Nottingham City Council have recently proposed a five term year structure for schools in the Local Authority. This would create 8 and 9 week long terms and reduce the summer break to four weeks.
NASUWT is opposed to the introduction of a five term year. The evidence for higher pupil attainment is suspect, and mainly drawn from countries with much longer summer breaks, and the greatly extended term lengths will be exhausting, particularly for young pupils.
There are many other reasons why NASUWT believes a five term year would be detrimental to teachers, parents and pupils in Nottingham including:
Nottinghamshire schools will remain on the three term year, meaning parents on the city border could have children in schools with different holiday patterns.
Academies and foundation schools in the city are not obliged to adopt a five term year – and many have already said they will not adopt the new term pattern
This is an experiment – no Local Authority in the country has adopted the five term year and Nottingham City Council have already admitted that it is a risk. A spokesman for Nottingham Council has said “As the first local authority in the country to adopt the 5 term year, Nottingham City Council hopes to work with UK academics to research the impact of the school calendar change”.
The consultation carried out before the change was hardly overwhelming: 51% supported the change and 46% opposed it – and this was before the County Council said they would not adopt the change.
Everyone involved in education is opposed to the change. Teachers, heads and governors are opposed to the five term year by a large margin.
Governors are opposed – In a recent survey of governors by the City of Nottingham Governors Association found that 81% of governors are opposed to a five term year.
Business is opposed – In the survey carried out in 2011 opposition from business was marginally higher than support – since the announcement that county and city will be on different term times, leading to higher absenteeism, business in Nottinghamshire is increasingly worried about the proposal.
Pupils are opposed – Even school kids, the group the council claim will benefit from a five term year, are opposed to this. Long terms and short summer holidays do not increase learning.
Flawed evidence – Evidence for ‘summer learning loss’ is overwhelmingly taken from American studies where summer holidays are between 10 and 12 weeks long.
Long terms will exhaust pupils and reduce learning. This will be particularly detrimental to very young children. Terms could be up to 9 weeks long.
Recruitment and retention will become very difficult in Nottingham. Anecdotal evidence shows teachers are already thinking of leaving the city to work elsewhere.
Increased pupil absence due to siblings being on different holiday patterns