What's the educational argument for so many holidays?

(1000 Posts)
TinTinsSexySister Tue 19-Feb-13 14:59:53

Just that really.

Are there any educational benefits to frequent school holidays or are they just an historical hangover? Educationally speaking, would we be worse or better off adopting the US system?

tiggytape Tue 19-Feb-13 22:34:25

I think the summer holiday is about a week too long (but in fairness our school tends to save up most Inset days for the Summer so it feels more like 7 weeks than 6).

The Christmas holiday and some half terms though are far too short. Last year, the DCs broke up on the Friday before Christmas Eve and went back in the first few days of January. There was no time for any pre Christmas activities or build up and no time to really rest before the new term. We all had just enough time to contract and shake off the usual winter bugs before it was back to school again.

I would actually like about 2 or 3 weeks extra added over the year.

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 22:38:07

No, Dromedary, of course not. I wouldn't imagine that's what LeeCoakley meant, either.

Dromedary Tue 19-Feb-13 22:41:45

You can really tell that many of the posters on here are well off - they don't seem to have any issues with needing to work while their children are on school holiday. Surely you can understand though that that is a problem for many parents. Also not being able to send their children on lovely activities or holidays away.
Eviltwins - surely part, and arguably the main role of education is to prepare children for higher education and working?

Dromedary Tue 19-Feb-13 22:42:48

Letseat - it's what she said.

EvilTwins Tue 19-Feb-13 22:45:31

Dromedary - no, I don't think that the main role of education at all.

I also find it odd that you can conclude that posters on here are "well off".

You knew that schools had holidays, right? You knew that childcare during school holidays was something you would have to deal with? So...?

The vast majority of my friends are working parents. Everyone deals with childcare during holidays one way or another.

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 22:46:57

Surely, Dromedary-you knew the length of school holidays before you had children and it shouldn't have come as a shock. Most other countries have longer holidays than the UK.

Schools are not childcare providers.

ledkr Tue 19-Feb-13 22:50:46

I'm not well off! Even when I was a single parent I enjoyed the holidays.
Even on a work day it's a nice feeling coming home knowing you don't have to do homework or packed lunches. Lovely feeling.

ReallyTired Tue 19-Feb-13 22:53:11

" children spent most of their childhoods playing, there might be a bit of an issue with them being able to cope with university and jobs later on. The UK would be right at the bottom of the international education tables."

I believe that Finland has stupidly long holidays and shorter school days than us yet they are top of the league tables. Anyway I think the PISA comparisions just test a country's ablity to do tests. Some high scoring countries are useless with severe special needs kids.

Dromedary do you really want your child to have more school or do you just want free childcare.

tiggytape Tue 19-Feb-13 22:55:20

I shouldn't think most people are so well off that they can afford 13 weeks childcare / lose 13 weeks of paid work if self employed and not feel it. But that isn't the same as saying they'd want their children in school for weeks and weeks extra every year just to maximise earnings / cut the costs.

And whilst lovely activites are by definition lovely, most kids are happy just with being out of school routine, having time to be with friends / family or having the odd day out even if it is free. I don't think you have to be rich or not working to think school holidays are both beneficial and necessary.

Children definitely do not need 4 weeks annual leave to get them used to the big bad world of work and as for Higher Education - the holidays are even longer! When I started Uni, term didn't even begin until October then it was Christmas holidays as usual. I don't know any adults unable to cope with holding down a job due to the lazy habits they forged during excessively long school holidays so I don't really understand why this generation of children might suddenly suffer from this.

EvilTwins Tue 19-Feb-13 23:02:09

Tiggy- that's a good point. I went to Warwick University, and I don't think we were unusual in that we did three 10 week terms per year, with one Reading Week per term- so 27 weeks per year.

tiggytape Tue 19-Feb-13 23:11:37

I went to a RG uni too and was hardly ever there!
I think we probably had the same term pattern as you - 3 short terms per year with a 'reading week' in the middle of each. The holidays were definitely much, much longer than school holidays - none of this rushing back after Christmas malarkey!

Dromedary Tue 19-Feb-13 23:16:25

Personally, I cope fairly well with school holidays, though the additional cost is hard. I work part time during school holidays, to minimise the problems of needing to use childcare and not being able to spend the time with the children. I also have slightly longer holidays than the norm. And I have managed to persuade relatives to take my children for a holiday for a week a year, which really helps. Not everyone is as lucky as I am - eg I have a flexible employer.

But enough about my personal circumstances - I have been trying to put forward the situation of those who need to work, often full time and with only statutory minimum holiday, and sometimes as single parents, and often without having much money.

I have no problem with the government seeing schools as having a role in enabling parents to work - there is no reason why that can't be part of their, state funded, function.

I don't think that young people having to adapt to far shorter holidays when they start work is too much of an issue, though it is a shock at the time. But I do think that if there are very long holidays, this will impact on educational achievement, and that that will feed into people's future prospects, the economy etc. I don't really understand people not thinking that children go to school, at least in part, in order to become able to earn a living later on.

I hope that clarifies things - I have to go to bed now - work tomorrow despite its being half term.

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 23:18:23

Because childhood should be about more than school!

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 23:19:20

And life about more than making "expected progress"

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 23:20:17

Yes, we have had a visit from "them" angry

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 23:21:46

I think shorter, more frequent holidays would be better - say six 6-7 week terms with 2 weeks between each, 3 weeks in the summer.

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 23:25:37

I think shorter, more frequent holidays would be better - say six 6-7 week terms with 2 weeks between each, 3 weeks in the summer.

How do you think people would be able to organise their summer holidays with only 3 weeks off in the summer? A massive number of people will want to go away during the same three weeks-there will not be enough holiday homes/hotels/cottages/camping sites/caravans/flights to cater for such a narrow margin of opportunity.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 23:28:45

Maybe people would just have to go on holiday at a different time shock

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 23:32:37

I don't think it would be a problem at all actually - it would only be families with school age children who would be restricted to (for eg.) 2 weeks in June, then the last 3 weeks in August. Different LAs could easily stagger holidays by a week. Anyone without children or with pre-school children could go outside those weeks when it's cheaper anyway.

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 23:35:42

Maybe people would just have to go on holiday at a different time

Yeah-brilliant if you can jet off to go skiing in May or October, but most people want to go on holiday (mainly to the UK!) in the summer holiday because that's when the weather is at its best!!

Cathycat Tue 19-Feb-13 23:37:03

The government wouldn't be able to afford teacher wage increase! That's why it doesn't happen! As teachers are only paid for a certain amount of hours a year (as is everyone!) I hardly think that during a recession the government would give out extra pay!

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 23:38:40

Different LAs could easily stagger holidays by a week.

We have LAs round here operating different term times from others. Lots of parents end up with one of their children having different holidays to others and it causes huge problems with lots of people taking one child out during school time. The school then has a fit because it impacts on their attendance figures which can put them into special measures.

It just wouldn't work.

Hulababy Tue 19-Feb-13 23:38:52

It would be a logistical nightmare. Not just families with children fighting over limited holidays either - anyone with a teacher, ta, any other school staff... Also anyone wanting to holiday with others with school age children... And are you going to restrict those without children booking school holiday weeks?

Staggering is a pain too - children on different leas, teachers working in different leas to own children, families in different parts of country.....

It's bad enough for people to juggle holidays away within office places as it is.

And holiday prices will increase for the new holiday weeks because let's face it - they are not going to reduce prices for weeks are they?

DadOnIce Tue 19-Feb-13 23:44:56

It's a daft idea to stagger them. Some parents are teachers too! What if their authority's holiday didn't coincide with the children's?

And nobody has responded to the costing point I made yet, apart from Cathycat who made the same point more succinctly smile

letseatgrandma Tue 19-Feb-13 23:52:04

I think, DadonIce-people don't seriously think that teachers will be paid any extra. I would imagine that because teachers only work 9-3 anyway, they will just have their terms and conditions altered by Mr Gove so that they can't be work-shy whingers any more. When they moan about it, they'll just be accused of them A) not liking children, B) not being good at their job or B) not being commited...

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