Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Teachers Slam Six-Term Years

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Teachers Slam Six-Term Years

Article excerpt

Controversial plans to change the school year from three to six terms have been condemned by teachers.

They say the moves to change the school year will cause chaos and confusion, with parents coming off worst.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is so against the proposals that it has threatened to strike in areas that make the switch next year.

Two thirds of London's 33 LEAs are in favour of switching to the six-term school year as are others in the West Midlands and the South West. But education bosses in the North East are still discussing the plans.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) supports a six-term year and last November representatives of all 150 LEAs voted to back the move.

Now it has been left up to individual LEAs to decide whether they want to introduce a six-term year in September 2005.

NASUWT deputy general secretary Chris Keates said that if authorities introduced it piecemeal, it would cause "total confusion and chaos".

Parents with children at schools in different local authorities would be particularly affected if there was even less co-ordination between term times than there is now, especially if they worked and relied on childcarers, she said.

An LGA commission that reported in 2000, headed by former Labour MP Chris Price, proposed a two-week holiday in the middle of what is now the autumn term.

After the Christmas holiday, there would be four terms, each six weeks in length, with a fixed two-week spring break, regardless of where Easter fell.

The summer holidays would still be six weeks long, a perk that is fiercely guarded by teachers, but they would start and end earlier.

The advantages of a six-term year include the fact that A-levels and GCSEs would be taken in April and May, before the onset of the hayfever high season.

Also, students would be able to apply to university on the basis of their actual, instead of predicted, A-level grades because there would be a longer gap between the exams being marked and the start of the university year. …

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