Teachers fight to keep long holiday

TEACHERS VOWED yesterday to fight to protect their traditional long summer holiday. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said the six-week summer break was their "last perk" and threatened to boycott radical plans being drawn up in some areas to introduce a five-term school year.

Local authority leaders are developing proposals to revamp the centuries- old school year, familiar to generations of schoolchildren. East Sussex, Essex and Newham councils are canvassing parents and education workers on proposals for a five-term year, and similar plans are being considered across London.

Under the proposals, the traditional Christmas, spring and summer terms would be scrapped and replaced with five equal-length terms. Half-term holidays would be abolished and the current six-week summer break would be cut to four weeks. Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the NASUWT, told the annual conference in Eastbourne that staff might react by simply turning up for their traditional three-term year, if the reforms went ahead.

"The last perk of the teaching profession is the long summer holiday and they had better keep it," he said. "Teachers need it and the kids need it as much. It's absolute nonsense to think that children will forget things during the summer. If they cannot remember for five weeks, what is education worth?

"It is only happening locally because they realise that if they came up-front with a straightforward proposal to shorten teachers' holidays, they would be faced with revolt." Critics of the traditional year argue that it is based largely on the needs of harvest-time, and say children lose out because of the lengthy annual gap in their schooling. Graham Lane, education chairman of the Local Government Association, said there was no evidence that a long summer break benefited either pupils or their teachers.

He said: "The idea that you need six weeks of summer holiday to recover is interesting when you compare it with every other job in the country. There is no evidence they need a long summer holiday - if holidays were more spread out, teachers would have less stress. We have to consider what is best for the children."

Delegates unanimously backed a motion calling on teachers to oppose any change to the school year. They also attacked any move to extend the length of the working year. The conference was told changes to holiday patterns would play havoc with families' plans and require a wholesale rethink of teaching.

Ian Draper, of the union's national executive, said: "Much of the work we do in schools is devised around a three-term year or six half-term blocks. This is going to drive a coach and horses through it."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border