What Welsh Parents Wanted to Ask – The Welsh Leaders Debate

I was really excited when ITV Wales phoned me a few weeks back and asked if I would like to ask a question at the Welsh Leaders Debate….Yes of course I will.

Little did I know that the debate was going to be on Live television! HD television too!! Yes I tried to HD contour like YSL but it was an epic fail and I looked lovely and shiny under the stage lights ha-ha.

I thought the ITV had made contact with me about the petition for a specialist mother and baby unit in Wales that I and many more people from Wales are handing in to the Welsh Assembly government soon. I thought they may be asking me to attend to ask a question about lack of funding in the mental health services or the fact that Wales has no mother and baby unit! Link to petition – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-mother-and-baby-unit-in-wales-perinatal-mental-health


Sadly I was to ask a question about education…now don’t get me wrong as a mum of two young children I understand that the state education system is severely lacking and could do with many changes.

But I was unsure of what to ask…

I wanted to ask about mental health awareness in schools and that every school in Wales should cover basic mental illness classes. Classes that would talk through signs, symptoms and hopefully ways in which you could help or even prevent an episode of poor mental health.

I took to Facebook for ideas of other questions to ask…here is what Welsh parents wanted…

Kerstin BarthelmesWhy can’t the nursery education for 3 years old be equivalent to the English system?

Karen O’SheaSmaller class sizes are critical as 32 is too many; better quality school meals and the published menu actually matching what gets dished up; all primary schools having a nursery, breakfast clubs which start at a sensible time to be helpful to parents (e.g. 8:10/15) after school clubs available for all classes, e.g. reading clubs, sports clubs, team working clubs); healthy food growing/ preparation/ cookery classes reintroduced into schools; enterprise and social enterprise introduced into the curriculum at a young age; more joined up partnership working with libraries and other community facilities.

Becki Bawler – Smaller class sizes, better choices & more relevant education for the 21st century “Google” generation – it’s transferable skills & application of knowledge gained via the Internet not facts and figures needed for pupils now.

Kelly Jago Schools should not be funded based on the number of children receiving free school meals! But equal funding per head.

Non StevensMore Welsh-medium provision and better planning by the Council. Equal opportunities so 3 year old children can get into a nursery as soon as they turn 3 and Welsh-medium provision available to all within your catchment – on all levels : from nursery age onwards!

Sheena O’Leary – The foundation phase delivered as it was intended with proper outdoor provision not just sand trays under a porch. It has become too watered down as teachers are forced to focus on tests. They have to teach according to what the tests are going to ask not to what is in the best interests of the child.

Louise WilliamsI second Kerstin Barthelmes and Karen O’Shea’s comments. The current 15 hours nursery provision and untenable ‘Breakfast’ or ‘before school’ clubs just aren’t geared towards working parents. The current testing regime places far too much pressure on young children when surely the emphasis, particularly with 3-5 year olds, should be learning through play.

Tom Foolery More funding and support for children with additional learning needs. The cuts in this area are deep and hit those who are least well placed to object.

Janine Wadlow –  More teaching children to learn not teaching them to pass exams? I think there is a lot of stress put on very young children to learn for tests rather than learning through playing!

Suzanne Hathaway No tests!!! Far too much pressure on kids to perform well and too much pressure on the teachers to gain good marks!!

Laura Shobiye – Less tests. Nursery provision that is better than the daft 2.5 hours a day that often can’t be access for children entitled from January or April. More Welsh language options, be that Welsh medium schools or Welsh actually taught well in English medium schools. Better foreign language options – wider choice of languages. Better support for ALN children. Smaller class sizes.

Anny Anderson  –  Smaller class sizes, actual teaching from teachers (who are currently too busy doing admin) less pressure/testing/tick boxes on children. My son is only 5 and is already stressed out by school. Nursery was fine – much more child centric. Reception has been a miserable year so far, and not just for my son but his friends too. School meals are laughable overpriced crap (but I assume most of the cost is in the provision not the actual food).

Kristina Young –  No tests for primary kids until y6, free the teachers to teach and facilitate kids in their natural learning. Stressed kids are learning impaired, and good mental health in children is so important for functioning adults later.

Cheryl Owen –  No tests and a focus on development of the child rather than following a curriculum. Far more physical activity, not just as an ‘add-on’ to classroom learning. Promoting and supporting healthy behaviour at times when parents can’t e.g. sun safety – wearing hats/sun cream when appropriate during school day; lots of parents at our school express concerns that their children don’t drink enough water during the day and have restricted opportunity to access their drinks. One has mentioned that other primary schools in other areas have school branded cups that children can keep at their desks.

(I have more to add. however I would be here all day writing them down lol).

I had to ask a question that would try to cover all areas parents were concerned with…that was hard so in the end I asked…

‘I’m a mother of two and have serious concerns about my children receiving a good state education in Wales. How can you guarantee a good education is available to all’

It kicked off a debate so I was happy, I did here a few things that sounded good but this is politics so lets see what happens.

However, I can definitely see that most parents in Wales want the same for their children, what do you think? What would you have said given the chance to?

Please leave a comment 🙂




  1. Samantha

    How can you refuse school admissions where a sibling attends. Expecting parents to be in two different places at the same time?
    Houses keep being built but no more schools, the councils answer is unfortunately the areas where we currently reside, schools are over subscribed.

  2. Alana

    I think the application system needs to be made clearer. We missed the deadline to apply for our toddler’s nursery place because there was no notification of when we needed to apply by. With him being 19 months old at the time we thought we had plenty of time. Now he might miss out on a space, which could impact him getting into the Welsh school we’d like. All we needed was an email with a deadline on!

  3. Bear and Cardigan

    I would like a choice of where little ones are educated, free nursery should be available near the workplace not just the home. So many people commute and it would be so much easier if they could choose a nursery near their work place.

  4. Emily

    The system is absurd. We were lucky to get into our first choice as we’re in the catchment area, but two of my friends missed out. One didn’t even get offered a place in any school x

  5. Kerry Norris

    I’m not sure I’d have stopped asking if I was there. Schools in Wales are seriously going down hill. My biggest bug bear at the moment is catchment areas. So stupid x

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