Michael Grove, Education Secretary, has this week called for drastic changes to the current school holiday system. The changes would see families given just a four week summer break to take a holiday.
Mr Groves reforms could lead to British children havign the shortest summer holiday in Europe. Traditionally state-educated children have had a six-week break between July and September.
The changes would include changing from three to six terms per year, with schools possibly lengthening their hours. Those serving large numbers of working parents could stay open for 51 weeks a year, closing only over Christmas.
Compared with school’s across Europe, British children already have one of the shortest holidays. In America they get between 10-12 weeks, in Greece and Italy it’s 12 weeks, in Austria and France it’s 9 weeks. Only Germany has a 6 week holiday the same as he UK.
Powers granted by Mr Gove to free schools and academies last year saw them take control of their own pay, conditions and term dates, and would allow them to change the traditional school timetable.
In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Mr Gove highlighted the Norwich Free School, where ‘the school premises will be open for six days each week, 51 weeks of the year’ from September. It will close only for bank holidays and the week of Christmas, and adopt a six-term structure with a four-week summer break.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, hit out at Mr Gove’s latest plans. ‘For schools to be open six days a week, 51 weeks of the year, is not what we need,’ she said.
‘Children and young people are after all entitled to a family life.
‘It is also essential that they have time to relax and recharge their batteries after a long and often intensive week at school.
‘This idea, although not new, is ridiculous.’