of the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

I'd like to welcome Members to the Children, Young People and Education Committee meeting this morning. All public items of this meeting are being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and a Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. The meeting is bilingual and simultaneous translation from Welsh to English is available. Apologies have been received this morning from Buffy Williams and Laura Jones, and we're pleased that Janet Finch-Saunders is attending as a substitute for Laura, so you're very welcome, Janet. Are there any declarations of interest from Members? I see no declarations of interest. 

2. Bil Addysg Awyr Agored Breswyl (Cymru) - sesiwn dystiolaeth 9
2. Residential Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill - evidence session 9

So, we'll move to the first item on our agenda, which is the Residential Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill, and this is our ninth evidence session. I'd like to welcome our witnesses this morning. It's nice to see Sam Rowlands, who is the Member in charge of this outdoor education Bill. We've got Dr Dave Harvey, member of the Senedd support staff. We have Micheal Dauncey, Senedd researcher, and Manon Huws, legal services at the Senedd. So, thank you, again, for joining us. 

We've got a number of questions to put to you this morning. I'll make a start with some general questions around views on the Bill. Would you like to make any opening comments to address the paper that the committee received from the Welsh Government, or the letter that you sent us last week?

Good morning, Chair, and thank you for the work you as a committee have done over recent weeks. As you said, a significant number of witnesses are coming through the committee to discuss various elements of the Bill. I've been very keen to observe their views and comments through that time, and I'm grateful to all the Members for their work in scrutinising the Bill and bringing forward, perhaps, some additional issues and ideas that are certainly there for me to consider.

As you said, I wrote to you as a committee last week, or the week before maybe—time flies when you have fun with Member Bills—and it was really, initially, off the back of the session that the Minister had in the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee, where I felt quite strongly, actually, that some of the observations made by the Minister were at best, I guess, misinformed, perhaps misleading at times, as well. And I just wanted to put on record where some of those errors I felt were being made. I know that that letter was sent to you ahead of the Minister's appearance at this committee last week, and I'm grateful that you were able, at least, to see that letter that I sent through to you.

You've had a copy of the letter, so I'm not going to go through it in detail. But I think there are a couple of key points that I wanted to highlight from within the letter. The first key theme I felt was worth pointing out was the Minister suggesting that there wasn't a need for legislation in this area, because I think the phrase used was that schools already have legal powers to provide residential outdoor education, if they wish. Of course, that 'if they wish' is the important bit within that, and just a reminder that this legislation is seeking to enable all children in all schools in Wales to have that guaranteed opportunity, not whether a school wishes it or not, because I and many others fundamentally believe that this is a really important part of a child's education. So, that is why there is a need for legislation—to ensure that all children do have the opportunity of that great experience.

The second area that I thought was a key part, which I highlighted, was that the Minister seemed to be conflating a previous explanatory memorandum that I produced in August 2022 with the final explanatory memorandum, which was published in November 2023. The initial point of the Bill was for a statutory duty to be placed on local authorities, but whilst working through the process of creating the draft Bill, over the course of nearly 18 months, it became clear to me that the duty should be placed on the Minister. I wasn't sure, but I felt as though the Minister had been referring to an old version of the explanatory memorandum from 18 months ago, not the most recent version. That's why I believe, perhaps, he was misinformed on that issue.

The third key area within the letter that I wrote to you was in relation to finance, and when I spoke to you as a committee in December, I made it clear that there's no obligation within this Bill for the finance of this to come from the education budget itself, whereas the Minister continues to assert that any funding of this would have to come from the existing education and Welsh language budget. There's no need for that at all. Welsh Government have all sorts of different funding pots, they can do with them what they wish. I guess a similar analogy might be free school meals, where Welsh Government found funding from elsewhere to enable that to happen, because it was an important piece of legislation that Welsh Government wanted to pass. There are other details in the letter—you've got a copy of that, and I'm grateful that you've been able to have a copy of that, so thank you for considering it.

09:35

Thanks for that. Thanks, Sam. I was just wondering whether the Minister—[Inaudible.]

—to the concerns that you raised in your letter to us to you yet?

Could you repeat that, Ken? You weren't very clear.

Apologies. I was just wondering whether the Minister has approached you to address the concerns that you raised in your letter to us.

Very informally, the Minister has acknowledged to me that he's had sight of the letter. To be fair, the letter was addressed to the committees and a copy was sent to the Minister. I haven't seen a response from the Minister, I'm not sure if I would expect that directly, because, to be fair to the Minister, it wasn't addressed to him, it was addressed to the committees.

Thank you. You've just touched on the letter, as you said, that you sent to us as well, and the letter that the Minister had put forward. You've seen the written evidence and the oral evidence that we've had. Is there anything that you would like to say on that, in particular? I'm sure you've watched the proceedings over those weeks that we've had people in, and I don't know if there's anything in particular you'd like to say or highlight.

Yes. And as I said in opening, I'm very grateful for the work that you have done as a committee so far through this. Again, I think what I would like to come back to is the fundamental principle to what the Bill is looking to deliver. There are all sorts of technicalities within this, some nuances that could be further considered and addressed, and I guess we may come on to some of that through proceedings today. But I'd just like to remind Members and come back to the principle of what's seeking to be achieved here, which is guaranteeing this great opportunity for all children in Wales, at least once in their schooling.

I'm more than happy to acknowledge that there may be some tweaks within the way the Bill's drafted at the moment to enable that to happen, but I just want Members, within the desire to get things absolutely right, not to lose sight of what the ambition is here. I think many people would agree with the principle of this and the ambition that I'm seeking to put in place. So, I think that's the one thing I'd certainly want Members to just go away with from here. This is a really important experience for children to have, and too many children miss out on it for financial reasons or for other reasons. I think it's incumbent on us to provide that guarantee to all children.

The second point, perhaps, that I'd want Members to consider from what's been received and heard so far is to remember the voice of young people and children through this. So, I did a considerable piece of work to understand the views of children, and their voice in this, for me, is absolutely fundamental. They overwhelmingly believed this to be an important piece of work. I know you've had lots of witnesses, but I don't believe you've had, directly, children in front of you as a committee, but I did a huge piece of work on that, and I'd like the committee to really give that some weight and consideration.

Thank you, Sam. Obviously, it's something that we put a lot of focus on in terms of speaking to young people as well, but it's just in terms of the time—

09:40

—that we had to do this. But we did have a consultation and a group of people, parents—we heard directly from them as well, just to put that on record as well. But we know that you've done a lot of work with young people, which we're always glad to hear about.

In terms of some of the issues, perhaps, with the Bill, we heard that the entitlement to a course of residential outdoor education doesn’t extend to those children who are educated other than at school or those in pupil referral units. And we heard from the evidence that it should be an entitlement for all children, regardless of where they’re educated, and, as such, those young people would actually benefit the most from such an experience. Would you consider amending the Bill to include these groups of children?

In short, yes. I think it's something that, as I think I said to you last time, I've grappled with over the course of drafting this Bill. I absolutely recognise that it's an area that could be stronger. It would bring about lots of further considerations in terms of how that would be delivered practically, but I would be really interested to hear from the committee if you have any particular recommendations in that area, and any thoughts on how that could be delivered practically.

That's brilliant, thank you. We’ve received some evidence from health bodies that it is difficult to distinguish the direct impact of residential outdoor education as opposed to outdoor learning experiences. Perhaps you could explain a little bit about the residential element and why the residential element of this is really important.

Yes, happy to. I might ask Dave to come in on this as well. But, fundamentally, outdoor education could be seen as a progression and a journey, I suppose, of learning and there are elements along that progression that inspire children to be outdoors and provide an experience that lasts a lifetime. I'm sure Members on Zoom and Members in the room will have those memories, and they last for a lifetime. And it's part of that progression of being outdoors.

So, whilst I acknowledge that the residential outdoor education experience itself—a few nights away with your classmates—may not be the thing that changes everything overnight, as it were, it's an important part of that progression, an important part of memory making, which will last a lifetime. But I absolutely acknowledge that there may not be empirical evidence that says that, per night stayed away, it will have x impact on a child's life, but I think we'd all acknowledge that it does make a difference. But, Dave, perhaps you want to talk to this point further.

Yes, it's a good question and it's a question that unpicks how research looks at different things and how evidence is viewed. I think the bit I've referred to, or that was referred to, sorry, in the explanatory memorandum, is that there is a complex thing that happens on a residential—it's a mix of the challenge events, it's a mix of the overnight and it's a mix of the conditions that surround all of that. When you combine the challenge activities with the overnight, then you've got a continuity within that sequence, within that programme. And what happens on the actual activities is that teachers and staff who come with the children are involved in that. Relationships develop during that process that are then continued in the overnight bit. If you do it just as a separate thing, as an outdoor education standalone activity, then the activities happen, but then they're book-ended by what's gone before and what's afterwards, which is school life, normal life, so, you miss out on the residential component.

So, you can have a residential on its own, and there's a lot of evidence—I've referred to that in paragraph 69, which is the 'learning away' evidence. Paragraph 68 is looking at the broader complexities of that again—a very large piece of research that also led to a questionnaire  that centres have run for many years, which then gathered information and data, and that's referred to in paragraph 70 or 71. It's a huge amount of data that references directly the impact of the residential on young people. 

But the key thing, I think, here is that the lack of evidence of impact is not a lack of impact—it just means that the evidence hasn't been gathered yet. And this is just a fact of where we're at in the sector. 

09:45

Brilliant. Thank you. That's really helpful. The explanatory memorandum says that the mental health and well-being benefits of the Bill could reduce demands on child and adolescent mental health services in the near future. We heard some concerns from Public Health Wales about the expectations that there could be an impact on demand for services as a result of the Bill. Perhaps you could comment on their concerns and what your expectations of the Bill’s impact on child and adolescent mental health services would be. 

Yes. I think it's a really fair question; I think it's a fair point from health service providers as well to make that point. Within the explanatory memorandum, as you've said, I've referenced the opportunities here to support young people with mental health, and perhaps I can make a couple of notes for the clerks. But paragraphs 92 to 95 outline within there, first of all, the current financial cost, let alone the personal cost, that mental health services have within Wales. And there is a focus, of course, in that on children's mental health. But, in terms of the cost of this and the potential for a Bill like this to make a difference, in paragraphs 222 down to 224, this is where I address this a bit more. Do you mind if I just read a couple of lines from the explanatory memorandum—

—just to back this up? So, within that it says:

'Mental health problems account for £962 million of total NHS Wales expenditure.'

Then I point to research that says that:

'Contact with nature through educational activities is positively associated with better mental health outcomes in children and teenagers. The most consistent relationships reported between mental health outcomes and learning in natural environments were with resilience, stress and overall mental health.'

Now, as I said earlier, you can't necessarily put a pound sign against that, but there is clear evidence to show that having that contact with nature, those outdoor experiences, positively impacts on people's mental health. Now, we know that around this table as well. Instinctively, we know that. But, as Dave said, in terms of the empirical evidence and research that puts a pound sign against that, that's much more difficult to come by. But I also point to research undertaken in Denmark as well, where they've shown that flourishing mental health was associated with a huge cost saving there of about $1.2 billion. Now, I'm not suggesting that that is going to be the case at all here, but I'm saying that there is research around the world that shows that these experiences, immersive nature experiences as I've described them in my explanatory memorandum, make a positive difference to young people's mental health.

Thank you. We've got some questions now from James Evans. James.

Thank you very much, Cadeirydd. Sam, good to see you this morning. Shame I couldn't be there in person. I've got some questions on the legal effect of the Bill. Last week, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language told us that, if the intention in this Bill is to require the Welsh Government to fund the provision of outdoor residential education, then primary legislation is required to enable the Government to do that, but, if the intention is only to introduce residential outdoor education as a mandatory part of the curriculum, then this can be done via regulation-making powers that the Welsh Government have. So, can you share some more information about the discussions that you've had with the Welsh Government and the Minister regarding the Bill, and the policy intentions that you have? And would you potentially consider decoupling the funding element from the Bill to include it in the curriculum?

Okay. Thank you. So, on the first part of the question about discussions with Welsh Government in the drafting of the Bill, I was pleased to be able to share a draft version of the Bill with the Minister before it was formally published. We held a meeting before the—. I can't remember the exact date, I'm very sorry.

It was July. 

The draft Bill was published in July. I don't know when your meeting was, sorry.

Thank you. That was it. I thought that it was before the summer, but then I had the November date in my head. So, just before the summer, I was able to share a draft version of the Bill with the Minister and we'd met previous to that as well when I set out the policy intentions of the Bill. The second part of your question, James, could you repeat that, sorry, and perhaps help me understand what you're seeking there?

09:50

Yes. So, what the Minister was trying to say to us is that if you take away the funding element to require Welsh Government in law to fund outdoor residential education—. That would need legislation, but what the Minister was trying to get at, if you decouple it and you don't require the Minister to require the funding in law, then he could do it via regulation-making powers. So, would you consider doing that as part of this process, just taking the funding element out of the Bill? Because it isn't in other Bills—

Okay. Well, that's something I'm happy to take away and consider, but, fundamentally, for me, these two things work hand in hand. The delivery of residential outdoor education on the curriculum clearly can't happen without the funding to back that up. And the reason I put the funding-specific part within this was to help protect existing school budgets, because I recognise they are under pressure and will always be under pressure. This is about putting additional money into schools and education to enable this to happen. Now, there are all sorts of creative ways that a Welsh Government Minister could do that, but I do think it's important that these two elements, as has been described by the Minister, are seen as one and of the same to a certain extent. I'm not sure if Manon would be able to help me out with that, just to expand on that point at all?

Yes, of course. Of course, the funding element would require primary legislation, as the Minister says, but this Bill also does other things that would require primary legislation. So, whilst a course of residential outdoor education could be put on the curriculum by the use of regulations or amending the key concepts, as the Welsh Ministers may do without primary legislation, the Bill does place a duty on Welsh Ministers to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a course of residential outdoor education is on the curriculum—that would require primary legislation. And as well, this Bill also puts a course of residential outdoor education on the face of the 2021 Act; that wouldn't be possible through subordinate legislation.

It's good you've actually come on to that, Manon, because that's my next question, actually, and I'll address that to the Member in charge of the Bill. The Bill does amend the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 to the effect that residential outdoor education becomes a mandatory part of the curriculum. However, the explanatory memorandum refers to the notion that the Bill has the effect of each child being provided with an offer to take up the course of outdoor residential education. Given that outdoor residential education will become a mandatory part of the curriculum, can you elaborate on how a child would be able to choose whether they take up the offer or not, when, obviously, they can't choose whether they do other parts of the curriculum, like English and maths, which are also mandatory parts of the curriculum? There's no opt-out there; they have to do them.

Yes. I think it's a fair question. It's perhaps something I could consider making clearer within the guidance elements that I've put within the Bill, how that may practically work. Let's just come back to what the spirit of the Bill is trying to achieve here; it's making the—. As I say in the very first section of the Bill,

'a course of residential outdoor education is provided'.

So, the course itself is made available to all children at some point in their schooling in Wales, and the spirit of this is that, yes, it's within the curriculum and therefore it's available to all children and they should be encouraged to take part in that, but, as I say in the guidance, I wouldn't want to see it being compulsory for learners to attend if it's something that would clearly become an issue or a challenge. But there are vehicles that currently exist within legislation to enable children to not have to undertake that. Perhaps, Manon, again, if I could turn to you to help explain that point.

Sam, can I just come back to you before you ask Manon? Because I think probably a supplementary question that I have might actually help. Because you did state in the letter to us that the Bill requires that guidance that the Welsh Government will issue says that it's not compulsory for pupils to attend outdoor residential education, but the Minister said that what guidance says can't change what the Bill does. So, there's a little bit of a disparity there, and perhaps Manon could address that, if you were passing over to her anyway.

09:55

Firstly, providing a course of residential outdoor education—by that being on the curriculum, that will be compulsory. It will have to be offered by the schools. As stated in the explanatory memorandum, and as to be clarified in guidance issued by Welsh Ministers, the intention is for children not to be compelled to undertake residential outdoor education.

There's an existing provision in the 2021 Act, under section 42. Regulations have been made under that section, which allow for a headteacher to disapply elements of the curriculum in relation to individual children. This applies to the curriculum as a whole. When making a determination under these regulations, the pupil must be notified, the parents, the governing body, and the local authority. Therefore, there'd be a record of any children who make it clear that they do not wish to undertake the residential outdoor education. Therefore, the effect in the round is that, yes, it's on the curriculum, and, therefore, compulsory. However, it can be temporarily disapplied, using the mechanism that's in the Bill [correction: the Act]. 

On the fact that the guidance says that it's not to be compulsory, the intention is that the guidance would make it clear that this provision already exists in the 2021 Act, and the expectation is that headteachers would use the powers under section 42.

We heard from the Minister in the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee when he said that section 42 was a blunt instrument and the provision wasn't intended for these purposes as such. I'd like to know whether you have any comments on that as well. And, also, on section 42, with headteachers having a discussion of what pupils can and cannot opt out of, I'm just wondering whether you've had any consideration to, actually, what circumstances there might be where headteachers may exclude pupils from outdoor residential education, because we know, with relationships and sexuality education, how controversial that is, with regard to religious grounds and everything else. So, I'm just wondering what thoughts you've had around that. 

Thanks, James. Perhaps I'll answer your second part first, and I'll ask Manon to come in again on the Minister's comments. In terms of the types of things, I come back to the point that I think headteachers and teachers know their children best. I'd expect, on a case-by-case basis, for them to consider whether that experience is the best thing for that child at that time. I wouldn't want to try and create and exhaustive list as to what those reasons may or may not be. I trust teachers to make that decision, because they do know their children best. 

In terms of the comment, I think you mentioned the Minister used the phrase that section 42 is a blunt instrument. It is his instrument, and if he believes it's a blunt instrument, then that's, perhaps, for him to consider further. But, Manon, is there anything further you want to say on that?

I think one important point to make is the fact that the provision is already in the 2021 Act. If this Bill were to create a very similar provision to disapply the provision of a course of residential outdoor education, in having a very similar mechanism, there'd be potential for overlap and for some confusion. Therefore, as there is an existing mechanism in the 2021 Act, it's thought that this would be the best way to bring about the situation whereby children can be offered the course of residential outdoor education, but not be compelled to have to undertake it. 

Perhaps I can make one further comment on that, Chair. I think, on this issue, it's one of those where I feel I'd be damned if I did and damned if I didn't, because if we were to create a new, separate piece here, I think there'd be criticism that section 42 already exists, so why aren't we using that. So, I think what is being proposed is the best within the circumstances.

10:00

Thanks. One final question on the opt-outs, and it's something that's come up in our evidence, not just with the Minister but others. Have you taken into consideration the potential repercussions there could be for children and parents, for example, if the headteacher suddenly decides, under section 42, 'No, I think your child should go on this outdoor residential education', but a child and a parent really do not want to go, but the school is almost making them go, and then the parent, obviously, takes the child away from school, doesn't allow them to go, and then they're almost missing school and a truant from school? That could have repercussions. Have you had thoughts around that and perhaps how that could be mitigated through the Bill?

I think it's an interesting point, but I certainly wouldn't envisage a headteacher going that far down a journey with a child where that becomes that type of issue. I think our headteachers want what's in the best interests of the children that they are teaching and providing those experiences for. I guess we could have all sorts of hypothetical arguments about all sorts of different issues. I expect our headteachers are in the right place to make the right decisions; I certainly have faith in them, as a profession, to make the decisions and do the right thing.

Lovely. My final question, Cadeirydd. We've heard that it could be beneficial to include a definition of what outdoor residential education is on the face of the Bill, but we've also heard evidence around cautioning about not having it, because it could be too specific of a definition to put on the face of the Bill. What considerations have you and your team given to including a definition in the Bill, and is this something you'd consider amending as this goes forward? And that's me done, Cadeirydd. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Thanks, James. In terms of a definition, it's certainly something I had referred to when I met with committee last time. As a reminder, it is within the explanatory memorandum. I absolutely acknowledge that it's not on the face of the Bill. It's something I'd be happy to consider, whether within the code or the guidance, and I'd be interested to hear what the committee may want to provide as a recommendation on that issue—I'd certainly consider that.

Thank you, Sam. Thank you, James. We've got some questions now from Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, a bore da ichi i gyd. Un o'r pethau rydyn ni wedi'i glywed wrth inni gymryd tystiolaeth ydy na fyddai'r capasiti presennol o fewn y sector addysg awyr agored yn ddigon i ddarparu ymweliadau preswyl drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, pe bai'r Bil yn cael ei basio. Dwi'n gwybod gwnaethom ni drafod hyn pan ddaethoch chi ger ein bron ni yn y gorffennol. Mae Comisiynydd y Gymraeg wedi galw am gryfhau'r cymalau sy'n ymwneud â'r Gymraeg a diwylliant Cymru, ac wedi'ch annog i wneud hynny wrth ddatblygu'r Bil. Pa ystyriaeth ydych chi wedi'i roi i gryfhau'r cymalau hyn wrth ddrafftio, ac a oes yna unrhyw ystyriaeth wedi'i roi o ran diwygio er mwyn mynd i'r afael â'r pryderon yma?

Thank you very much, and good morning to you all. One of the things we've heard, during our evidence taking, is that current capacity within the outdoor education sector wouldn't be enough to provide residential visits through the medium of Welsh, if the Bill passes. I know we've discussed this and did so when you've appeared before us in the past. The Welsh Language Commissioner has called for the clauses relating to the Welsh language and culture to be strengthened, and urged you to do that in developing the Bill. So, what consideration have you given to strengthening these clauses when drafting the Bill, and has any consideration been given to amending the Bill to address these concerns?

Thank you, Heledd, for the question. I think it's a fair point to make. I think it's a really interesting challenge for the outdoor residential education sector across Wales, which is being addressed by the work, certainly, by the Outdoor Partnership at the moment, and, as you say, that's something that I shared with you as a committee last time that we met. I think, in terms of strengthening the wording of the Bill in relation to Welsh language and culture, that's something I'm happy, again, to consider as a recommendation from the committee. As a reminder, within the guidance, we're saying that they

'may provide that residential outdoor education promotes an understanding of Welsh language and culture.'

That could be moved to 'must provide'—that is the case. It's certainly something perhaps I should consider within there. What I would say is that all of this is much better than what currently exists. Currently, there's no requirement at all for any of the experiences to promote Welsh language and culture; there's no requirement at all for the provision to be made available, to be undertaken, yn Gymraeg, if it's available. So, whilst I understand the points being made, and I recognise that it could be strengthened further, and I'm happy to certainly take that on board, what I would remind Members of is that, at the moment, it's completely ad hoc. There's no statutory duty or requirement for any of this. This would put something in legislation that provides a much, much stronger guarantee than currently exists. I think I'll pause there. I'm not sure if any colleagues want to comment any further on that point. Michael.

10:05

I just want to reiterate that the Bill requires that residential outdoor education must be provided in Welsh where it's available, and if a school requests it. Obviously, there are two caveats there, and there are different views about whether those caveats should be in there, but it's hard to see, really, how the Bill could work without them. Because if provision is not available, it can't really be delivered, and, if a school doesn't request it, would we be suggesting that the school would be forced to have provision through the medium of Welsh? I think the Bill has tried to go as far as it can in that regard.

And perhaps if I may, Heledd, just make one more point around this. I think having something like this in legislation with that requirement that it's provided in Welsh where available gives a real incentive to the sector and to the centres to really see where they can ramp up their Welsh provision. Because there will be further demand as a result, and I think it's a real opportunity for the sector to take that on board, because at the moment, as I say, there's no requirement for them to do any of that whatsoever. Sorry—there's a slightly strange noise in the room here. I do apologise.

It's stopped now, so that's okay. It's a strange noise in the building—sorry, Heledd.

I do feel like we're going in a circular argument compared to the first evidence session on this point, because I can't see the link between, if it's not essential, how it actually does what you've just outlined in terms of making provision expand if it's a matter of where it's available or if required, rather than taking advantage. Because I do differ slightly from the point Sam Rowlands raised now. Actually, if you look at the new curriculum, it does talk about ensuring in English-medium schools as well that Welsh history and the Welsh language are part of that kind of promotion, not as ad hoc. So, I would hope that you would have considered, perhaps, more of the evidence, rather than think that it's adequately reflected. I don't know if your thinking has moved forward in any way on this, from the evidence received.

I think we're on the same page here, Heledd. I really do. Perhaps I'm just not articulating it very well, and I really apologise if I'm not. In the Bill itself, the guidance is there. So, I'm happy to change it from a 'may' to a 'must', so the Minister 'must' put this guidance in place, rather than 'may'. So that's the first thing. If it's a 'must', then the guidance must provide that residential outdoor education promotes an understanding of Welsh language and culture, which I think is really quite strong, whether that's children from an English-medium school or children from a Welsh-medium school. I think that really helps to achieve what you're seeking, and I am as well. So I'm sorry I've not articulated it very well. Genuinely, I'm trying to see how best we can have those amazing experiences where children are away from the classroom, and create those memories, and part of the memories should be a better understanding of what it means to be Welsh, and our history, culture and language as well. So, I take your point entirely, and I'm sorry I've not been able to articulate it very well, but I think we're on the same page with this.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i symud ymlaen, fe wnaethoch chi sôn yn eich ateb blaenorol i James Evans bod prifathrawon yn nabod disgyblion, a'u harbenigedd nhw, ond mae peth o'r dystiolaeth rydyn ni wedi'i chlywed yn sôn am bryderon gan undebau athrawon, sy'n cwestiynu, oherwydd yr holl bwysau sydd ar ysgolion ac athrawon ar y funud, os byddai'r pwysau presennol hyn yn llesteirio gweithrediad y Bil, os caiff ei basio. Oes yna unrhyw ystyriaeth gennych chi wedi'i roi i'r sylwadau rydyn ni wedi'u clywed o ran hynny? Ac ydych chi wedi ystyried os oes yna unrhyw effaith negyddol anfwriadol ar weithredu diwygiadau addysgol mawr eraill, os byddwn ni'n cyflwyno'r Bil hwn rŵan?

Thank you very much. If I could move on, you said in your previous response to James Evans that headteachers know their pupils, and you mentioned their expertise, but some of the evidence that we've heard is from the teaching unions, who raise questions because of all of the pressures currently on schools and teachers. They do have concerns around whether these current pressures would hinder the implementation of the Bill, if it were passed. So, have you given any consideration to the comments we've heard around those issues? And have you considered whether there would be any unintended negative consequences on the implementation of other major educational reforms, if we were to introduce this Bill now?

10:10

I absolutely recognise that there are a number of pressures on teachers at the moment. You're absolutely right to point to large changes within the curriculum in recent times, as well as ALN reforms taking place at the same time, as well as, we know, a post-COVID world, which seems to have changed lots of things for teachers and learners. So, first of all, I recognise that there is pressure on teachers, support staff and all people involved in education at the moment.

I think this Bill could really help support on the delivery of some of that, though, as well, so I don't see it entirely as a negative thing. I would say that this helps support the delivery of the new curriculum in terms of the well-being aspect of support for children and aspects of the new curriculum on that. 

Also, just to point out that a lot of this does already take place. Let's not forget that there are currently thousands of children every year who have these experiences; teachers organise those experiences, support staff organise those experiences—they go on those trips with those children already. This comes back to the affordability for all and the availability for all, which is what this Bill is trying to deal with.

So, yes, Heledd, I recognise there are pressures. As I say, it does already take place, but I also think that this can complement the work of the new curriculum. 

I'll just bring in Janet Finch-Saunders before we move on, Heledd. Janet.

Thank you. I'm fully supportive of this Bill. Sadly, in my constituency, I've seen an outreach facility gone. So many local children were never using it, it was people from away. Sam, when you refer to 'all'—. It's my first time on this committee on this issue, and it says here about those in pupil referral units and those who are educated at home not being included. Is that definite, or is that going to be looked at again? Because I do believe that, certainly, children in a pupil referral unit are sometimes some of the most difficult-to-reach children, and I would love to see them included in the scheme. 

Thanks, Janet. Yes, absolutely, that's an area that I want to consider further and look to how we include that within the work of this Bill. I mentioned earlier—not that this is a reason not to—that there would have to be further considerations around how that would be best delivered. But I recognise that, within the Bill, as it is at the moment, it's an area that needs to be further looked at. I agree with you that there should be consideration as to how we support those children to have those experiences in places like pupil referral units, or others.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Jest i ddilyn y trywydd roeddwn i yn mynd arno fo, rydyn ni hefyd wedi clywed gan Gymdeithas Genedlaethol y Prifathrawon y pryderon na fyddai gan ysgolion gapasiti i gyflawni'r Bil, o ystyried eu barn o bosibl na fyddai'r gweithlu yn fodlon mynychu ymweliad preswyl, neu efallai na fydden nhw'n gallu gwneud hynny oherwydd bod ganddyn nhw gyfrifoldebau gofal. Dwi'n meddwl bod hyn yn un o'r pryderon, yn arbennig oherwydd ein bod ni'n gweld nifer o ysgolion yn sôn am leihau nifer y staff oherwydd y cyllidebau presennol a'r sefyllfa ariannol. Ydy'r mater yma'n rhywbeth rydych chi wedi'i ystyried, a beth, yn eich barn chi, y gellid ei wneud i oresgyn yr her bosibl wrth roi'r Bil ar waith, pe bai'n cael ei basio?

Thank you very much. Just to follow up on what I was asking earlier, we've also heard from the National Association of Headteachers who raise concerns that schools perhaps wouldn't have the capacity to deliver the Bill, given their views that the workforce perhaps wouldn't be willing to attend a residential visit, or may be unable to do so because they had caring responsibilities, perhaps. I think this is one of the concerns, particularly as we're seeing a number of schools talking about reductions in staff because of the current budgetary situation, the financial situation. So, is this issue something that you have considered, and what, in your view, could be done to overcome this potential challenge in implementing the Bill, if it were passed?

Again, I think it's a fair concern that some may have. In terms of the Bill itself, it's something that I absolutely considered, and that's why the Bill itself includes, within the guidance, the provision in respect of school staff costs in respect of residential outdoor education and any associated additional cost, whether it be teacher cover, and that's within the explanatory memorandum as well, in terms of how this would be financed. So, it's a fair point on that.

But let's come back to the fact that, already, teachers and school staff undertake these visits on a regular basis, and they do a fantastic job, many times a year, across lots and lots of schools across Wales. So, this is not a whole new piece of work that teachers and school staff would have to undertake. It's coming back to the point that it's making it a guarantee for all children in all schools in Wales. So, there are some challenges there, I recognise that. I think schools recognise the importance of these experiences and I think that having this legislation in place will give them that security that this is an important part of the work that they do.

10:15

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Yn amlwg, o ran yr elfen yna, yn wirfoddol y mae nifer o athrawon yn rhoi o'u hamser ar hyn o bryd. Dwi'n meddwl mai un o'r pryderon oedd os oes yna leihad, fel rydyn ni wedi cael rhybuddion, yn mynd i fod yn y gweithlu, pa mor gynaliadwy ydy hynny. Felly, dwi ddim yn gwybod os ydych chi wedi rhoi ystyriaeth—. O ystyried y sefyllfa economaidd bresennol a'r hyn rydyn ni'n ei glywed gan athrawon o ran y lleihad yn y gweithlu, ydych chi wedi rhoi ystyriaeth i sut byddwn ni'n gallu goresgyn hynny? Os ydyn nhw'n rhoi o'u gwirfodd rŵan, nifer o oriau ychwanegol am ddim i wireddu hyn, sydd yn bwysig iawn, dwi'n cytuno efo chi, ond—. Dwi jest eisiau deall pa ystyriaeth, o ystyried y gweithlu rŵan.

Thank you very much. Obviously, in terms of that element, a number of teachers give of their time voluntarily at the moment. I think that one of the concerns were that if there are reductions, as we have been warned about, in the workforce, how sustainable that is. So, I don't know if you've given any consideration—. Given the current economic position and what we're hearing from teachers in terms of reductions in the workforce, have you given any consideration as to how we could overcome that? If they are currently giving many additional hours voluntarily to deliver this, which is very important, I agree with you, but—. I just wanted to understand what consideration you'd given to the current workforce.

Yes. We've really considered the work that they do and how they best support our children in learning, and, as you say, this is an important part of that. As I say, within the explanatory memorandum, I've acknowledged the potential cost impact of this on teaching costs and staffing costs—that's outlined within the EM—and the guidance would ensure that that funding comes through to schools to support that as well. And that comes back to an earlier question about the financing element of the Bill being included on the face of the Bill. That's why that is, I think, really important, so that schools have that certainty that they'd have financial support for this. I guess the broader point you're making, Heledd—and I think it's beyond the realms of this Bill—is the recruitment and retention of teachers and teaching staff across schools. So, again, I acknowledge that that's an issue at the moment, but I'm not sure, within the remit of this Bill, that that's something I should be held accountable for. I guess it's the education Minister's job to ensure that the sustainability of teaching and schools is undertaken and if that bit is done right, then this will certainly be easier.

Diolch. Y cwestiwn olaf gen i. Dwi'n siŵr y byddwch chi'n ymwybodol ein bod ni hefyd wedi clywed gan undebau athrawon ac Anabledd Dysgu Cymru eu pryderon ynghylch rheoleiddio canolfannau addysg awyr agored preswyl—pryderon ynghylch sefydlu canolfannau newydd i ateb y galw ond nad oes canllawiau clir ar safonau a thrwyddedu yn eu lle. Mi wnaethoch chi ddweud wrthym ni'n flaenorol fod hyn yn rhywbeth y byddech chi'n ei ystyried. Ydy eich barn ar y mater yma wedi newid o gwbl yn sgil y pryderon rydyn ni wedi'u clywed gan randdeiliaid? Ac ydych chi wedi rhoi unrhyw ystyriaeth i ddiwygio'r Bil i ymgorffori elfen ynghylch trwyddedu darparwyr y sector?

Thank you. A final question from me. I'm sure you'll be aware that we've also heard from teaching unions and Learning Disability Wales who've expressed concerns regarding the regulation of residential outdoor education centres—concerns about new centres being set up to meet demand without clear guidance on standards and licensing in place. You've told us previously that this is something that you would consider. Has your view on this issue changed at all in light of the concerns that we've heard from stakeholders? And have you given any consideration to amending the Bill to incorporate an element on licensing providers in the sector?

Yes, thanks, Heledd. I'm grateful that this question is being raised here now, but also when I was last in front of the committee, I think there was a similar question and it's certainly something that I've gone away to consider further. It's something that Dave, in particular, would perhaps like to respond to, because I know it's something that you've been helping me out with, as well.

Yes. It's a fair concern, however, I think there are some very strong systems and structures in place already that mean that that is a very unlikely situation to occur. The schools are required to undertake checks to make sure that the providers they're using meet certain standards. So, the EVOLVE system asks people to log the details of the trip that they're planning to do, the educational advisers in those local authorities review those forms and the Welsh Government itself signposts all educational visit organisers to the national guidance of the Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel. Part of that has a statement that says if an organisation has a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge, then you don't need to worry, in effect, about asking a lot of other questions. If they haven't, then there is a provider form to fill in. So, there's a process there.

Where activities fall under statutory regulation, then there is the adventure activities licensing regulations, and so, adventurous activities, anyone providing those must have an activity licence in this context that we're talking about. So, licensing already exists in a statutory framework, and there is also, then, the voluntary scheme that is supported and signposted to by Welsh Government's own policy.

10:20

Diolch, Heledd. We've got some questions from Ken Skates.

Thanks, Chair. Thanks, Sam. Thanks, officials, as well. I'm just going to continue with regard to the provision that may be available or may not be available for disabled children and those with additional learning needs, regardless of whether they're mental or physical needs. We've heard that they may miss out on the entitlement for a course because their needs may be more challenging and too challenging to meet. How confident are you that the Bill currently provides for the needs of all children?

So, the absolute intention and the way the Bill has been set out will ensure that all children of all ability have this opportunity. Perhaps I could point the Member to—. So, in the Bill, point (c) says that the guidance

'must provide that residential outdoor education is suitable to a pupil’s age, ability, aptitude and any additional learning needs'.

And 'ability' there includes whether somebody has a disability, defined or not. 'Ability' encompasses all of that, and, specifically there, any additional learning needs.

And then, in terms of the funding for that as well, if you just bear with me one moment, Ken, I will point to that. So, within the explanatory memorandum, it specifically points to ensuring that, as you rightfully say, there may be a need for additional costs to ensure the provision is absolutely appropriate. Within paragraphs 279 through to 286, that point is acknowledged and is within the funding calculation for the delivery of the Bill.

Great. Thank you. When you were last in front of this committee, you told us that the main barrier to accessing residential outdoor education was financial constraints and that the Bill will remove that largest barrier. You'll be aware that we've had a lot of discussion during the course of our work concerning associated costs, so, clothing, coats, appropriate footwear and so forth. Does the Bill fully remove financial costs and have you considered whether the Bill can do more to address the associated costs for parents?

Again, I think it's a fair question, and thanks for posing it, Ken. The Bill and the intention of this, realistically, cannot remove every single cost necessary for a child to have this experience. The calculation we've done is based on including the travel cost, including the residential experience itself, and includes the understanding that—and this is evidenced understanding—the centres have significant amounts of the equipment and clothing necessary for children to undertake these experiences.

If there's something above and beyond that, perhaps something that may be more fundamental to a child accessing this, we do, of course, have the schools essentials grant, which is designed specifically to support children in these situations. The argument back, I guess, could be that the schools essentials grant is not big enough currently to support children in schools as it exists today. I acknowledge that, but, frankly, that's an issue for the Minister to deal with. If the schools essentials grant isn't large enough at the moment, then it should be topped up. If this legislation came into force, then there may be consideration from the Minister to ensure that the schools essentials grant is topped up further if there is a requirement to do so.

So, I think it would be wrong for me to sit here and say that every single part or item that would enable a child to undertake the experience would be provided for within this Bill. But, as I say, the parts that are I've outlined. And there are mechanisms in place, there are safety nets in place, that exist already, that don't need new legislation to create them, which would support children who may not have some of those essential items.

10:25

Thank you. Just finally, have you had any reflections on what we’ve heard in regard to the social pressures around these visits and, in particular, parental anxiety and learner anxiety? Have you had any reflections in particular over how anxiety and social pressures can be mitigated in a systematic way?

Thanks again. I don’t mean to be flippant on this, but a systematic way of dealing with anxiety sounds quite anxiety-inducing to me. But it’s worth certainly acknowledging the great work that many centres already undertake in their conversations with children, and with parents as well. So, I might ask Dave to comment on this, as someone who used to run a similar centre, about the types of conversations that those centre managers and staff already have with parents and learners.

And then the other part is, again, coming back to the role of teachers and headteachers. I already know, and I’m sure you do as well, that teachers have those conversations with parents and children, because teachers know that these experiences are really important for learners, and perhaps in particular for some of those learners who may be experiencing anxiety, to go back to the points we were discussing earlier about some of the mental health benefits of these experiences. And often, I would know that it’s that first hurdle that is sometimes the most difficult to try and get over. So, I would expect that teachers would know their children, headteachers would know their children and perhaps any anxieties they may be experiencing, and teachers, again, know parents and would have those conversations to try and alleviate any of those worries as well. But perhaps, Dave, could you talk to the points around the work that centres often already undertake to support children and parents with this?

Yes, I think there is a goal—there’s a collective goal—to encourage as many people as possible to access whatever is being put on offer. And there’s a huge amount of work that goes on in schools—I’ve worked in the school context and have had those conversations, and I’ve worked in the centre context and had those conversations with parents and with teachers on ways to encourage people to get over it. I think one of the key things is that anxiety is multifaceted—it’s not something that you can just systemize and say, ‘Right, well, this is the way we’re going to deal with this’, because you don’t know where it’s coming from and the different factors that affect it.

So, I was speaking to a colleague last night who works in a centre in south Wales—he runs a centre—and he’s had numerous conversations with parents who have got anxiety about their child attending a particular visit. So, he’s working with the parents to encourage them to be able to work with their own child and then that’s in partnership with the school as well. So, it’s not something that is treated trivially in any way, shape or form, because it’s in everybody’s interest for those people to be able to attend. So, when you get to the decision that says that it’s not right for them to come, it’s actually something that’s been arrived at with masses of thought.

And could I just make a further comment, Chair, on that point? I just wanted to share with the committee that it’s something that I’ve certainly thought a lot about and in the children’s rights impact assessment, towards the back of the explanatory memorandum, this point is made, and I absolutely acknowledge that this could be a concern for some people. So, if Members wanted to, then there is further information in the explanatory memorandum—paragraphs 382 and 383—which show the thought and consideration that I’ve put into this point to try and alleviate some of those concerns and those worries.

Can I just add? One strategy that’s used a lot is that centres will do a school visit, a parents’ evening, information evening, where they then reassure parents about how it all works, what happens, and often the children are there as well. So, when I used to do these, I used to speak to the children. I was speaking to the children, but I was talking to the parents, and so everybody’s getting the picture of how it works, and so you’re preparing people for what’s going to come. That’s one strategy.

10:30

Great. Thank you. And, once again, thanks to all the team in the Welsh Parliament supporting Sam with this. I think this is so important. Now, requirements on local authorities and schools—. So, the Bill does place a duty on Welsh Ministers to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a course of residential outdoor education is provided. In practice, the specific duty to provide residential outdoor education to pupils will fall upon our local authorities and schools, as they are under a duty to implement the curriculum. Do you think that this could be made clearer, as we've mentioned, in the explanatory memorandum and/or in guidance issued by the Welsh Ministers?

I'm happy to make that clearer, if that's necessary. I think there is already a lot of guidance in the 2021 Act that points to this as well. I'm not sure if Manon would be able to expand on that at all. But, yes, this could be clearer. But, as I say, it already sits within the 2021 Act.

Just to explain that this Bill will be amending the 2021 Act and, as a result, there's already—. It has its own explanatory memorandum and associated guidance, which explains where the duties on local authorities and schools already sit. Therefore, that's the reason it's not made clearer at the minute. 

Yes, that's fine. Thank you. And of course, an offer of residential outdoor education and who has taken up that offer would need to be tracked to ensure that that offer is made to all—now, this is what I don't like—entitled pupils. I've raised my concerns already about children in pupil referral units, but also you will need a robust system to monitor the outcomes. By whom and how do you envisage this tracking and monitoring should be delivered? Because, clearly, we know that schools are under massive pressures at the moment, and we've got to make sure that this burden doesn't just fall on schools.

Okay. Thanks, Janet. I think there are two elements to your question there. There's the part about the tracking and there's the part about monitoring outcomes as well. I might ask Dave to come in on monitoring the outcomes and how some of that currently takes place, in particular the role of centres with supporting schools on monitoring outcomes. In terms of tracking, I think that is important. Can I just ask Michael, perhaps, to come in on this point? He's pointing to really useful information here, but it might just be better coming out of his mouth than mine. [Laughter.]

I seriously doubt that. Yes, so it's something that was looked at as part of the costings, in terms of looking at how this is going to practically work in practice. If I could just refer Members and the Chair, please, to paragraphs 210 and 211 of the regulatory impact assessment. So, discussions that Sam and the team had with many local authorities showed that local authorities already have an information management system that they use to track pupils, and it's believed that they could use that to incorporate this into something that they already do. So, it has actually been estimated that, the tracking element of the Bill, the costs there are pretty negligible. 

That's helpful. Sorry, Janet, just on that point as well, we acknowledge again that, in schools and local authorities, there's already a huge amount of tracking on pupils. I happen to still be a governor of a school and look forward to those governors' meetings when all the data comes through, tracking and pupil performance. There's a huge amount of tracking that takes place at an individual pupil level already. This is not about creating a whole new system; it's about simply adding a field onto an existing system, which shows whether they've had that opportunity or that experience or not. The research we've undertaken shows that that's actually very straightforward. But it is an important part of this. 

But coming back to the point, Janet, I think you made about how we monitor some of these outcomes as well, that is important. Dave, would you mind commenting on that point?

I'll just refer back to the paragraph I was trying to find before, which is paragraph 74, which refers to a study being done—it's a system being used in outdoor education centres, and it came from the piece of research that I referred to before as well, looking at the complexity of what happens on a visit. There are already systems in place and many centres have their own evaluation systems. It is not a large step to arrive at an outcomes framework or a system that allows people to import their own data. So, children would respond after the visit, filling in their own survey, which then allows us to accumulate the data. The survey that we had running in the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres garnered 16,500 survey responses. So, we have that on an individual basis for schools, but also, then, collectively, as well. So, there is a way of doing this that doesn't involve the schools having to do it. It's something that can come from the sector as well, so it works with the schools to develop the system that is then able to be accessed by the children and the staff after a visit.

10:35

Thank you, Janet. Just around the financing of the Bill, just some final questions. One's following up on a question that Heledd mentioned earlier, actually, just around the challenge about finding supply teachers and the concerns around potentially requiring teachers to attend those visits. The regulatory impact assessment accounts for the costs of teachers' cover. Would it also cover the additional overtime of teachers attending those residential visits?

It's an interesting question. You will know that teachers' contracts do not allow for overtime payments to be made to teachers—and it's worth acknowledging the point I made earlier that a lot of this work already takes place by teachers at the moment, and all credit to them for that. There's perhaps a different conversation with teaching support staff, where there are different terms and conditions, of course; that is a conversation worth having. But I would expect it's a piece of work that the Minister would have to undertake as a result of legislation being in place. I'm not suggesting that's straightforward at all, but I think my role within this is to put forward a piece of legislation that provides that guarantee of every child in every school in Wales—. Many children currently have that experience and many teachers currently do great work to enable that experience, but I think the guarantee is what's really important in this.

Thank you, Sam. And just finally, the impact assessment sets out the estimated annual cost of the Bill, which ranges from £15 million to £19 million. The Minister has said that the Bill is simply not affordable. How would you respond to that?

Initially, I would respond by saying it's a political choice as to what's affordable and what isn't. The Government makes decisions every single day about what it chooses to afford to pay for and what it chooses not to afford to pay for, and I'll try and refrain from making any particular comments on recent expenditure by Welsh Government and the choices that they've made. So, that's the first point I'd say, that it is a political choice. I'd also point to a regular reference by the Minister about this coming from the education budget, and it's something that I covered at the start of our session here together today. I think it really does point to an issue about silo working in Welsh Government, and I do understand it to a certain extent—people are given a budget within their department and have to work within it—but something like this does touch on lots of elements that Welsh Government are responsible for. We've talked about education, clearly, we've talked about health—both in terms of physical health and mental health—it would impact on sport and recreation, which you can see a Dawn Bowden budget there; it would touch on climate change, because of the evidence that shows the impact that these experiences have on children's understanding of the climate and the environment around us.

There's no reason why different ministerial departments can't come together to understand how they can contribute towards this, if this is something that they think is actually really important—and I know, the last time I was at the meeting as well, I was grateful for a question from Ken Skates referring to other more perhaps creative ways of seeing something like this being funded as well. So, I'm not shying away from the challenge that Welsh Government have at the moment, but, as I say, it's a political choice whether this one is to be funded or not, and there are ways in which it can be funded.

Thank you, Sam. I've got one more question, actually, just around—. We've been told that the schoolteachers' pay and conditions document may need to be changed as a result of the Bill. Is this something that you were aware of?

10:40

I'm really sorry, Chair. I was doing a bad thing of reading something there, while I should have been listening to you. Could you repeat the question to me?

That's okay. Not at all. No, that's fine. I can repeat it. That's fine.

We've been told that the schoolteachers' pay and conditions document may need to be changed as a result of the Bill. Is this something that you were aware of, and have you given any consideration to it?

It's certainly something that I've considered. Within the timescale and the remit of the Bill itself, I haven't been able to go into the detail on that, but certainly it's something I expect the Minister to have to take a look at as well.

Brilliant. Okay, well, I can see there are no other questions from Members, so just to say 'thank you very much' for joining us this morning, giving further evidence on this, and to the team that have supported you as well. So, diolch yn fawr. You will be sent a transcript to check for factual accuracies, but we really appreciate you joining us this morning and the work that you've put in. Diolch.

3. Papurau i'w nodi
3. Papers to note

We'll move on to the next item, which is papers to note. We've got eight papers to note this morning. Are Members content to note those papers together? I see Members are.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).

Motion:

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

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

The next item is item 4, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content? I see Members are content, so we'll now proceed to meet in private.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:41.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:41.