Stress would be less with a six-term year, say teachers

31 May 01
Four out of five head teachers back calls for a two-week school break in October to reduce stress among teachers and pupils, according to research by the Local Government Association.

01 June 2001

A longer break replacing the autumn half-term holiday would help reduce sickness and absence levels, they say.

Seven out of ten heads also want a fixed 'spring break' to replace the Easter holiday, irrespective of whether Easter falls within it. The commission's suggestion that examinations should be taken in April, so pupils can apply to university with real rather than predicted grades, was backed by seven out of ten heads.

These findings, published on June 1, are the result of an LGA consultation exercise. They follow its independent commission into the patterns of the school year, which published its initial conclusions last September. The LGA received 2,700 responses from heads, teachers, governors, parents and pupils.

The commission, headed by former MP Christopher Price, recommended moving to a six-term school year, with the final term reserved for cultural activities, and the summer holiday moved forward to run from the start of July to August.

Price welcomed the findings: 'I believe the results show we struck the correct balance.'

But the Board of Deputies of British Jews criticised the effects the proposals would have on the Jewish community. Marlena Schmool, its community issues director, said: 'Jewish children in non-Jewish schools will inevitably be disadvantaged if they have to miss or make alternative arrangements for examinations that fall during Passover.'


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