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Parents 'concerned about new term dates'

20/08/2013 Joanna
Parents are worried about the implications of new school term dates for their childcare arrangements. 

Schools in England may scrap the six-week summer holiday period thanks to government plans that will see learning centres given the freedom to set school holiday dates and durations.

Research by 4Children has found that 77 per cent of mums and dads are worried about how alterations in school terms will affect their families, especially those with kids in more than one school.

More than a third (34 per cent) of respondents said they would like school holidays to be split evenly throughout the year, while 38 per cent think this system is fine the way it is and should remain unchanged.

From this September, headteachers will also no longer be able to grant authorised absences during term time - unless it is an exceptional circumstance - and 44 per cent of parents admitted this change will affect them. 

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children - a national charity that has been in operation for 30 years - said: "School holidays are an essential time for children to rest, recharge their batteries and spend quality time with their family. 

"Whilst many working parents would breathe a sigh of relief at the demise of the six week summer break, which creates an immense childcare challenge, things could be set to get more unbearably complicated if different schools were to take different approaches."

She is calling on schools and teachers to consult with parents to come up with a calendar that suits all parties and thinks more childcare needs to be offered during the summer months. 

When the measure was unveiled in July, a spokesman for the Department of Education said the reason behind it is that heads and teachers - and not local authorities - are best placed to decide when school term dates should run. 

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801627158-ADNFCR
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