Senedd Bites #91: Call for school leaving age to rise

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Think tank calls for school leaving age to rise in Wales

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called for the school leaving age to increase in Wales to cut the numbers of 16-18-year-olds who are not in work, education or training (aka. NEETs) – which currently runs at a rate of around 10%.

At present, 16-year-olds in Wales can leave full-time education, while in England students are expected to remain in some form of education or training until they’re 18. The IPPR told BBC Wales that a £60million investment in adult education by 2025 would; “take Wales up from a middling country in terms of the number of adults in education to among the highest in the world and that’s the scale of the challenge we face.”

In May 2019, Lynne Neagle AM (Lab, Torfaen) led a short debate calling for an increase the school leaving age.

AM registers new party

Former Plaid Cymru AM, Neil McEvoy (Ind, South Wales Central), has registered a new party called the “Welsh National Party”, which he claims will act to protect individual rights and support Welsh “sovereignty”.

It’s the second nationalist splinter party after the small-c conservative-leaning Ein Gwlad/Gwlad Gwlad was founded 2018. McEvoy says the Welsh National Party intends to stand candidates in the 2021 Senedd election and also future local elections, rejecting both the “left-wing” and “right-wing” labels.

The new party is set to officially launch in Cardiff on 3rd April 2020.

Increase in hospital admissions due to allergies

According to the latest figures, the number of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions has doubled in the last eight years.

BBC Wales Live reported that around 1,600 people were treated for allergies in 2018, leading to calls for schools to do more to take allergies – such as eggs and nuts – into account. The Welsh Government said guidance has been issued to schools to ensure they keep adrenaline pens (aka. Epi-pens) on site.

Consultant immunologist Dr Tariq El-Shanawany said: “I think what we want to do is maintain the improvements that we have seen in public health and reduce the risk of allergies, so certainly being out and about in nature, in green spaces or out in the countryside would be beneficial for many reasons including reduction of risk of allergy.”

Senedd to hold week-long events in the north

The Assembly Commission has announced that it will hold a week-long series of events and meetings in the north-east later in 2020.

It comes as the latest polling showed increased levels of support for direct-rule from London in the north, with accusations that the Senedd is too distant. The Commission has previously run Senedd@ weeks in Swansea, Newport, Wrexham, Mold and Aberystwyth.

Llywydd, Elin Jones (Plaid, Ceredigion) said: “Meeting in the north will create new opportunities for people to attend and participate in the work of the Senedd. I am excited by the possibilities that are opening up.”