Friday, 19 April 2013
Should School Holidays Be Reduced?
Michael Gove wants to reduce the length of holidays in English schools. He has also suggested the school day could be extended and the combination would improve performance and make life easier for working parents.
English (and Scottish) school holidays seem on a par with many Europeans countries but would his proposals produce the results he desires?
In his statement he said the school system hd been designed for a 19th century agricultural economy and risked leaving British children trailing those in Asia. Children in Singapore seem to have slightly fewer holidays but similar formal teaching time, although the government does not stipulate operational hours for schools.
Of course Mr Gove's proposals will come to nothing. The teaching unions will see to that. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers responded to his proposals:
"Independent schools in England and Wales, which often break for two weeks more during the summer and have longer holidays at other times of the year than their state counterparts, do not apparently feel the need to change and are apparently not suffering from their reduced hours."
I found here comment rather interesting. Ms Blower usually does tend to use independent schools in a negative manner, but in this case she mentions them to support her statement that state school teachers work longer hours in the classroom than their independent school peers.
Michael Gove wants standards in state schools to improve. Ms Blower doesn't appear to see the anomaly in her remark. It's generally accepted most independent schools provide a higher quality of education than some state schools. If that wasn't the case then independent schools would be out of business. She appears to accept that private schools, even with longer holidays than state schools, continue to produce good quality education and she bases that upon class-teaching time.
We're all aware that independent schools offer a much wider education because class-teaching time is only part of a pupil's day. A great amount of work is done outwith the classroom and state schools are unable to provide this.
Will Michael Gove manage to push through his proposals? Of course not. The teaching unions will see to that.
I've put a wee poll in the sidebar as I think slightly shorter school holidays would help families by saving them even one week's school holiday childcare costs.