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Letters extra: The dodo has landed

After perhaps three years of prevarication, negotiation and consultation, the new arrangements for school terms arrived on my desk for 2004-2005. Six South-western local education authorities co-operated to produce not so much a damp squib as a total immersion job.

Yet hopes were so high. The new arrangements would address the issue of pre-Christmas fatigue,nbsp;rid the timetable of reliance on a moveable Easter,nbsp;help to solve the summer hiatus in secondary schools and, best of all,nbsp;unite term dates across the country.

On every single one of these counts, the new arrangements fail. The new six-term format is simply the old six half-terms with almost identical gaps in between each. As our school is within a stone's throw of the county boundaries with Oxfordshire, Warwickshrie and Worcestershire, none of whom are party to this agreement, regional fragmentation remains with all its irritants.

How ironic that a highly centralised government like ours which can determine the exact details of the curriclum, assessments, league tables and even class sizes, is either unwilling or unable to impose national dates for terms and holidays.

So afternbsp;three years the end product is almost identical to the existing arrangements. What a wasted opportunity.nbsp;The only consolation would seem to be that most decision-taking in education does not result in such futile, protracted, lily-livered appeasement. Long live the dodo!
R W Forster
headteacher
St David's School,
Moreton in Marsh,
Gloucestershirenbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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