Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

to think Gove has probably forgotten the fun of summer holidays, playing out after school and relaxing?

(235 Posts)
kim147 Fri 19-Apr-13 07:43:06

With his plan to extend the school day and shorten the holidays.

Didn't he spend summer playing outside with his friends? Coming home after school, doing clubs like cubs, playing outside, spending time with his parents and just "being a child"?

AIBU to think he's forgotten what it's like to be a child?

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:30:14

wordfactory - I am utterly and hopelessly fed up at the moment with policies and politicians designed to "level the playing field" and prevent my DC from learning. It is so much hard work (at family level) and expense to counteract it that my sympathies with the less privileged are somewhat less than they might otherwise have been...

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 10:33:45

I get that Bonsoir.

I feel for you trying your best in the French education system. Not easy. I know you work hard at it.

I dunno what to say about it all really. I mean I'm not affected. The longer holidays work in my DC's favour and the schools they attend won't reduce, I don't think...actually I wouldn't mind a week knocking off the Summer, seven weeks would be more than sufficient.

All the extra achievements might look good on paper. But what the hell is the point if the child is an emotional and exhausted wreck. ??? We all know people who have heart attacks through stress or who have been signed off work etc. that's what happens when people sustain long periods of exhaustion, mental burn out, no time to eat properly sleep properly , Rest, unwind etc Is that what we want for our babies. To be forced to stay in school til they literally drop???

niceguy2 Fri 19-Apr-13 10:40:17

Children are only going to be bored in the holidays if the parents make no provision to occupy them usefully.

It's not quite as simple as that though is it?

Do you have the time, money and holidays to entertain your kids for six weeks? I know I don't.

With the best will in the world and even if my fiancee & I could take all that time off work, we certainly cannot afford to keep taking them out every day. And you can't just let them sit in front of the xbox all day either.

In the real world we have to work. And that is I think the crux of Gove's argument. We've a school system designed back in the days when kids needed to help out on farms still in existence when parents are working with about 4-5 weeks of holidays per year!

Does it need looking at? In my opinion yes. Does it mean that we automatically scrap the 6 weeks? No I don't think so.

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:50:33

It doesn't cost money to take your DC out every day, and staying at home doesn't have to mean screen-based entertainment. A long lazy picnic in the park with other families and some bats and balls is a great way to spend a day. Long walks across towns or the countryside are free and incredibly enriching if you bother to teach your DC about climate, geography, architecture, flora & fauna, urban planning etc.

Sirzy Fri 19-Apr-13 10:51:17

Taking children out doesn't have to cost money though, that again comes down to lack of imagination/willingness to find things to do.

Nobody has said that more shouldn't be done to provide holiday care for families who work, but that should be based around fun not education (I know the two aren't mutually exclusive but it shouldn't be formal education)

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:53:05

I also think that lying on the sofa reading a book in pyjamas junwashed until lunchtime is a very valuable part of any childhood...

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 10:53:22

tbf not all children live in a lovely place like you do bonsoir I do agree with you about taking children out but everyday for 6 weeks you cant have picnics in parks for 6 weeks or have lovely days at home for 6 weeks, sometimes children get bored parents get bored children start to stagnate by the end of the 6 weeks,

* I also think that lying on the sofa reading a book in pyjamas junwashed until lunchtime is a very valuable part of any childhood...*

Couldn't have put it better myself!!!

Bold out fail sad

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:56:06

TBH I've never tried to keep the children at home for 6 weeks without some kind of course or holiday to break it up. But you don't have to put your DC in FT activities - next week our DC will be on holiday and DD is going to do a sculpture course from 2pm to 4pm Mon-Fri. The rest of the time will quickly get eaten up with reading, piano playing, choosing new glasses at the optician, buying some summer clothes etc.

StephaniePowers Fri 19-Apr-13 10:56:31

My summer holidays were too long. I had a working single parent and we had no money and the weather was not good enough to be out all hours and wtf is an after school club if you live basically in a cottage amongst acres of farmland?
Yes you can run about but it's not the sodding famous five!

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 10:56:35

I also think that lying on the sofa reading a book in pyjamas junwashed until lunchtime is a very valuable part of any childhood...

most of my summer holidays i didnt get dressed till lunchtime anyway

niceguy2 Fri 19-Apr-13 10:56:48

Yes I agree it's not all about money and we often do cheap things like going to the park.

But i don't know about you but I can't simply take 6 weeks off in the summer. I can't even take 3 weeks off expecting my OH to take 3 weeks off.

And how many families nowadays can afford one parent to be a SAHP?

That's why I'm saying we should look at the holiday system again. What's wrong with say 4 weeks in the summer and the time added to half term holidays?

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:59:08

I think social mobility will plummet for those DC who are at school almost all the time.

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 10:59:48

It wouldn't feel like the holidays if I wasn't shouting at DC to get washed and dressed while serving up the pasta!

StephaniePowers Fri 19-Apr-13 11:03:03

Bonsoir why would their social mobility plummet? (Social mobility is at a low atm anyway.)

MiniTheMinx Fri 19-Apr-13 11:03:18

Niceguy I agree with a lot of your points and I think Dahlen is spot on about consistency.

If I had to have after school provision I would prefer my children have that extra care at school where there are at least some qualified staff and there is consistency and access to lots of resources.

Some of these childcare settings are lacking in quality. Ofsted are looking into the the quality of staff and training at the moment.

DS1 attends some clubs at lunch times, he loves science and maths, it would benefit him to have the choice of extra science after school. It wouldn't benefit him to have some ill educated, barely literate but kind hearted person look after him from 4-6pm. We tried this and he was quite disparaging and he dreaded it. He hated the fact that there was nothing to do and he isn't interested in trampolines and TV

I think if this was done well, with time for extra activities such as music, sport, science clubs, even engineering clubs, build robots out of scrap metal, go fishing, try fencing or archery. Anything really that didn't just involve sitting behind a desk for an extra two hours. And give the children a choice in what they pursue. many parents can't afford music lessons and in this area swimming costs just over £20 for a family.

I think with the right investment this would be very good for all children but even more so for children from deprived backgrounds.

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 11:06:13

Because social mobility is more closely correlated with high levels of parental involvement than any other factor. The more you relieve parents of the "parenting burden" to state schools (private schools operate on a different premise) the worse the DCs' outcome.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Fri 19-Apr-13 11:12:05

I'm a teacher at a state secondary school with sixth form.

From the point of view of the children's learning, by 3pm their brains are full and they simply do not learn as well. We have lessons that go until 3.45 for all students, then lessons until 4.30 for some GCSE subjects and sixth formers, which the kids drag themselves through and take twice as long to develop the skills they need during this later time slot.

Also, by the end of term they are exhausted. A 6 week half term is about the right length. When the dates fall so that it is 7 (or God forbid 8!) weeks, their capability and enthusiasm to learn plummets.

From a teacher's perspective, yes the holidays are needed to plan, mark, rest and spend time with our own families. If Gove wants to formally extend teachers' hours, then he'll need to find hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer money to fund the increase in hours as our contracts and salary are based on a fixed number of hours.

If he has this vast sum of money lying around to spend on improving education, then in my humble opinion it would be better spent on hiring more teachers and building more classrooms to reduce class sizes to preferably 20 students.

This would mean that:
- students would get more individual attention
- quality of marking would increase
- behaviour problems would be improved
- quieter pupils/shy pupils would be more likely to contribute to class discussion and develop their confidence
- less students (hopefully none!) will get lost in the middle
- hopefully more teachers stay teaching, so we get a better mix of experience. I love enthusiastic NQTs, but when a department has more NQTs than experienced staff, standards do slip.

Vote IncrediblePhat for Education Minister! grin

MiniTheMinx Fri 19-Apr-13 11:13:23

I disagree Bonsoir, you over look the fact that some children do not have actively involved parents. Now, unless someone is going to visit and supervise these parents and encourage their active participation with activities and days out, these children are left disadvantaged.

Your attitude smacks of privilege, privilege you are desperate to convey to your children at the expense of other children.

StephaniePowers Fri 19-Apr-13 11:14:52

That's interesting Bonsoir, where could I read about that?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Fri 19-Apr-13 11:15:05

Another vote here for shorter summer holiday. With the extra two weeks being tacked onto half term hols.

There was an interview on radio 4 this morning where it was admitted that poorer child do loose skills over the long summer holidays.

I would also support longer hours for older children. I also think teenagers should be able to start the school day later and finish later (it takes ages for their brains to wake up).

TeddyBare Fri 19-Apr-13 11:28:43

I just don't understand how it would work. Will they be longer days but made up of the same number of classes and then some sports and creative things after that? In which case where is the funding for specialist equipment and teachers coming from and couldn't it be spent on something else? Or is it going to be extra lessons all day, in which case when are children going to have a chance to do the fun things which make life more than just a treadmill to make profit for large corporations. And where will the money come from the supply the extra teachers to cover these hours?! If there is money to invest in education then this seems to be the wrong thing to invest it in.

I can see an argument for rearranging the school day though. I would like to see primaries starting earlier and finishing earlier as is done in Germany and the Scandinavian countries. That means children get the whole afternoon to do something outside in the fresh air, which I think it good for their health and probably teaches them to respect the environment more too. I would also like to see secondary schools starting later and with American style bus services to get all children in to school. This would reduce the traffic on the roads during rush hour and I think it would help punctuality and focus as teenagers seem to be naturally more nocturnal. I can also see arguments for rearranging the terms a bit although I would keep the ratio of school to holidays the same.

niceguy2 Fri 19-Apr-13 11:34:04

IncrediblePhat makes some very good points which should be being considered.

I'd be very interested in seeing some actual research and facts/figures on this before anything is changed. But I don't see any harm in talking about it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now