Monday, 5 April 2010

School Standards

Funny time of year Easter. For one thing it is the ultimate in moveable feasts. I once found out how it was calculated but decided that calculating Pi to 3 thousand decimal places would be less complicated. Apparently it's to do with the first Sunday after the third full moon of the year except in years divisible by 17.36 unless Cadbury's have made a loss in the first quarter of the financial year. Or something like that.

Of course, Easter is the term break for schools so we now know we are going into the summer term after this two week holiday. There are some schools who don't have two weeks at Easter. To take into account religious considerations there are plenty of schools that only broke up half way through last week.

Last year, because of the way Easter fell, the terms were extremely strange. When Easter falls early, the Spring term can be 8 - 10 weeks while the Summer term could be 14 - 16 weeks long. Obviously a later Easter could have the opposit effect.

So next year, all the local authorities in my area have decided to standardise the school year. The main impact being that the only guarenteed days off at Easter would be the bank holidays. The two week term break holidays would be the first two weeks in April and the half term breaks would also be standardised.

Seems like a good idea in theory. The pupils won't be over stretching themselves in a long term. However, it can cause problems. I am a governor at my children's school and being chair of the pastoral committee, I was instrumental in planning next years school term dates. Next year, Easter falls entirely outside the two week holiday so to meet the standard year we need to use 10 days for the holiday and have the two bank holidays as well. Sounds great doesn't it. But from a parents point of view, it potentially means having to sort out childcare for an extra two days during the term break rather than being able to make use of the bank holidays which now fall elsewhere. Also, a common tradition in these here parts was the practice of taking two weeks holiday at the whit half term break. The weather is usually better than Easter and of course the second week is usually cheaper to book a holiday for. Well next year that has gone for a burton. Two days have had to be moved to the term break and with local elections closing the school at other times, it has been difficult to fix that particular tradition.

On the plus side, if the rest of the country are sticking to the easter holidays for their term break holiday then, the costs for those parents wanting to go away in the first two weeks of April should be discounted. Unless of course our local travel agents cotton on to that fact. What's the betting on that?

And when do I get to eat all my chocolate?

1 comment:

  1. My LA went for the separate hols from Easter a few years ago. I have to say it felt very starnge not having a focus for the holiday. It was also a nightmare with attendance because we had the Easter break, then the holiday then after a week or so, the May break. We didn't get the chance to get back in gear & children were very erratic with attendance. Staff found it unsettling as well.