Every child looks forward to school holidays. The freedom, the sun, the friends. But for parents perhaps not so much. If working full-time a parent is usually granted the same amount of holiday time as everyone else, so why are the summer holidays so long?
Well one mum has taken to Mumsnet to share a radical idea- getting rid of summer holidays altogether and replacing them with a work-like annual leave system.
"Think we should do away entirely with school holidays?" she wrote on the forum. "Just musing and wondering why we don't just do away with them entirely?
"Run schools like a regular workplace in that they operate 52 weeks of the year, Teachers and students to get 4 weeks allocated holiday allowance per year and parents can use this at their discretion. Staff would be able to be more flexible and they would have more time in the year to teach children at a more realistic pace? Am I missing why this isn't a genius idea?"
People have opinions on her suggestion, to say the least. Some could see where she was coming from, agreeing that the summer holidays are too long.
"I would be in favour of shortening the summer break and distributing those weeks elsewhere in the year. The ‘summer dip’ is well-documented and disproportionately affects disadvantaged pupils."
"I actually think you're right in that we should have schools operate in such a way that children and teachers aren't utterly exhausted at the end of term. There's also a lot of evidence that the long summer holiday is detrimental. That said I still think there should be some allocated holidays where kids have a longer time to indulge their interests or just get bored."
"Well I mean, if they are in child care anyway during the summer months how would it be any different to keeping in the routine of going to school."
"The school time would be less tiring surely because there is less pressure to cram the curriculum into a shorter period of time. The kids would get plenty of time to play and experience life and you can take them during the summer months on your two weeks holiday whenever its ready. People would pay less for childcare too. If you work full time you won't see less of your kids, I can't take the summer off because the kids are off."
"I don’t think they should be open all year, but I think the way the holidays are arranged needs a bloody good shake up. It’s ridiculous that most of the kids are off at the same time, meaning attractions etc are flooded with people at the same time, it’s difficult to book annual leave at work, arrange childcare etc."
However, several noted that teachers, especially with students in exam classes, would be adversely affected by this annual leave system.
"So, 30 children in one class all take their holidays at different times. How does the teacher ensure that 30 different children catch up on parts of the curriculum they missed when they were away? Many more children if it's secondary."
"It wouldn't work. Schools run so smoothly (most of the time) because they dictate when staff can take their annual leave. If staff were allowed to book leave one day per week for 20 weeks or 2 days a week for 10 etc that'd cause a massive issues. There would be no consistency for the children, how on earth would children with [SNAs] cope if their 1:1 was off on random days?"
"I’m wondering how the children would get taught anything of any substance/build on prior knowledge as everyone (staff and students) would be in and out at different times? Plus all the other reasons already mentioned. Children and young people are not merchandise/product; they don’t fit into a business model, no matter how much schools are forced to try and do this already."
Not to mention that kids don't function the same way as adults, therefore needing proper breaks.
"It would make more sense to have schools run more like real life. Having short terms and long holidays made sense in the past, when mums generally didn't work and kids often worked during the holidays. But society has moved on.
"Yea, let's squash them into shape from the age of four. After all, they will have to do 'work hours' till they're in their late 60's or beyond, so why not extend that to almost their entire childhood as well?"
Moreover, the summer holidays provide a space for children to recharge and explore life outside the classroom.
"No, but I think there should be subsidised summer scheme style holiday clubs available as holiday care is shockingly expensive. I also think we should have more facilities for kids older than 12, not all 12 year olds are mature enough to be left alone all day but in my area at least there is nothing available for kids past 12 at all. Structured school and learning though shouldn't be increased."
"It's a terrible idea because children need time away from school to pursue their own interests, to develop socially, to rest and relax. Intensive year-round schooling would cause them to completely burn out and would deny them the opportunities to experience life outside of the school room."
What do you think? Should be summer holidays be shortened or done away with? Is it a terrible idea or is there some merit to it?