Should school holidays be re-organised?

For years, school children and teachers have enjoyed six-week summer holidays during July and August whilst learning has arguably suffered. Now Teachers are threatening to walk out of the classroom and take strike action over proposals to shorten the summer holiday.

 

The subject will be up for debate during the National Union of Teachers (NUT) annual conference in April whereby a motion calls for the organisation, which represents nearly 300,000 teachers, to approve industrial action in order to prevent reforms to the academic year. Action has already been approved in Nottingham after it was revealed that the city council are proposing to introduce a five-term structure to the academic year that would include the summer holiday being cut to four weeks. It is thought that three other councils, along with many academies and independent schools, are also considering implementing the new re-shuffled school year plans.

 

It is claimed that a change to the academic year that would see a shortening of the six-week summer holiday would not give pupils or teachers the ‘rest and reflection’ needed. The NUT justify their stance by claiming that teachers are only able to genuinely recuperate during the long summer holiday period from what is still regarded as the most stressful occupation in Britain. According to the union, there is not enough sound evidence to support a change to the school year. Opponents to the shake-up have also claimed that the idea of ‘more teaching equals more learning’ is just a common misconception.

 

Not everyone is opposed to the idea though; many people have come out in support of a holiday restructure claiming that it will help pupils to retain the information they have already gained during the year which is at risk of being forgotten over the current long holiday period. Not only would it be a positive for children’s learning; it would also help families who may not be able to afford such a long period of childcare or time off work. Teachers who work in Further Education have fewer holidays than school teachers and still find that they can cope with the pressure of a full-time teaching position so surely school teachers would be able to manage as well. Before a vote on industrial action is taken, maybe it would be wise to remember that even if the summer holidays were to be cut by two weeks, teachers would still be in a much better ‘holiday’ position than those working in other areas of the public sector such as nurses and fire-fighters.

 

For now, these are just proposals. Educational experts have been debating the matter since the dawn of free education and a decision over the structure of academic years can only be made by schools and local authorities. A re-organisation may come up against a lot of resistance but it could help transform the whole school system and work towards pupils leaving school with a better knowledge and understanding.

 

At Tutors4GCSE we provide academic support all year round, including the school holidays. If you would like to find out more about how we can help your child to reach their full potential with our subject specialist tuition either one-to-one, in small groups or through  in-school workshops; contact us on 0800 048 8864.

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One Response to “Should school holidays be re-organised?”

  1. Steve says:

    It’s interesting to see what’ll happen. I can see both sides to the argument – that rest and reflection is needed, but a restructure balancing out the holidays (e.g. summer shorter but maybe Christmas and Easter longer, or half-terms longer instead) could be better in terms of information retention.

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