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Plans to change school holidays in Wales will damage trade and affect staffing, say independent retailers

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has warned that proposed changes to the school calendar in Wales will hit summer trade and cause problems with staffing levels.

Under the changes, the six-week school summer holidays would be reduced to five in 2026, while an extra week would be added to the half-term autumn break in October 2025.

The Welsh government wants to take a week from the start of the summer break and add it to the October break. It says the move is so that staff and learners get more time to rest during the long autumn term.

Tenby store owner Vince Malone, who is the Fed’s president for Wales, said: “This will impact on the summer trade. For example, our town is full every week during the summer holidays and the trade lost can’t be spread across five weeks.

“It also puts pressure on staff members when booking holidays. Lots of our team have young families, and school holidays are the only time they can get away. It takes real managing now, and reducing the time available could leave us understaffed at key times.”

The Welsh government says it recognises that any changes to the school year structure could impact wider sectors and is engaging with the workers and employers from sectors outside of education as part of the consultation, which opened on November 21.

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