Lincolnshire

Gainsborough schools abandon shorter summer break policy

White's Wood Academy Image copyright Google
Image caption The academy group said it had not seen any significant improvement, and had actually seen a rise in absences

An academy group of schools that introduced shorter summer holidays has abandoned the idea after experiencing a rise in absences.

Changing term dates was meant to help staff, reduce stress levels and allow families to book cheaper holidays.

Sue Wilson, executive head of Tall Oaks Academy Trust in Gainsborough, said the schools in its group had not reported any significant improvement though.

The local authority said coordinating term dates between schools was vital.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Changing the term dates was meant to make it more affordable to take children on holiday outside of peak summer holiday times

Mrs Wilson said the changes had given rise to a number of problems, including a small increase in absences at the three schools in the group - White's Wood Academy, Mercer's Wood Academy and Castle Wood Academy.

"Parents found it really difficult if they had children in other schools to get the family together all at the same time," she said.

Parents still took their children out of school when their other children were on holiday, she added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The academy group said the changes made holiday planning difficult for parents with children at other schools

Other issues included problems with securing supplies of free milk and fruit during the period when other schools were closed.

It also meant that new joiners from other schools had a much reduced summer holiday when joining the academy schools after the summer.

Mrs Wilson said the vast majority of parents had wanted to return to traditional local authority term dates.

However, Gavin Booth, who is in charge of education strategy at Lincolnshire County Council, said the idea of a shorter summer break was not without merit.

He said: "I don't think it is definitely doomed to failure but for families in particularly the coordination between schools is a crucial factor.

He said every child needed to be in school for 190 days per year, and it was worth trying different models to see what worked best.

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