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Dozens of local authorities are secretly drawing up plans to impose five-term school years despite stiff opposition...
Dozens of local authorities are secretly drawing up plans to impose five-term school years despite stiff opposition from many parents and teachers, according to a leading educationist, reported The Times (24 July, p12).

Trevor Kerry, of the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, claimed many education authorities were 'covertly' interested in the controversial scheme but were yet to make it public. While authorities such as Croydon, Aberdeen, Wigan and most inner London boroughs have organised public consultation, many councils remain nervous of becoming involved in rows with teacher unions and parents, he said.

Many teacher unions declared the five-term year issue dead after East Sussex CC was this month forced to withdraw its pioneering scheme, which aimed to impose the changes from September 2000, after public consultation showed that 73% of 23,000 people questioned were opposed.

However, Woodlands Primary School in Grimsby is to become the first school in the country to adopt the plan in September, and many city technology colleges, such as Brooke Weston in Corby, Northamptonshire, have already proclaimed the scheme an outstanding success.

The Woodlands scheme has the backing of North East Lincolnshire Council, as well as governors and most teachers. Although only one parent and two of its 19 teachers objected, the scheme was widely criticised by the main teacher trade unions.

The Local Government Association said there had been so much interest in the scheme that an independent commission had been set up last month to examine the idea.

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