What are teachers saying about the proposed changes to the school holidays?

Here are some of the comments made by our members about the proposal to change the school holidays in Barnsley:

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“Leave the long Summer holiday as it is or 1 week extra at Spring Bank. I used to work at a school that still does this. It means teachers have an extra week doing their report writing!!!! ” 28.11.16

“How will making October half term longer help with cheaper holidays?  Most holiday destinations have either come to the end of the season and are shut or are too cold to bother. Destinations that are still warm and open in October/November are still really expensive because they are much further away. And what about those who don’t go abroad for their family holiday? The last 2 weeks in July are always the best weather of the holidays. A lot of teachers rely on this for the sake of their mental health!

Have you ever tried teaching children in July? Both children and teachers are tired, they’ve had enough and need a break, making them go an extra 2 weeks will have a negative impact not a positive one.”

Emailed comment:

“I have done the online survey but feel somewhat disempowered due to the fact that there is not option to state an alternative proposal. I had to put long summer holiday (option 2), however, I would be in favour of a two week break in the May/June period and a reduction of the summer holidays by a week – unfortunately there was no option to state this……not really a full consultation!!”

“People will end up with different holidays to their children. Staff already have some different holidays to their children, this will make it worse. We could have three different holidays’ times in our house because of the school I work at, the school my wife works at and the school my children attend all being different. I would quite like to spend time with my children!” Secondary Teacher

“Where’s the learning loss come from? Scandinavian schools have longer holidays and shorter days and they do better than we do. This feels like change for changes sake.” Secondary Teacher

“Two weeks at October would be awful for the youngest children who have just started school. No one is asking the children what they want. Two weeks in October is totally the wrong time for settling younger children in. It will be like starting again.” Infant teacher

“How are we going to adequately prepare children for examinations if we lose a week in October! It’s much better to have the week after the examinations in May and June.” Secondary Teacher

“5000 families currently rely on food banks in Barnsley, they won’t care about cheaper holidays in October but they will care about the increased costs of heating their homes at this time of year.” Primary Teacher

“All 8 NUT members that were present at our meeting agree that we should stick to the current holiday system. We all agree that if the proposal was for the summer holiday to be reduced by a week with an additional week given at spring bank then this is an option that we would go with. October is the wrong time of year to have a two week holiday. As a single parent with a 3 year old it was a long enough holiday this October half term trying to keep my daughter entertained whilst the weather was cold and wet. A lot of places that provide entertainment are closed over the winter months and those that are still open are ridiculously busy due to all parents struggling to try and entertain their children. I wonder if this proposal is to save the council on heating bills??!!

Our concern with a fixed Easter holiday is that when the bank holiday falls outside of the fixed Easter holiday would we then lose to 2 from another holiday? Again this is something that we do not agree with.

I have talked to the support staff, office staff etc and out of the 32 people asked (including the 8 NUT members) there is only 1 person that went for the extra week at October half term. Everyone else wants to keep the summer as it is or have an additional 2 weeks at spring bank. Surely this says a lot!” Primary Teacher

“Thank you for E-mailing me about this issue. I’ve just got a permanent contract in Wakefield and it would cause me great difficulty if they choose to alter the holidays as I would not always be off when my daughter was off. Also if I went for a post in Barnsley I would have to be careful as not all schools would do this. Not very well thought out by the council. Would cause a lot of problems for parents and teachers alike. U could teach in one school and your children go to another but have different holidays for some of them. Not good news.

Already I think next February’s half term does not match – Barnsley and Wakefield. Let’s hope that LEA s work together so holidays match.

Jackie Tarry”

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2 thoughts on “What are teachers saying about the proposed changes to the school holidays?

  1. I work in Barnsley but my 3 children attend schools in Sheffield where we live. Changing the school holidays in Barnsley will mean I spend less of my holiday time with my children. I made a choice to teach, and sharing my holidays with my children was part of that choice.
    In addition, I will have to incur significant extra childcare costs for the weeks I will work when my children have their Sheffield school holidays.

    The Barnsley online questionnaire was not a consultation, it was a hoop jumping exercise to enable the LA to say they have consulted. The questions were poor and they were unable to collect substantive evidence to make an informed decision.

    1. Thank you for your comment, we did raise concerns with Councillor Tim Cheetham about the consultation process and he agreed to extend the consultation period if necessary and he will attend our AGM to speak with members.

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