Comment: ‘Long summer is a relic of a bygone age’

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it might seem like a dream result to your average teenager, a whole seven weeks off school over the summer.

But the reality of such a long break would be far from blissful for most working parents. The existing six-week holiday can be a test in itself, as many are forced to beg favours from friends and family to cover their childcare needs without breaking the bank. An extra week risks turning it in to an endurance test for thousands of families.

There is good reason to think that it might not be good for the children either. There is plenty of research to suggest that more frequent and shorter holidays are better for children’s learning.

The truth is that the long summer break is a relic of a bygone age when children were needed to work in the fields during the summer.

Now that those days are over, there are many who would argue that our school calendar is no longer fit for purpose. Shorter terms and more frequent breaks would keep the children and teachers fresher and ease the pressure on parents.

Now, any change from the status quo would need careful consideration, with full and detailed consultation with all involved.

But, in the meantime, there is enough evidence to suggest that an even longer summer break is a bad idea. Parents don’t like it and it does no favours for the children. The proposal should now be scrapped and alternative plans drawn up.

The promise of further consultation by the city council has got to be welcomed, especially liaising with neighbouring local authorities to ensure that we all stay in synch. If Edinburgh goes out of step with other local authorities that will only add to the headache for the huge number of parents who work in one local authority area and whose children attend school in another.

There must be a better way of drawing up the school calendar for the coming years.