A Fixed Spring Break

The process of looking into a fixed spring break started nearly two (Nov 2010) years ago. The idea is to have this holiday in the first two weeks of April. I first thought it would be a relative simple process, but it is not. Click HERE on previous blogs.

To be clear this change would not have any effect on the religious side of Easter either, as both Good Friday and Easter Monday are statutory holidays. Part of the consultation process included the Church of England and Catholic dioceses who have a good many church-run schools in Cornwall are supportive of the change.

Now, at the recent scrutiny meeting of the children’s committee, Councillors discussed either to recommend to Cabinet a fixed spring break, or leave the (moving) holiday as it is.   This will now go to the Cabinet for final approval and implement the recommendations.

However, there is no rush for Cabinet to decide as the earliest this could be implemented is 2019. Yes, I said 2019 and it is not a typo!

That would be nine years from start to finish to change a holiday……


Should There be a St Piran’s Public Holiday?

With the Budget debate over it was time to move on to the debate on should there be a St Piran’s Day public holiday in place (extra would be nice) of one of the current May holidays. I have nothing in principle to moving this holiday, but I have some reservations to the process.
One of these is the lack of public consultation to firmly establish the support in Cornwall to moving this holiday. You could argue there is more support for a later public holiday in say, October. But again, this is more on guesswork than actual hard evidence. 

I firmly believe before any letter is sent to central government we gather the views of the public with a few options. However, this is not what Cornwall Council decided today. Granted it did say it would consult, but it also said it would send a letter to government giving our preference this is before any consultation has taken place. 

This is the problem I have. How can you send a preference if you do not know what the public want. I made the point if we just added a percentage to carparking without consulting there would be uproar. I know you cannot consult on everything, but when something like effecting someones holiday, then surely we should try and consult before we give the ‘official’ view.

Anyway, here is the recommendation which was  the carried by the majority:

1. The Chief Executive, following consultation with the Leader, be requested to write to central government stating (1) that, in principle, any change in the May Bank Holiday should lead to the creation of a public holiday in Cornwall on St Piran’s Day and (2) that the government should press ahead with full consultation on the issue of replacing the May Bank Holiday. 

2. The Chief Executive consider how to undertake most effectively a test of public opinion on the issue of creating a St Piran’s Day Public Holiday in Cornwall and report back to a future meeting on the options including the cost implications. 

Is a Fixed Spring Break a Step Closer?

For the last 18 months I have been trying, with the support of others to get Cornwall Council to look into the feasibility of setting a fixed Spring Break. As we all know this moves yearly due to moons and certain days in the religious calendar. A year ago I finally got Cornwall Council to start to talk to other local authorities and our own schools.

At today’s Children, School and Families Scrutiny Committee (CSF) there was a report with the findings of  recent letter and questionnaire sent to Cornish Schools asking if they felt the Spring Break should be fixed. 73 school replied and all but five said the Spring Break should be fixed. Granted not all schools replied, but out of those who did was an over all will to at least look into changing it.

I made a further recommendation to Cabinet:

The CSF Committee recommends that Cornwall Council’s Cabinet undertake a formal consultation on the proposal of moving to a Fixed Spring Break.

This was fully supported by the committee with the add-on from the Chairman of this consultation should be undertaken as quick as possible. Sometimes the wheels at Cornwall Council turn slowly, but at least they turn.