All state schools to set own term dates

England’s state schools will be able to decide their own term date under government plans for more school autonomy, but It could spell the end of the six-week summer holiday.

State schools can already vary the shape of the school day and from September 2015 they’ll be able to change the terms too, a flexibility that academies already enjoy, the BBC reports.

Both government and opposition are pushing for greater powers to be devolved to individual schools, though they would still have to work within a legal minimum of 190 school days each year.

The DfE said that term times should be decided by heads and not councils: “It is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils.”

Critics have warned that the changes will cause problems for parents who have to pay for childcare and whose children are in different schools. The NUT’s Christine Blower said it won’t even save parents money: “Holiday companies will almost certainly just expand the period over which they charge premium rates so there will be no benefit to families, or indeed the general public who will have fewer weeks of less expensive holidays,” she said.

ASCL’s Brian Lightman warned that parents with siblings in different schools would still expect local schools to agree common dates, so that they could plan family holidays: “The problem will come if no one is responsible for creating a co-ordinated calendar for an area and it turns into a free-for-all,” he said, “Somebody needs to take the lead locally on deciding term dates and it makes sense for this to be the local authority, even if schools aren’t required by law to follow it.”

What do you think of the end of the six-week summer break? As a parent, will you have problems in paying for more childcare, or with your children attending different schools with varying holidays?

5 thoughts on “All state schools to set own term dates

  1. I think it’s a fantastic idea of when to set dates for holidays. People will save money on going on holidays. I believe the head should decide with all teachers when to set dates for holidays as they know their children well. summer holidays could be cut down and longer half terms could be introduced.

  2. If schools are allowed to set their own term days this will cause me problems with childcare and planning holidays as I have a child at primary school and one at secondary school. Added to this I work as a careers adviser term time only in a different county across 4 schools. If the schools all set different term times how can I manage being a parent and my work?

  3. As a parent who works in the teaching profession, I can see that it is important to have school term times nationally agreed. However, I have always thought that 6 weeks summer break is far too long without funded summer camps. It should also be noted that for those children with memory problems, SpLD or indeed more complex special needs, the long break actually ‘puts them back’ in their learning and they then struggle (even more) to catch up when the autumn term re-commences.

  4. As a teacher working in a different authority to my children I wish tern times to be the same.
    Child care will be impossible as i will be off whilst my kids are at school
    But my childminder will be available for work hence will want paying. My poor kids will end up spending holidays in school with me! Holiday companies will be rubbing their hands with glee! Prices will increase for a longer period. Having taught abroad with 10 week term, the pupils are exhausted after week 8 and very little work is done in week 9 and 10.
    How come Wales is now making all holidays the same!
    This is an organisational nightmare- go back to nationally fixed term times. Make easter a long weekend like in Australia and create sensible term times around it!

  5. The thing that annoys me about this is that I’ve already experienced this – my holiday was different to my daughter’s and her childminder’s (who took her kids away), so my husband had to take a week off work (he’s not a teacher and only gets 4 weeks) to look after her, while I twiddled my thumbs during my week’s holiday. We now only have a maximum of 3 weeks that we can spend together during the year and his company operates a policy whereby they are only allowed 2 weeks off in a school holiday (due to demand), so instead of a nice fortnight together in the summer, we can only have one week’s holiday this year being the 4 of us – someone, somewhere needs to apply some joined up thinking to this – streamline the holidays, fine the holiday companies and allow us working parents the ability to at least spend sometime together, like other people!

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