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'Only 1 in 3' school-aged children eat fruit once a day

Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Youngsters still aren't eating enough fruit and vegetables.

That's according to a survey of 10,000 secondary school aged children around Wales which found only 1 in 3 eats fruit or vegetables every day.

The Welsh Government report also says not enough young people are doing recommended levels of physical activity every day.

But it's not all bad news. Key findings include:

  • A substantial majority of young people report being happy with their life and in good health
  • A substantial fall in the numbers of 15 to 16 year olds smoking and drinking compared to the 1990s
  • The lowest levels of cannabis use since 2002
  • An increase in regular tooth brushing, the proportions rising with age
  • The majority of young people report having good support networks, receiving emotional support from their family
  • The number of young people who now find it easier to talk to their father has risen significantly in a decade, rising from 55% to 67% for girls and 65% to 82% for boys
  • A fall in the number of young people reporting early sexual activity

These findings give us a useful snapshot of the health of young people in Wales. It’s reassuring that many young people are following advice on healthy lifestyles – advice that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

We have a wide range of measures in place to help children to be more active and get them hooked on sport for life, including free swimming, a £1.6m physical literacy programme for schools and the Healthy Schools scheme.

It’s vital that we all take responsibility for our own and our families’ lifestyle choices.”

– Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales


New curriculum for schools in Wales 'by 2018'

A new curriculum will be available for schools in Wales in three years' time under Welsh Government plans.

Education Minister Huw Lewis wants the new curriculum designed and developed by 2018, with formal teaching beginning by 2021.

The Education Minister wants 'better learning and higher standards'. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Mr Lewis confirmed in June that Wales would press ahead with plans to overhaul the existing curriculum.

Proposals include making digital skills a priority, giving teachers more freedom, and making smoother transitions between subjects and year groups.

Drugs deaths 'down 30% in five years'

Credit: Michael Stephens/PA Archive/PA Images

The Welsh Government says the number of drug-related deaths in Wales has fallen by 30% over the last five years

Deaths from drug misuse in 2014 fell by 16% compared to 2013 and by 30% since 2010.

The drug misuse mortality rate in Wales has also fallen by 16% compared to 2014, to 39 deaths per million – the lowest rate since 2006.

These figures represent lives lost to families and communities across Wales and while I welcome the news of a further decrease, any death attributable to drugs is one too many.

Tackling drug misuse is a complex issue, which the Welsh Government has been working hard to address.

The fact that drug-related deaths are falling at such a rate in Wales is testament to the significant work which we and our partners are undertaking.

– Vaughan Gething AM, Deputy Health Minister
  1. Nick Powell

Labour-Plaid deal delays council shake-up

Labour and Plaid Cymru have reached a deal that will see the Welsh Government's local government bill become law. The Public Service Minister, Leighton Andrews, has agreed with his Plaid Cymru shadow, Simon Thomas, that there will be no move to force councils to mereg until after next year's Assembly election.

Plaid Cymru has stopped Labour from enforcing their map for local government reorganisation through the back door before plans are put to people. Large scale changes to Local Government structures should not be decided by politicians with no mandate but should be decided by people in an election.

The demands made by Plaid Cymru will mean that all parties can present their individual proposals in their manifestos and seek a mandate to implement them, without being bound by the current government’s preferences.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

I’d like to thank Simon Thomas and his Plaid Cymru colleagues for the constructive approach they’ve taken on this matter. It is clear that status quo is not an option for local government, and an important part of the framework can now be put in place for much needed reform. It is now down to each political party to set our their proposals in the coming election.

– Public Services Bill Leighton Andrews AM

The other opposition parties have poured scorn on the deal, accusing Plaid Cymru of selling out to Labour.

Plaid’s leader has happily cosied up and done a deal with them. We should’ve expected nothing less than this astonishing hypocrisy. You’d be hard pushed to make it up.

Thanks to Plaid and Labour, local people won’t get a say on the future of our councils. Thanks to them, councils could now be forced to merge.

Vote Plaid – Get Labour. It’s that simple - and this disregard for Welsh communities is concrete evidence.

– Shadow Local Government Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders AM

Plaid have sold out, but received absolutely nothing in return. It’s bizarre. Their embarrassing u-turn is based on smoke and mirrors. They have achieved literally nothing. There is no commitment for a fair voting system and it was always the case that mergers were not going to happen before the Assembly election.

– Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Peter Black AM


Raising literacy standards a 'major Welsh Government priority'

The Welsh Government says raising literacy standards is one of its major priorities.

Credit: PA

It comes after a report highlighted that Wales' poorest children are starting primary school already struggling with language skills.

The 'Ready to Read' report shows one in four children growing up in poverty leaves primary school unable to read well.

We welcome this campaign and are working closely with Save the Children and others leading it to see how we can add value. It actually complements our own ‘Make Time to Read’ campaign, launched in 2010, which stresses that 10 minutes of reading a day can make a big difference to a child’s literacy and that reading at home helps children to enjoy reading and do better at school.

Our ‘Education begins at home’ campaign also encourages parents to help children with their learning at home. Raising literacy is a major Welsh Government priority and we have introduced a range of policies, including our Literacy and Numeracy Framework and annual reading tests to help achieve this.

We also recognise that increasing the skills of the early years workforce is key to improving outcomes for children, particularly those living in poverty. That is why we are developing a multi-million pound programme with European Structural Funds to provide qualifications to the early years workforce up to degree level.

– Welsh Government spokesperson
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