State schools will be allowed to set their own school holidays, Department for Education announces

Plans come as part of move to give state schools greater autonomy

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The Independent Online

The Government has announced plans to allow state schools across the country to decide their own term dates, as part of plans to create more autonomy. 

The flexibility that academies and free schools already have over when to set school holidays will be offered to traditional primary schools and comprehensives, to put control in the hands of the “heads and teachers who know their parents and pupils best,” the Department for Education has announced .

The decision could mean that state schools abandon the six week holiday children in primary and secondary state schools have annually before moving up to the next year group.

Head teachers stressed that local schools would come together to agree common holidays for families who have children at different schools.

These plans, which have been published in the draft Deregulation Bill produced by Ken Clarke, Minister without Portfolio, and Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy, would change the control local authorities have over school terms. Once the proposals come into effect, local schools would no longer have to accept the school term dates set by their local authority.

However, schools would still have to operate within the legal minimum of 190 days a year spent at school.

“It is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils,” said a spokesman for the Department for Education told the BBC.

The DoE provided examples of how schools would split the holidays, such as The Boulevard Academy in Hull's decision to cut their six week break down to four weeks.

The draft bill, designed to reduce "unnecessary bureaucracy", is now being scrutinised by MPs and peers.