Teachers call public meeting over changes to school holidays in Barnsley

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A public meeting is to be held over plans to shorten the school summer break in Barnsley.

Barnsley Council has announced it plans to reduce the summer break next year to five weeks, claiming that pupils experience ‘learning loss’ from long holidays.

But the National Union of Teachers is opposed to the changes.

It claims most of the research based around extended school holidays was carried out in the US, where schools have up to 12 weeks off.

Barnsley NUT secretary, Roy Bowser, said: “These changes will not apply to all schools, as Academy schools in Barnsley will be able to retain the existing arrangements.

"The effect of this will be to cause chaos for parents, especially those who have children at different schools having different holidays at different times.

“School holidays are an important part of childhood and play an important part in learning. Children need time to re-charge their batteries, play and spend time with their families.

"Schools in Britain have shorter summer holidays than many other countries. The summer break is eight weeks long in Belgium, France and Norway; nine weeks in Canada; 10 weeks in Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Poland and Sweden; 11 weeks in Iceland and 12 weeks in the USA.

"Private schools in the UK have longer summer holidays yet, there is no suggestion that this is disadvantageous for their pupils.

The meeting is to be held at Priory Campus, Pontefract Road, Lundwood, Barnsley, at 5pm on Tuesday, June 14.