Summer Holidays Should Be Shortened
The Government's poverty adviser has suggested that summer holidays for schools should be shortened, instead having four or five terms with short breaks between them. According to Frank Field, disadvantaged children who don't receive enough support at home cannot catch up after such a long break, and poor families can't afford childcare while they are working. However, the UK already has the shortest school holidays in Europe, children look forward to and love their holidays and they benefit from the rest.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Students fall behind.
Students need to constantly refresh their memories by going over their work. A long study break will cause them to forget what they have been learning, slip away from study habits and become languid from so much time not working. This applies especially to students who find school difficult, who need the extra support that they can't find outside school, where there are people trained to help them, and who can't concentrate well even when they're in an environment designed for studying.
Not all students fall behind, if exam results are higher each year, most students must not be falling behind, shortening school holidays would be a ridiculously complex process just to give a small minority an advantage. What about students who enjoy independent study better?
It causes parents more stress.
Parents who work full time don't always have the resources for proper childcare when their children are free from school. They also can't always arrange for good activities for their children to keep them busy during the long break, and might not be able to help them study to catch up with work. Shorter breaks mean that a school can still keep the building open for children who need somewhere to be during the holidays.
advantages of some of the study being in Summer
Children would much rather do P.E. in Summer, when they don't have to run around in the cold wearing shorts, and subjects that involve intensive studying could be done in winter when children don't feel as bad about being stuck inside. Also, the summer holidays are in a period where there are few other seasonal events in the UK, such as Christmas and Halloween, so they would be the most productive time to get work done with fewer interruptions. Exams could be shifted away from Easter so students can enjoy Easter without worrying about exams.
No sudden dramatic routine changes.
Changing from a very ordered, almost institutionalised life where everything is timetabled, to complete freedom, often with nothing to do, is extremely stressful. It can lead to irregular eating and sleeping and little motivation to do any activities, where children are used to everything being compulsory and can't self-motivate very well. Smaller breaks need to be planned out better, because otherwise you mistime it and come back late. The smaller breaks also mean more regular breaks, so children become more used to free time.
Teachers can plan their lessons more easily.
Teachers spent quite a lot of the holidays planning lessons. Because the school will not completely close, they can use their offices, likely to be better work environments, and will be able to plan better when they are in the context. They will also be able to plan shorter sections at a time, rather than trying to plan so far ahead they can't properly envisage it.
With a longer summer teachers can plan a lesson to go more smoothely. Then a chaotic lesson on a day that you only have one day to plan the lesson.
Closer to a work timetable.
To put students in an environment where they have periodic breaks of six weeks or more does not prepare them for the world of work.
There are many kind of work routines apart from 9 to 5 office job - temporary work, shift work, commission work etc. Nobody can prepare students for any kind of work environment.
The knock-on effect on University timetables.
Large breaks for University students mean that towns with Universities go completely dead over the summer holidays. This gives local businesses a sudden drop in customers and leaves nothing for local students to do. As the University generally contains all the facilities students need, if it was still open and the breaks were shorter, there would still be a lot of local students and international students who can't go home, who want to still use University facilities.
University and school breaks probably shouldn't be at the same times anyway, children and students don't mix that well. Children travel around in large groups and get in everyone's way, and are always accompanied by stressed, shouting people, while students get too drunk and irresponsible around children.
Effect on children's morale.
Children love the summer holidays, they look forward to them with great anticipation. To shorten the holiday would make them resentful, remove their incentive to work during the term and most importantly, take away one of the increasingly fewer opportunities for children to just relax, play and be children.
Not all children love the holidays. Some of them hate the change in routine, don't have enough to do during the holiday, feel unsafe outside the school because their home situation isn't good, or just genuinely enjoy some aspect of school.
Also, the fact that children can't wait to get out of school is surely a problem that needs addressing. School isn't prison, children shouldn't see it as a thing they need to escape from. Why can't they relax and have a good time at school, say by having enough regular breaks and more things to do in the breaks?
children need the rest
Pupils study long hours at school and have to spend evenings and weekends doing homework and revision as well. They deserve the break. Children need a lot more rest than adults anyway, so they need the long breaks in order to be fully recharged and work at optimum.
In the system with shorter holidays, the terms would be shorter, so smaller rests would be needed.
What do you think?