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Friday, February 5, 1999 Published at 18:03 GMT


The short summer holiday

Summer holidays will be cut to four weeks

A secondary school is to switch to a five-term year and abolish the long summer holiday.

Pupils at the Greensward School in Hockley, Essex, will attend lessons for five eight-week terms from next January.

During the year, they will have four two-week holidays and a month-long summer break.

The move was approved by the school's governing body following discussions with parents and staff.

It was motivated by concerns that pupils lost ground in their learning during the long summer holiday.

The Greensward School's headteacher, David Triggs, said: "Eight or nine weeks of concentrated learning followed by a short holiday will enable students to apply maximum concentration and motivation.

"It offers the students and staff the opportunity to perform at the highest possible levels across the whole of the academic year."

More to follow?

The Greensward School, a grant-maintained comprehensive with specialist technology college status, has nearly 1300 pupils between the ages of 11 and 19.

Six local education authorities are currently considering plans to move their schools to a five-term year.

They are: the London boroughs of Newham and Croydon, as well as Bradford, Bristol, East Sussex and Thurrock.

The House of Commons education select committee backed the idea of a five-term school year, arguing that existing arrangements date back to a pre-industrial economy when children left school to bring in the harvest.

But the government has so far resisted proposals for change on a national scale after strong opposition from teachers' unions.

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