Unbroken six weeks of freedom for pupils could soon be over, after the Department for Education announces that all schools are to get the power to set their own term dates.
The government’s deregulation bill removes the role of local authorities in fixing the dates of school terms and leaves the decision to school leaders and governors.
Academies, free schools and voluntary-aided and foundation schools already have the ability to set their teaching hours and term dates. Among those doing so is Boulevard academy in Hull, which plans to reduce its summer break to four weeks. Andy Grace, the headteacher, says the extra two weeks of school will help parents who struggle with childcare for the longer holiday.
The new legislation extends the freedom to all state-maintained schools as the education secretary, Micheal Gove pushes for a rewriting of state teachers’ terms and conditions through the independent School Teachers’ Review Body.
The change is due to take place from September 2015, affecting the 70% of state primary schools and 30% of state secondaries still under local authority control.
“It is heads and teachers who know their parents and pupils best, not local authorities. So it is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils,” a spokesman for the Department for Education said.