About term too

30th May 2008 at 01:00
It is interesting to note that the Institute for Public Policy Research, in its forthcoming report Thursday's Child, is about to recommend that schools adopt a five-term year
It is interesting to note that the Institute for Public Policy Research, in its forthcoming report Thursday's Child, is about to recommend that schools adopt a five-term year. This recommendation follows evidence that long breaks lead to learning loss and that the five-term calendar is more logical for pupils, parents and schools.

Ten years ago, a colleague and I at the University of Lincoln raised this debate on similar grounds.

In 1999, the then general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union famously commented that the change should be resisted because the long summer holiday was the "last perk" of the profession.

Then, in 2002, the Local Government Association invented the fiction of the six-term year, which was little more than the old system of six half-terms. Far from resolving the issue of uneven dates between schools and local authorities, this made matters worse - even resulting in one "term" that was less than three weeks long.

Hopefully, this time, there will be a more measured approach. Research suggests that such a change would be to everyone's advantage. But is there a Secretary of State for Education, currently or imminently, who has the bottle to ride out the initial criticism for the long-term benefit of all?

Trevor Kerry, Professor of education leadership, University of Lincoln.

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