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News - 20 August 2013

Schools to set their own term dates

The government wants to let all state schools in England decide their own terms and holidays from September 2015. Under the plan, local councils would no longer be able to set school terms.

The results of a survey carried out for the charity 4Children, involved 1,190 parents and had 77% of them issuing grave concerns about such a scheme which would be severely exacerbated where children in one family attended different schools with different term dates.
According to the survey, many parents fear schools may change their holidays so they no longer coincide with neighbouring schools.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Academies and free-schools already have this power, but changes in the Deregulation Bill will pave the way for individual schools to change the timing and duration of terms and holidays, perhaps even to reduce the total amount of school holiday from the current 13 weeks a year.”

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said things could get "unbearably complicated if different schools were to take different approaches".

Asked if their children's school was going to change their school holidays, what changes they would prefer, 33.8% of parents wanted to spread holidays more evenly throughout the year and 11.3% wanted shorter school holidays.

Just over 13% wanted a longer Christmas break and a shorter summer holiday, while 3% would prefer a longer Easter break.

Some 38.2% said they thought the current arrangement was fine.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "It is fantastic to see in this survey that more than 60% of parents want schools to use their new freedoms to change term dates.

"Head teachers know their pupils and parents best and we trust them to respond to parents' views."

If you need any help and advice with Free School or Academy Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail:

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