Posted: September 13, 2010 in Education, Personal
Tags: , ,

Little bit late to the party here; the recent discussion about the idea of doing away with the massive summer holidays and splitting the year into five terms with shorter but equal holidays in between.

I’m… divided. I’ve seen the studies that found that lower-class children are losing out due to the long holidays, and my mother substantiates this with her experience as a primary school reading teacher. I realise that that’s a problem.

But I also think that school structures are badly set up for working in the summer. My GCSE maths, history, English and RS classrooms were ovens in September, June and July. The windows couldn’t be opened while the type of blind that offers decent shade was down, so we’d have to choose between sunburn with slight breeze or a fuggy, dark hell; and also, if the windows were open and the thick blinds weren’t down, the light would stop us seeing the boards. The windows covered one wall, and the door couldn’t be opened because of noise from the rest of the school. We’d sit there listlessly, unable to concentrate, sweating and wilting. Not a good learning environment. Year nine IT was even worse because the computers gave off heat. And this was in a school that was virtually in a park, and had a lot of big old trees hanging around the place.

Also, summer holidays can be beneficial. For me, they’ve always been a time to recharge, to build my defences back up, to read a lot and write and be creative, to recover from the pressures of school life; and that’s something that shorter holidays struggle with.

To me, it seems a shame that we can’t focus on making the summer holidays beneficial for all rather than just getting rid of them altogether.


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