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The End Of The Long Summer Break? State Schools To Set Their Own Term Times

14/08/2014 16:51 | Updated 22 May 2015

The end of the long summer break? State schools to set their own term times

State schools are to be given permission to set their own term times – which could signal the end of the long summer break.

In future, local councils will no longer be able to tell their schools when terms should start and end.

This paves the way for individual schools to introduce longer terms and cut the length of school holidays.

The move, which is contained in the new Deregulation Bill, comes weeks after Education Secretary Michael Gove suggested that the current school year is out of date and that children should have shorter holidays.

Under the current system, state school pupils usually get two weeks off at Christmas and Easter as well as six weeks in the summer, and three week-long half term breaks.

School days usually run from around 9am to 3pm, or 3.30pm. If the new Bill is passed, the changes, which apply to local authority-run schools, would come into effect in September 2015.

Academies and free schools - which are semi-independent schools not under council control - already have the freedom to set their own term dates.

All state schools will still be required to open for at least 190 days of the year, the Department for Education said.

A Department of Education spokesman said: "It is heads and teachers who know their parents and pupils best, not local authorities. So it is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils."

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), told the Evening Standard: "Deregulation shouldn't be a major issue as a large proportion of schools already have the ability to set their own term dates.

"Most schools choose to follow the local authority calendar because they know that it's better for parents who have children in different schools and teachers who want their holidays to coincide with their children's.

"The problem will come if no one is responsible for creating a coordinated calendar for an area and it turns into a free for all. 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.

"It would help for deregulation to be accompanied by guidance which reminds schools to take into account local circumstances and to consider the practical difficulties parents can face when schools within an area have varying term dates."

What do you think? Potential problems with your children at different schools with different holiday dates?

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