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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Plaid urges changes to school holidays

Plaid Cymru is proposing what it calls "the redistribution of school holidays to benefit students, families and teachers".

As parents begin to think ahead to the summer holiday, the Party of Wales' Shadow Education Minister has said that discussions need to be had to restructure the school year, and distribute holidays more evenly throughout the year.

He said that spreading school holidays over the year rather than having them in one large block over the summer would help to improve attainment levels in schools, and make it easier for working parents to take time off work when their children are on holiday.

Many experts have argued that children, particularly boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, find it difficult to retain information over a long break, and that shorter, more frequent breaks, could benefit them.

Mr Thomas said: “It’s time we look afresh at the school year. The current structure was set up in the Victorian times, and is not the most beneficial structure for children. Spreading school holidays over the year, rather than having them in one large block will help children retain information and help them in their studies. This is Plaid Cymru’s priority.

“Redistributing school holidays will also benefit working families by making it easier for working parents to arrange their holidays and childcare, which is particularly important in this economic climate. It will also help families who want to go abroad or go away chose more affordable times to do so.”

Mr Thomas argues that the changes could also enable families to holiday at more affordable times. He referenced a typical summer holiday for two adults and two children aged 8 and 10 Tenerife for one week, and explained that the same holiday was 41% more expensive during the school summer holidays than at other dates in the summer.

He added: “The school holidays are about giving families time together. By redistributing holidays throughout the year we are also helping to tackle the high cost of childcare, the excess cost of holidays, and are helping to raise standards across education.

“For that reason, the Education Minister should be holding talks with the education sector to discuss this matter.

“Plaid Cymru is committed to supporting working families, teachers, and pupils, and that’s why we will push for an overhaul of this archaic system to raise education standards.”

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