It would be easy for this debate to be hijacked by the arguments for and against the long summer break. There is also the long summer term to consider and it could be argued that the present system pressurises teachers by creating peak periods of work. But the major argument for at least considering an alternative is that of "learning loss" - among the pupils, that is. As Brian Toner notes in his column opposite, the start of the August term is spent on revision and catching up.
The Scottish Executive, in its response to the education debate, committed Ministers to review the length of the school day. That would provide a perfect opportunity for reconsidering the structure of the school year as well.