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Home / Latest News / School summer holidays could be cut by one week

School summer holidays could be cut by one week

A proposal has been put forward to shorten the school summer holidays by one week to allow families a week’s break outside of peak times.

The aim is to help parents with the cost of holidays which tend to soar during the six-week period between July and September.

The school break would be be reduced to five weeks, freeing up a week to be taken at another time during the school year when holiday prices are cheaper.

The proposal is being considered by several councils around the UK.

And a meeting of Cardiff’s full council is to debate a similar plan this Thursday.

Cardiff council’s Liberal Democrat group, which has put forward the motion, said the “disproportionately expensive cost of holidays during the traditional school holiday period” prevented some parents from taking their children away.

It said: “Families want to observe designated school holiday periods, but… the excessive cost of taking breaks during these periods can prove prohibitive – meaning families often have to choose between taking no holiday at all, or taking pupils out of school during term-time.”

Several other local authorities around the UK are looking at the idea.

Barnsley council, in South Yorkshire, last month announced term dates for the 2017-18 academic year with a shorter summer break and a longer half-term in October.

The Lib Dems want Cardiff council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee to undertake a detailed analysis of the issue.

Gabalfa’s Lib Dem councillor Ed Bridges said: “It has never been more expensive for families to take a break during school holiday times.

“For many families, that means a choice is between having to take children out of school, missing vital learning time, or taking no holiday at all.

“Liberal Democrats in Cardiff think there could be a solution available if we tweak the school calendar, creating an extra week’s break outside of the existing peak holiday times.

“More needs to be done to investigate how it could work in practice, but I hope the other parties will support the motion so that it can at least be looked into.”

School holidays are a contentious issue and former Education Minister Huw Lewis was this year force to clarify whether parents could take their children out of school during term-time.

He said that head teachers had the power to let parents take their children on holiday – but for no longer than 10 days.

Jetting off on a break from South Wales during the school holidays can cost up to 800 more, new data unit figures show.
Jetting off on a break from South Wales during the school holidays can cost up to £800 more, new data unit figures show.

Mr Lewis said he was concerned that some local authorities and education consortia were saying heads should refuse all requests for term-time absence.

A survey published this month by the Let Children in Wales Have a Family Holiday During Term Time campaign group found that only 39% of parents in Wales were able to request absence during term-time.

Campaigner leader Bethany Walpole-Wroe said: “We are deeply disappointed that schools and councils across Wales are still enforcing blanket bans despite the minister’s insistence that this is not acceptable.

“The head teacher is the only one who can make an informed and sensible decision as to whether or not an absence request is appropriate and blanket bans simply do not take into account the multitude of reasons for parents to request absence during term-time.”

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