A six-term school year that replaces Easter holidays with a fixed spring break is backed by almost two-thirds of the population, according to a Local Government Association survey.
Under plans drawn up last year by an independent commission, schools would also break up for two weeks in October. Exams would be moved forward to allow pupils to make applications to university based on actual rather than predicted results. The move faces fierce opposition from church leaders. We asked delegates at the NAHT's conference in Harrogate what they thought: Kay Rosie, head of Nevill Road infant school in Stockport said: "I love it and it's long overdue. You can still have Bank holidays for Easter. You can teach more about the religion by being in school. The sooner we have fixed terms the better. Children and teachers are exhausted by the long terms that occur."
Jane Walton, deputy head of Belle Vue infant school in Aldershot, Hampshire, is a church-goer, and said people oftenoverlooked the important build-up to Easter. But she added: "I don't mind as long as we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off. But they need a consultation. Easter is more important than Christmas."
Heather Guy, deputy head of Whitchurch high school in Cardiff, said:
"Having terms of equal numbers of weeks has to be an advantage for planning purposes. After Easter, you can sometimes end up with a short half-term before Whitsun which puts a lot of pressure on preparation for exams."
Nick Jones, head of Highfield primary, Birmingham, was in favour of the last half term being after the hay fever season, and national tests. "I like the idea of a six to eight week block - it's easier on both the teachers and the pupils."
Nadia Dawson, head of Osgodby primary school in Market Rasen, Lincoln, said: "You won't have stupid things like last year, when we had three and seven-week half-terms because of the Easter holiday.
Jon Slater and Karen Thornton