Kent councillor calls for October half term to be extended to two weeks

A county councillor is calling for October half term to be extended to two weeks.

Cllr Dr Lauren Sullivan (Lab) - a chemistry teacher - suggested adding a week to the break would lessen the workload for teachers and pupils.

It comes as Kent County Council announced the proposed school term timetables for 2020/21 and 2021/22.

KCC has been discussing the next round of term dates
KCC has been discussing the next round of term dates

Parents, governors and teachers were consulted on the proposed dates, raising concerns that the first term in 2020 is longer than usual.

Both school years are set to begin on September 1 and end on December 17 or 18, with half term the week of Halloween.

Cllr Sullivan suggested having a two-week break would also help disadvantaged parents spend time with their children without taking them out of school.

At the Children's, Young People and Education cabinet committee, she said: "There are families that cannot afford to go away full stop and have to go away during term times.

"If only Kent had an extra week, those prices would drop ridiculously.

"Holidays are a huge part of family life and if our disadvantaged families cannot take them and are forced to take them during term time that's not good for anybody."

Would a two-week half term in October help more families take a holiday?
Would a two-week half term in October help more families take a holiday?

However, KCC's area education officer David Adams told the committee that academies are following the same tactic by changing term dates.

He said: "The challenge that we have it is in the interest of some schools, now we have a significant number with their own admissions authorities, to set term timetables that don't fit with ours.

"What people try to do is to set term dates outside of the norm so families can go away and have cheap holidays.

"So it becomes a circle you just keep going round.

"Whilst we might determine two weeks in the autumn, there would be nothing to stop the other schools saying we will have a week there and two weeks in spring."

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