Naomi Crowley: Leave Christmas school holidays alone

Wrapped up for winter but plenty of fun can still be had. Picture: Getty
Wrapped up for winter but plenty of fun can still be had. Picture: Getty
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I think that most parents will find the proposal to make the Christmas school holiday shorter strange. One of the parents I spoke to said “cutting the Christmas break is madness” while another reaction was “what are they thinking of?”

The term from August leading up to Christmas, with only a week off in October, is incredibly long and really exhausting for the kids, the teachers and the parents. They all deserve a decent Christmas break to recover from the long term, Christmas festivities and all the colds that everyone picks up at that time of year. A lot of workplaces close down over the Christmas period, so working parents usually don’t have too much of a childcare problem with two weeks at this time.

For me, the idea of a longer summer break is quite appealing. Children need their summer breaks; they need to wind down, to use their imaginations, to think of things to do themselves. I really enjoy not having to get up early to take the kids to school; my kids love not getting up early and rushing out the door.

We live in a fantastic city with loads of things going on for kids of all ages. The summer programme of activities run by our neighbourhood partnership is fantastic and really inexpensive.

Edinburgh is a busy city in August with the Festival. I have often thought that it is a shame that the schools go back halfway through the Festival. It would be nice to have a bit longer to take in a bit more of the Festival atmosphere with the kids.

However, parents are divided over longer summer holidays. Most working parents I have spoken to about this proposal would not be happy with longer summer holidays. Finding childcare for a longer summer break could be very difficult and expensive for them. I am lucky that working freelance I can choose to not work in the holidays and can take time off. Not all parents have this flexibility.

If I was to put forward a proposal it would be this: keep the Christmas and summer breaks as they are. But let’s have two weeks off in October and replace the February break with a long weekend instead of a week.

Who wants a week off in February?

Naomi Crowley is a member of the Broughton High School parent council

Changed days

THE Christmas holiday would be cut to one-and-a-half weeks, with the summer break extended to seven under proposals being considered by education chiefs.

Changes to holidays in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 sessions have been mooted because of when Easter and Christmas fall in those years, and to make sure schools provide the mandatory number of teaching days.

Parents with concerns can express their views by contacting the city council. The e-mail address is schoolsandcommunityservices@edinburgh.gov.uk.