UK & US

School summer break ‘should be shorter’ – poll

More than 40% of Britons think school summer holidays should be shorter, according to the results of a Sky Data poll.

When asked about the duration of the annual break, which goes on for about six weeks from July to September, 43% of people said it was time to reduce it.

Just 11% thought it should be made even longer, while 39% said no change was necessary.

It comes as the debate about whether it is finally time to reduce the holiday period gains momentum, with some areas trialling spreading school holidays more evenly throughout the year.

Many working parents rely on youth centres and other venues to look after their children during the break
Image: Many working parents rely on youth centres and other venues to look after their children during the break

Those in favour of change also argue that such a long time off school sets pupils' learning back, but Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, told Sky News she thinks the six-week holiday remains "very beneficial" as a way for children to "reset" after the busy academic year.

"I think there's a real role here for schools, not teachers, to open their doors to community groups and others to provide activities and to provide meals during the holidays," she said.

"If we could do that at an affordable rate, then it would offer the parents the support and peace of mind they need to be able to work."

Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield thinks the summer break is of suitable length
Image: Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield thinks the summer break is of suitable length

But for many families, the end of the summer holiday has been a long time coming.

It often means paying for costly activities, juggling work and childcare and coping with bored children.

Mother-of-two Kamila Rataj works full-time in Manchester and says the holiday has "a massive impact" on her family.

"Six weeks holiday is really long for working mums so myself and my husband have to juggle childcare," she said.

"Very often I have to work long evenings so he can look after the children in the day, so if the school holidays were shorter it would be very helpful for us."

Kamila Rataj says she would appreciate a shorter school summer holiday
Image: Kamila Rataj says she would appreciate a shorter school summer holiday

At Manchester Youth Zone in Harpurhey, they understand the importance of keeping things cheap.

The council ward is one of the most deprived in the country and many families struggle to feed their children when they are not receiving free school meals.

As a result, sessions are just 50p and cooked meals are available for only £1.

Children play with Lego at Manchester Youth Zone in Harpurhey
Image: Children play with Lego at Manchester Youth Zone in Harpurhey

Junior youth work manager, Jermane Walcott, said: "It gives children the chance to come here and take part in activities and not be at home stuck on the computer or tablet.

"It gives the chance to be both mentally and physically stimulated."

The children visiting the centre had a variety of views on the length of their break.

Exauce Agostinho, 10, said he wants it to be left as it is because "you go to school for a lot of weeks and you need your rest" – but Fathia Labisi, 16, thinks the holiday should be longer.

She said: "About two weeks after you get out of school you already have to go through 'back to school', getting clothes and everything. I just feel like it's too short."

On the other hand, eight-year-old Alfie Wallbank says he gets "bored".

"It is too long because I miss school," he said.

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Sky Data interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,061 Sky customers by SMS on 3 September 2018. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. Sky Data is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

For full Sky Data tables, please click here.

Original Article

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