The issue of changing the school year is back in the news, with the threat of strike action by some teachers in Nottingham and the possibility of more widespread action.
Nottingham City Council wants to move schools away from the traditional three terms and long summer holiday to a five-term year with shorter summer holidays.
Nottingham City Council says that moving to a five-term year would be better for children academically, partly because the summer break would be shorter. It argues that pupils can forget some of what they have learned during the summer holidays.
It also thinks that the change would allow parents to book family holidays outside the expensive 'peak season'.
Those opposed to the change argue the need to 'recharge the batteries' over six weeks and point to the longer summer holidays enjoyed in Scotland and other European countries.
Voice has for a long time been open-minded about the current school year. We always give consideration to proposals for varying the current terms and holidays provided that they meet children's educational and welfare needs and take into account the well-being of teachers that is crucial in order for them to do their job effectively.
We mustn't forget that children are required to work intensively during term and they also need holidays to recover and prepare for term time. However, five or six term models are not new and are operated successfully in a number of local authority areas.
It is essential, however, especially with the increase in the number of academies which can change the lengths of terms and school days independently from the surrounding local authority that there is proper consultation and co-ordination between schools across authorities, regions and even whole countries of the UK to avoid problems for parents and teachers with children at more than one school and for local businesses and services.
A local authority or academy going it alone will not be of benefit to anyone. The government should take the powers that it needs in order plan an ordered change across the country if there is evidence that a new pattern to the school year would be beneficial to pupils and staff.
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