Easter break could be set

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CONSULTATION has begun on proposals to change school holiday dates across Notts.

Worksop parents will be asked on whether they would prefer a fixed two-week break at the end of the spring term, which would see both spring and summer terms more similar in length.

The 12-week consultation started Monday and if agreed the changes will apply for the 2013/14 academic year.

County council cabinet member for children and young people’s services Philip Owen encouraged people to make their voices heard.

“We will be asking schools to get in touch with parents from next week to let them know how they can complete the survey and find out more about the consultation,” he said.

“But we’re also keen to get views from a range of people and groups who are directly affected and other residents.”

“The idea around a fixed spring break is that this would create more equal term lengths as an alternative to the current situation where the holiday at the end of the spring term is dependent on when Easter falls.”

If parents choose to keep arrangements as they are it would mean a 13-week spring term and an 11-week summer term.

But if parents opt for a fixed spring break, spring and summer terms for the same year would both be 12 weeks long between 2013 and 2016 academic years.

Responses will be used to inform the council ahead of a cabinet meeting June when a final decision will be made.

Initial proposals included the option of adopting a five-term year, which schools in Nottingham are adopting from September 2013.

Although earlier discussions across the county showed there was limited support for ‘radical change’, the council said.

And that primary schools, which are largely maintained by the county council, were resistant to a five-term year because of the length of the terms.

“In the initial consultations, primary school headteachers were concerned about the impact eight-week terms would have on young children’s ability to sustain learning,” said coun Owen.

“They also expressed worries about the likelihood of absenteeism increasing because of fatigue.”

A five-term year would see equal term blocks of eight weeks each with the summer holiday dropping to four weeks from six.

He added: “The overriding factors are the impact a change would have on students’ learning, educational outcomes and learning experiences of children and young people.”

“There’s insufficient evidence and research currently available to support the view that moving to a five-term year or any other radically different model as opposed to the current arrangements would benefit all children in Notts.”

Copies of the survey will be available from libraries around the county.