21/06/2011 13:04 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Pupils Could Get Just Four Weeks Summer Holidays, Says Michael Gove

Free schools to open 51 weeks a year, six days a week Rex

School summer holidays could be cut to just four weeks under new plans suggested by the Government.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has called for a shake-up of primary and secondary education at his flagship academies and free schools, which include a month-long summer holiday instead of the normal six weeks.

If these changes go ahead, we would have the shortest summer holiday break in Europe.

The plans include switching from three to six terms a year, and longer school hours, lasting from 8am to 8pm. Schools with lots of working parents could stay open for 51 weeks a year, closing just for Christmas.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank, Mr Gove talked about the Norwich Free School, where 'the school premises will be open for six days each week, 51 weeks of the year' from September, only closing for a week at Christmas, choosing a six-term structure and four-week summer holiday.

By law, all schools must be open for a minimum of 190 days a year. Until recently it was up to local authorities to set all dates, which have remained largely static for decades. Changes had been blocked by teachers' unions, which claimed they would put too much pressure on children – but critics say staff have resisted them to maintain their own long holidays.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, hit out at Mr Gove's latest plans. "For schools to be open six days a week, 51 weeks of the year, is not what we need,' she said.
"Children and young people are after all entitled to a family life. It is also essential that they have time to relax and recharge their batteries after a long and often intensive week at school.
This idea, although not new, is ridiculous."

Some 1,100 academies will open in the next year, while ministers hope more than 100 new free schools will be established by 2012.

Would you welcome extra terms and shorter summer holidays?
Would it make your working life easier, and save you pennies on family holidays in the summer?
Or do you think children need time to kick-back?