At a series of LGA regional meetings across the country, informal polls of education members and chief education officers indicated a strong undercurrent of support.
Graham Lane, chair of the LGA's education and lifelong learning executive said: `We took soundings from representatives from over half the local education authorities in the country. The overwhelming majority responded positively. This is an important milestone for the LGA because we firmly believe that a standardised six term year will help raise pupils' achievement levels.'
John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association and a member of the commission agreed: `The new school year will benefit pupils and teachers. There has been a lot of attention in the media recently about teachers' workload. I am confident that the longer October half term and the fixing of the April holiday will bring big improvements in the pattern of the school year. It will ease stress amongst teachers, and spread the balance of their workload more evenly throughout the year.'
1) The Independent Commission on the Organisation of the School Year, set up by the LGA two years ago, is recommending moving to a standardised yet flexible framework of six terms of broadly consistent length. It recommends:
- six terms in a school year, with two terms before Christmas and no term of more than 38 days (7 weeks, 3 days)
- a two-week break in October to reduce teacher stress
- a Christmas break which is never less than two weeks
- four terms after Christmas of about 6 weeks
- a summer break which is always more than 5 weeks
- 5 'flexible' days that can be used for holidays or term days according to regional needs
2) A copy of the report, `the rhythms of schooling', the commission's detailed recommendations for 2003-4, and an explanatory flyer are available here .