Time shift is the way of the future
"It breaks up the academic year into five manageable chunks and we think it has improved the quality of learning," said Mr Cotterell, vice-principal of Homewood school in Tenterden, Kent.
A summer holiday of just four, sometimes five, weeks reduces learning loss,and two-week breaks in October and February give staff and students a chance to recharge their batteries, he said.
Before adopting for the five-term year Homewood looked at other options, including a six-term model. But a five-term year was considered more suitable.
The new school year was introduced with other changes, including a new assessment and reporting system that means students at this foundation school get a report at the end of each eight-week term. They also start new courses immediately after the break between terms 4 and 5 in June. So rather than waiting until September, Year 9 students, for example, start studying for GCSEs a few weeks after finishing Sats.
William Cotterell admits that the school'sholiday patterns can be a problem for parents with children at both Homewood and other schools, as well as for staff with school-age children. But he said: "I know of no teacher who has left because of the five-term year."