Should school holidays be set at national level?

16th March 2007 at 00:00
I am writing as a teacher and a parent about the growing incompatibility of school holidays between adjacent local authorities in the North East.

Until last year, Aberdeenshire and Angus holidays coincided in all but one week in October. This harmonious arrangement allowed many teachers and other school-based colleagues to live in one region and work in the other, knowing they could spend their holidays with their children.

It is with disbelief that I and many similarly affected colleagues have viewed the proposed academic calendars for next session. As things stand, there will be six weeks when educational professionals will be denied holiday time with their families. Easter and October breaks fall on different fortnights in each authority.

I am not sure if this is an extreme example of a failure of adjacent authorities to communicate, or symptomatic of a more widespread problem? If the former, then those who have the power to affect positive change should reach a resolution through dialogue. If such lack of joined-up local government is the norm across Scotland, perhaps Holyrood's hand is needed to let common sense prevail. Has the time come for school holidays to be set at national level?

Hamish Keddie

Auchenblae, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire

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