What will you achieve this summer?
Some of the best memories are made in flip-flops.”
So, what’s more important: a need for students to be working over the summer vacation? Or a need for teachers and students to recuperate and play with loved ones? I know which I would prefer …
Image: Ross McGill (@DodgyEye)
With less than 30 days before state schools finish their 2015/16 academic year, in this post you will find an assembly resource to download and adopt for your school and student assemblies. In the resource I pose two key questions:
- How will you use your time?
- What memories will you gain from the summer of 2016?
Before Michael Gove’s demise, he banded about in his policies that he wished to reduce the traditional 6-week holiday down to 3 or 4 weeks. I do know of some schools who currently work within this model, re-shaping their academic calendar to enable two-weeks break at every half-term, every 5 or 6 weeks.
Former Education Secretary, announced plans to allow schools to fix their own term dates from September 2015 in a move which could signal the end of the six-week break. He is anxious to combat any loss of learning during the holiday and believes the change could raise standards in schools. But the survey by MathsFactor – a tutoring company created by Carol Voderman (perhaps a pitch for business?) – found that one in three parents (35%) said they were unaware their children’s learning could be jeopardised by the holiday. (The Independent)
Historically, the long summer break was designed in the Victorian era, a model we still use today: “… when formal schooling was first established, the school calendar fit the needs of a particular community. When families became more mobile, the school calendar was standardised. The current 9-month calendar that most schools operate on was established when 85% of students were involved in industrial labour, and when climate control did not exist in school buildings.”
Others believe “other education reformers believed that children were overstimulated in a system which required 48 weeks of schooling” which may lead to issues of Mental Health in our young people.
In England and Wales, summer holidays for state schools usually last from the second half of July through to early September which gives a duration of around six or seven weeks. In addition, all schools in England and Wales have three one-week-long half-term breaks for each of the three terms including one in the autumn term at the end of October, one in the spring term in mid February and one in the summer term in late May or early June. Holiday dates for schools in the independent sector usually differ. In Northern Ireland, most schools’ summer vacation starts in early July and runs through to the end of August. In Scotland, school summer holidays start in late June and last for about six or seven weeks, with most schools returning around August 20.
There is a detailed breakdown of summer vacations, country by country here.
The recent drive to re-establish Summer Schools for disadvantaged students (January 2015) was high on the agenda to improve standards of literacy and numeracy across England. I wonder how much of the initiative was a by-product of the summer riots of 2011? Was there any coincidence that it gained impetuous after such a period of chaos; to keep children off the streets and engage further with their communities in learning activities? Or was this just a manifesto to get a coalition government through to win an election?
Only months later, the Conservatives (DfE) announced that “schools will no longer receive additional funding from the government for summer schools.”
Schools will still be able to use their pupil premium funding for summer schools, but will not receive a separate allocation for them. (Schools Week)
Is this is coincidence? There is a detailed report, published by the DFE on the Summer Schools programme for disadvantaged pupils: key findings for schools. It’s interesting reading.
Using Time Better:
In my assembly, I discuss what time students have left in their educational journey. I also share what opportunities they could adopt with the 40+ days given to them throughout the summer. In the resource, I share one-off lifetime events that shape who we are; events that are defined in history and amazing stories of individuals who have used their time to shape the rest of the world.
- What could you do with your time?
- What memory could you create?
You can download the resource here.
If you are Seeking Permission, feel free to adapt. My only request, is that you respect my personal images.