Summer Holidays – Too long?

The School summer holidays are now upon us. Near 7 weeks of trying to entertain your children is never an easy task. I have been asking myself are summer holidays just too long? I mean the current term times were introduced some 40 years ago. What was good then might not be fit for today’s world.

Back 40 year’s ago family life was completely different. Generally only one parent worked. Today both parents work. Not always out of wanting to, but out of necessity. Today there are more single parent families than 40 year’s ago. Society has changed, and depending on your view point for the better or worse, but I am not getting into that today.

Most people are able to take 2 weeks in summer as holidays, so with both parents that’s a max of 4 weeks. If it’s a single parent they might only be able to have 2 weeks covered. The question is what do you do with those weeks are not covered? Grandparents are one option, but that only works if they are available. Friends can help, but you don’t like to ask that often as they may have their own childcare issues. You might have an older child who can look after the younger ones, but is that fair on that child to become a surrogate parent? If you have no family support then it might be childcare. That in itself is a very expensive option, as you might be paying the same or more than what you earn to pay for care. You ask yourself what’s the point in working if I am just covering the child care fees.

Maybe a sensible option is for Cornwall Council to take a look at term times. I know in other Authorities this has been done and they may have 6 terms instead of the standard 4. If Cornwall Council did (I am not saying they will or even thinking of looking at it) review term times what would be acceptable? 4 weeks in the summer with the other days spread around the other holidays, or have an extra half term somewhere? That does not solve the issue of most people only having 4 weeks holiday a year, but it might make it easier to arrange cover/support during those periods.

If we did look at other option then would this have an effect on the economy of Cornwall? Would Cornwall lose out from the Tourist trade if we changed this? It might not, but it would have to be taken into account. Another question is whether there is the will to change the term times. I raised this question of term times some 14 months ago. I got the feeling that this was not even on the distant radar to be discussed. Is one reason that the powers to be (Cllrs) don’t have children still of school age and therefore don’t see it as an issue?

So I ask you, do you think there should be any change? If so what would you like to see different? If you are a teacher what would you change? I know I would like to see some sort of change as I do feel the current system is out of date and does not reflect the modern working world or family make up.

So, let me know how you see this. If you do respond could you say if you have children at school age please.

UPDATE: Here are the thoughts to one of the professional bloggers out there on the same subject. click HERE for Teacher Talks

5 comments

  • Anonymous

    Does it matter how the holidays are split?If youve got child care problems youve got them whether its august or april,
    How does the work load of a cllr change during holidays,do you have less meetings?
    Do cllrs get "holidays"?

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I have two children of school age. On one hand, it is difficult organising their childcare (and expensive!), admittedly though I am one of the fortunate ones who can flexibly work with a bit of home working in the evenings to make up the time required, so can keep the childminder cost to a minimum – not sure that other families would have that luxury and it must be a nightmare for them.

    However, my children really do benefit from having such a long break to re-charge their batteries and prepare for the coming school year and increase in workload as they progress through each year.

    6 weeks always seems very long, but then in reality is not so long after all. I may be a lone voice, but whilst 6 terms would be better for me, it wouldn't be better for my children … and for that reason I would probably not support any change.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    One of the professional bloggers out there commented on the same subject a few days ago. Here is the link to that post

    http://thinkpolitics.co.uk/tpblogs/teachertalks/2010/08/05/school-holidays-two-weeks-too-long/

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    Thank for the comments. Please keep them coming

  • Anonymous

    Thus stating that school is nothing more than free child care? Maybe MAYBE it would work if they still got the time off from the mundane joke that is the national curriculum and got to do fun things. Call it mandatory free summer camp.

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