Azara Blog: IPPR proposes that the school summer holiday gets cut to a month

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Date published: 2008/05/25

The BBC says:

Long school holidays should be abolished to prevent children falling behind in class, a report has said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research said studies suggested pupils' reading and maths abilities regressed because the summer break was too long.

Instead, the think-tank said the school year could have five eight-week terms, with a month off in the summer and two weeks between the rest of the terms.

The report said the change could benefit pupils, parents and teachers.
Ms Sodha told BBC Radio 5 Live that the current structure of the school year was a relic from the time when children were needed to help out on family farms during the summer fruit-picking season.

The report co-author tells how the system should be reformed

She said there were two strong arguments for making a change.

"The first is that children regress with respect to their academic skills. Their reading and maths skills tend to decline when they're away from school and this is particularly true for children from poorer backgrounds.

"And that actually brings us on to the second reason. Not all children have the same access to out of school activities during the summer holidays and kids from more advantaged backgrounds are the ones who are most likely to get to go to these activities.

"That's reflected in statistics on anti-social behaviour and youth offending, and we know that those levels are higher during the summer holiday, particularly towards the end."

The IPPR suggested the summer holiday should run from mid-July to mid-August, followed by two eight-week terms before Christmas.
The IPPR said the change could help parents who find it difficult to keep children occupied during the six-week summer break.

It would also provide opportunities to take holidays at different times of year, potentially saving money by avoiding peak periods.

Have the authors of this report bothered to ask any children whether they want their summer holiday cut short in this way? Do we really want children to effectively be permanently at school? And it is hard to see this proposal making it cheaper "to take holidays at different times of year" since holidays are expensive when schools are out, period, and this shortens the time in the summer when families can have holidays so would likely make the summer holiday even more expensive if anything.

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