The NAHT will investigate the benefits of scrapping the six-week summer break and spreading holidays more evenly throughout the year.
At the NAHT’s annual conference its leader Russell Hobby questioned whether the current 13-week term structure is healthy for staff, the BBC reports.
The headteachers debated a proposal to scrap the six-week summer holiday in favour of shorter, but more frequent, holidays. Education Secretary Michael Gove has called for reform of the current system, which described as a relic of the 19th century, when children were needed to help out with the harvest.
School leaders fear that pupils’ education suffers as a result of the long break, with teachers having to spend weeks at the start of the new academic year getting pupils over the summer ‘learning loss’, It has also been blamed for forcing working parents to struggle to arrange childcare, and inflated costs of taking a family holiday during peak periods.
Mr. Hobby also flagged up the damaging effects of 13-week terms on teachers’ health: “It seems like at the end of term everybody is ready to drop. Not reducing the amount of holiday but distributing it more evenly throughout the year might be one solution to that,” he said. He suggested that schools in the same district should co-ordinate holidays: “You could have a staggering of holidays around the country,” he said. “So if different parts of the country within local authority boundaries or regional boundaries had slightly different holiday times I think that would ease the pressure on prices of holidays.”
The proposal, which is likely to be resisted by teachers and some heads, will now be the subject of a study into its benefits and the impact on children’s learning.
Do you feel ‘ready to drop’ at the end of term and if so would you welcome shorter but more regular holidays?