Long summer holiday set to stay as Norfolk heads vote to keep current school year

Brian Conway, headteacher of Notre Dame High School in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Brian Conway, headteacher of Notre Dame High School in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Parents are being asked their views on retaining the long summer holiday and one-week half terms.

Alternative options, which have included the introduction of a five-term school year and a much shorter summer holiday, have been rejected by Norfolk headteachers.

The discussions about the shape of the school calendar from 2016 onwards were prompted by government plans to give all schools the power to set their own term dates, partly to reduce the cost of family holidays during breaks.

However, the leaders of Norfolk primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges, have been in talks since 2013 to try to agree a common approach, to avoid parents facing a free-for-all, with children at different schools having different term dates.

In a consultation of Norfolk heads held this term, 55pc preferred the East Region Model, which most closely resembles the current school year, and would be adopted across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. 5pc said they preferred to set their own calendar.

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Brian Conway, chairman of the Norfolk Secondary Education Leaders group, said: 'I suspect it's one that will fit very well with those interested in tourism, because it retains the longer holiday.

'It's been a full consultation that's allowed everyone to have their thoughts, and at the end of this we will be in a strong position with a calendar agreed not just for Norfolk, but across the eastern region, so if they live close to the border they will not have to vary things too much.'

Individual schools can still set their own term dates, but would have to carry out their own consultation to do so.

The public consultation on the Eastern Region Model runs until March 31.

Click here to take part in the consultation.

What do you think? email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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