Brighton & Hove term-time holiday proposal set to move forward
A new week’s school holiday during term-time may be introduced in Brighton & Hove on a trial basis during the academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The new holiday would be created by saving five days from existing holiday periods.
Brighton & Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee on Monday 6 June is being asked to agree to a formal consultation process on whether the new week of holiday in 2017-18 should be on the week commencing:
- Monday 16 October 2017;
- Monday 20 November 2017; or
- Monday 5 March 2018.
During informal consultation carried out by the council during March and April 59% of the more than 1,500 respondents said they would like to see a new week’s holiday created outside the traditional pattern of school holidays.
The cost of holidays taken in the school holidays is higher than the equivalent holiday in term time. A stand-alone week’s holiday during term time could allow parents to buy a cheaper holiday or family trip without taking their child out of school.
Creating a stand-alone holiday during the summer term has been ruled out due to concerns expressed by the education community that this would cause too much disruption to vital exams and revision.
The consultation also looked at a proposal for the council to ask schools to coordinate their five INSET days per year to create the extra week’s holiday.
This has been ruled out following strong feedback from schools that this could make staff training and school improvement less effective. They also wished to retain the flexibility to react to new regulations and curriculum changes that occur during the academic year.
The council has no powers to force schools to select or coordinate INSET dates.
If the proposal is approved by the committee, formal consultation on the three options for term dates during the academic year 2017-18 will run from 7-28 June 2016.
The chair of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Tom Bewick, said: “The new term-time holiday could offer lower-income families in particular the chance to take holidays and excursions that might be unaffordable during the traditional pattern of school holidays.
“It should also help to address the issue of parents taking their children out of school during term time for an unauthorised holiday.
“Our consultation has shown that the idea of a week’s holiday outside the traditional pattern of the school year is popular with residents.
“This proposal shows that we have listened to parental feedback about how to make the current pattern of term time holidays more flexible.
“It’s an exciting and creative step forward that could benefit thousands of local families.”
The council sets the academic year dates for community, voluntary controlled and community special schools in the city. For foundation and voluntary aided schools this is done by the school’s governing body.
For academies and free schools it is done by the trust that runs the school. All state schools in the city currently follow the council’s academic year, but the academies and free schools are under no obligation to do so in future.