London

London 2012: Schools break up early for Olympics

Schools in east London are breaking up for the summer - two weeks earlier than planned - because of the Olympics, with a local council claiming the Games will cause disruption.

Schools in Newham closed on Friday.

There was a mixed reaction to the move. Some pupils told the BBC they were delighted but teaching unions claimed a lot of ground is covered in two weeks.

Newham Council said schools had the same number of school days as others but it was designed to suit the Games.

Teaching unions raised concerns over their education and claim it will disrupt education and put extra pressure on staff.

'Training venues'

Headteacher of Sarah Bonnell School Sarah Jacobs said: "I think it puts a lot of pressure on people but I do think that given that the Olympics are not going to be very far from the school and there are going to be traffic restrictions, etc. that it is probably a good decision."

A Newham Council spokesperson said by law the school year must have 190 days and keeping in mind the possible disruptions the school year was structured differently.

She added: "Information available about the Olympic Route Network (ORN) two years ago led to concerns school staff, many of whom live outside Newham, would be unable to arrive at school on time from 16 July onwards.

"In addition it was clear that some Newham schools could become Olympic training venues.

"A decision was made to distribute the school year slightly differently shortening other school holidays so young people in Newham will not lose out.

"Although the school term ends on Friday, 13 July, all youngsters in Newham will have spent the full 190 days in school in line with their peers elsewhere in London and across the country, so Newham pupils will not have any additional holiday days."

The council added that closing early will allow the students in the host borough to enjoy and be inspired by the various events.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "It's rightly down to schools and local authorities to decide their own term dates and holidays, not government."

Schools in Newham were originally due to break up on 26 July. Schools in most London boroughs are due to break up earlier that week.

The Games begin on 27 July.

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