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Thursday, October 22, 1998 Published at 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK


Scrapping the long summer holiday

Parents will be given more choice of holiday dates

A secondary school is proposing to change to a five-term academic year because it believes the long summer holiday can damage children's educational development.

The BBC's Georgie Bevan reports on the school's plans
Under the plans, each term at The Greensward School in Hockley, Essex, would last for around eight weeks.

There would be a two-week holiday after each term, with the summer holiday cut to four weeks.

The changes could be introduced as early as next May.

The school's deputy headteacher, Jim Fuller, said: "Research shows that children regress during the long summer holiday.

"Children start the new school year at a lower level than when they left in the summer, and the majority do not get back to where they were until the end of the spring term.

"The current system of the three-term year with a long summer holiday is based on a time when children needed to be off school to help with collecting the harvest.

"It's an archaic system that needs an update."

Ballot of parents

Parents whose children attend the The Greensward School and its four feeder primary schools will be consulted on the proposals.

After this process, they will be invited to vote in a ballot on changing the school year.

The proposals, which are likely to receive their backing, would allow family holidays to be taken outside of the peak summer period.

A majority of the school's teachers are also believed to be behind the proposals.

The Greensward School, a grant-maintained comprehensive with specialist technology college status, has 1274 pupils between the ages of 11 and 19.

The Local Government Association has backed its proposals to modify the school year.

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