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Brighton & Hove City Council considering changing school term times - what do you think?

(77 Posts)
JaneMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Jan-16 10:12:28


We've been asked to comment about a news story about changes to school term times, and would love to hear your views.

You may have read that Brighton and Hove City Council is considering changing school term times to make it more affordable for families to go on holiday.

The city council is exploring the possibility of cutting the summer holidays and creating a "standalone" week's holiday when parents could take advantage of cheaper prices without having to take their children out of school.

What do you think about how this will affect parents?

As always, we'd love to hear what you think, and whether or not you think these changes would work.

Many thanks,


ouryve Thu 07-Jan-16 10:15:58

This already happens in Lancashire, iirc, as their schols break up earlier in July to tie in with the old factory close downs and then they have blackberry week at the end of September, giving them 2 opportunities to avoid the most expensive times.

DS2's school did consider arranging al their training days to extend May half term, but didn't manage to do that, in the end.

Samcro Thu 07-Jan-16 10:22:20

oh I hope not.
One of mine was in B&H For school. the other in an out of area sn school. them having different term times was a nightmare.

most inset days are tacked on to holidays anyway so not really a problem.
and even if this happens.....when will this week be. will parents be able to get time off?? what if they have children in schools in other areas??

TwoLeftSocks Thu 07-Jan-16 10:22:59

I think it's a really good idea, if it's the council themselves setting the changes then that will, I assume, remove any issues of primary and secondary not matching up.

TwoLeftSocks Thu 07-Jan-16 10:23:49

Ah, I was just thinking about out of area schools as I posted, Samcro.

Donthate Thu 07-Jan-16 10:24:35

Lancashire used to do this. We finished for summer early so cheap hols then, we went back mid August IIRC then we had wakes week off in September. Some areas had two weeks. They don't do it anymore they are inline with the rest of the country unfortunately.

TooShyShyHushHush Thu 07-Jan-16 10:26:07

As a local resident I can see the benefit for this but my main concern is holiday childcare.

There was talk of the schools deciding for themselves when they have their holidays. If that happens I'm seriously concerned about the holiday club we use not running at the right times or being over booked (it does get booked up very quickly already) Plus, they use staff who work within schools so that might be an issue too I guess if some of the schools aren't on break.

Also, my family live out of the city and we do childcare swaps during holidays to keep the costs down and this would effect that.

AuntieStella Thu 07-Jan-16 10:26:24

It's a good idea.

With two provisos:

a) that the area doing it is largely self contained (for want of a better way of putting it). There will always be families living close to LA boundaries who have children at schools (or where the parent teaches at a school) in both. So non-matching dates will always be a problem for some. But when adding new changes, which only make sense if not followed by all other areas, it seem pretty important to me to look at the boundaries and extent of cross-over (that might come out in local reactions to consultation).

b) that all schools in the area will sign up to it. VA schools have always been able to set their own dates, and Labour extended that to academies. That meant the vast majority of schools, even before the coalition announced plans to make it all schools. The only way to avoid chaos is all doing it.

FatherRebulahConundrum Thu 07-Jan-16 10:29:15

I think it's a good idea, but the benefit might only be felt for a short while. The report says that due to exam timetables, only a select number of weeks would be available. If it works well, and other councils eventually adopt the same system for schools, then holiday companies will raise their prices in those weeks.

SouthernComforter Thu 07-Jan-16 10:31:45

Interesting as I have two younger children (not at school yet) and live in B&H. My initial reaction is that it seems like a good idea. I wonder how long it would take for the holiday companies to cotton on and raise their prices in the new week?

DadOnIce Thu 07-Jan-16 10:37:48

Presumes the parents will be able to get a holiday in that week.

Which is going to be pretty difficult if one of them is, for example, a teacher in a different authority...

ThruUlikeAshortcut Thu 07-Jan-16 10:43:48

I wonder how long it would take for the holiday companies to cotton on and raise their prices in the new week?

Not long!

BombadierFritz Thu 07-Jan-16 10:57:52

Why not just let people take kids out for a week without penalty? Far easier.

Hygellig Thu 07-Jan-16 10:59:12

I have mixed feelings; on one hand, I think the summer holidays are about the right length (they're already shorter than just about every other European country AFAIK). On the other, it could be good to have a week off at another time of year when the weather has a chance of being OK and holiday destinations less crowded (spring or early autumn).

We have relatives in Hove who we sometimes go on holiday with. If they changed their holiday dates they probably wouldn't coincide with ours as we are in another part of the country.

It could also be tricky if parents have children at different schools or work at one school and have children at another.

Bertieboo1 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:04:22

We have this at the school I work at - shorter summer hols and extra time off elsewhere, eg two week half terms. I love it as a teacher but once my kids are in schools with 'normal' holidays it is going to be very tricky and will mean I will have to look for a job elsewhere.

WinnieTheW0rm Thu 07-Jan-16 11:12:29

"Why not just let people take kids out for a week without penalty? Far easier."

Not really. If it's a whole school closure, then lesson planning is straightforward as no-one's in. Having some children missing some weeks and others on others makes it really quite complicated, as teacher and TA are always helping with catch up. Obviously that has to happen if there has been illness absences, but it's not something to add to.

BlackeyedShepherdsbringsheep Thu 07-Jan-16 11:38:23

I think it is a good idea. Leicestershire is out of step with everyone else and people manage. holidays should be staggered. would much rather have july off and a break in september.

NameChanger22 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:47:43

I don't think it's schools that should have to change, I think capitalism should. I'm sick of hearing 'supply and demand' as an excuse for taking advantage of people. Just change the law so holiday companies can't charge double in the holidays, cap at 10 percent. Or, everyone should boycott companies that charge extortionate rates in school holidays, then they might change.

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 11:53:34

Our school used to have 2 weeks at October half term, to allow families a 2 week holiday slot. Unfortunately next year it won't happen.

The biggest problem though is that the holidays being the same works for families where kids are in different schools, maybe even in different boroughs, or even that one parent teaches in another borough.

The Netherlands gets round this by staggering holidays according to region. So the North East has a summer holiday beginning (eg) at beginning of July, the North west mis July, the central region end of July and so on. There is about 3 weeks in the middle where everyone is off.
It is government regulated, so the whole region has the same.
They rotate each year, so if you were early this year, you will be middle next year and so on.

I also think that as a ex teacher I have seen just how tired kids get by the end of the year, and so I have always thought a long break in the summer was good.
It would be interesting if we could have a 2 week half term in June, or longer at Easter, but that would effect exams too.

Twinkie1 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:53:39

Are there companies that don't charge more out of school holidays?

I thought they did to make holidays cheaper the rest of the year.

It is a lot to do with entitlement of today's society in my opinion. If we can't afford something we just don't do it, we don't expect other companies to lower rates of things we want to do just because it is beyond our reach.

I never left the country till I was a teenager and my parents could afford the prices charged during school holidays.

Anotherusername1 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:54:10

I think putting all the INSET days in May is a great idea to give people two weeks off in May. But it could also be achieved by moving one week of the summer holidays to add to May half term and maybe another week to October half term (and maybe bring it forward to early October). The half terms would still be more expensive than term-time, but they'd be cheaper than the summer.

It was amusing a few years ago when Feb half term was staggered and the holiday companies didn't realise. One week was the usual really expensive, the other term-time prices! Did make me laugh (though not as good for the people in the county where the holiday was in the expected week).

SquirmOfEels Thu 07-Jan-16 11:55:23

I don't think I'd want to see holidays nationalised.

And if differentials were to be no more than 10%, that would mean much more expensive holidays, as the full price is the peak/near peak price. And non-school holiday discounts would therefore have to be be reduced.

It would have to be that way round as holidays are sold globally. Either that, or full price holidays could not be sold in UK at all.

x2boys Thu 07-Jan-16 11:56:49

My ds1 school already does this they get just over a week at easter so get two weeks to make up for it in may half term unfortunately ds2 has disabilities and goes to a special needs school and his school doesn't do it so we can't take advantage any more.

WinnieTheW0rm Thu 07-Jan-16 11:57:52

I think the idea of a two week autumn half term is a good one. That term is the longest, and has no Bank Holidays, and I think a bit more of a break would be. A good thing. It would also matter less in terms of border area date clashes, as it's pretty unlikely you wouldn't get one of the weeks overlapping.

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 12:03:54

The trouble with using the inset days, is that teachers need to work on them, which means any family where there is a teacher/TA is still at a disadvantage.

Also moving Oct half term earlier would mean a horrendously long run to Christmas, and they would all be exhausted.

But having 2 weeks in Oct works well as that term is so long

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