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Holiday rethink

Section:  Annan and Eskdale, Dumfries and West, Lockerbie and Lochmaben, Moffat  | Tags: , , ,

SHORTER summer holidays could be on the cards for the region’s pupils and teachers.

A consultation has been launched to look at school holidays and terms for 2019-2022.

And Dumfries and Galloway Council are suggesting radical changes, including cutting the summer break back to four weeks in July. The knock on effect would mean extending the Easter holidays to three weeks and also closing schools for three weeks at Christmas.

Workshops are taking place with parent council representatives this week and next in Lockerbie, Dumfries, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas. Participants are being invited to give feedback on different options and will be asked to consider the amount of time children spend away for learning, exams, absence statistics, exclusion data and raising attainment. Questionnaires are also going to be circulated and the aim is to have the new session dates agreed by May.

In a letter to parent councils, schools manager John Thin said: “The shape of the school year and the pattern of holidays are for individual councils to determine. “Although it may seem straightforward, there is limited flexibility available within a school year. We want to be sure that the way we organise the school year is meeting the needs of all concerned – above all, we want to be sure that it helps, not hinders, the learning of children and young people.”

Meanwhile, council officials this week explained that by law there must be 190 teaching days in every academic year, as well as five Inset days. There is currently a two week break in October, the spring holiday encompasses the first two weeks of April and the school year generally finishes by the end of June. Any changes would have to be agreed with teaching unions and ratified by councillors.

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