19 members of the UK Youth Parliament attended the event at Local Government House, to discuss recommendations made by the commission in its report `The rhythms of schooling', published in September last year.
The recommendations include:
- a standardised yet flexible framework of six terms of more equal length
- a two week break during the long autumn term, to improve learning conditions and reduce stress levels
- post-qualification assessment for application to institutions of higher education
Representatives of the Youth Parliament were keen to focus on the commission's recommendation that term and holiday periods should be standardised across the country. Shamima Pandor, a representative from Newham, spoke on behalf of pupils in her area. 'It would be good to even out holidays through the year,' she observed, 'as many people have relatives who live in different areas and is important that everyone can be together for family events.'
Daniel Northcott, a representative from Kent, agreed; 'Going to secondary school alone is enough to freak anyone out, without having the extra problems of trying to get used to a new pattern of holidays.'
Chris Price, chair of the Independent Commission, said `The commission felt it was important that young people were consulted over the proposals. The feedback the representatives gave us was positive, and we will certainly be taking their views into consideration. The commission's priority throughout has been the interests of the schools and the children - to raise standards and reduce stress by creating smoother rhythms in the organisation of the curriculum and the assessment of pupils' progress.'
1) A summary of the report published last September, `The Rhythms of Schooling' is available on the LGA website.
2) The Commission will announcing its final recommendations in December.