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School summer holidays could be cut to four weeks in major part of UK

NewsSchool summer holidays could be cut to four weeks in major part of UK

School summer holidays could be reduced to just four weeks in a major part of the UK in a bid to help disadvantaged children.

Wales is proposing to extend its week-long October half-term to a fortnight as part of the plans while losing a week during the summer.

The Welsh government claims the change would benefit disadvantaged children and increase staff and students’ wellbeing.

A decision on the plans will be made in spring and if approved will be introduced in the 2025-26 school year with the five-week break starting later in July 2026.

But the Welsh teaching association the National Association of Headteachers Cymru said it felt there was no evidence that pupils’ education would improve as a result of the changes.

The Welsh government says the fortnight half term would give pupils more of a rest as it claimed students found the long autumn term tiring.

Under the plans the total number of school holiday days would not change.

Laura Doel from the National Association of Headteachers Cymru told the BBC: “When school staff are being made redundant to balance the books, when schools should be prioritising delivering quality education to learners, and when we are deeply concerned about the recruitment and retention crisis, this should not be a priority for government.”

Some teachers are also said to be worried the changes will have an impact on teacher recruitment.

GCSE and A-level results days could also be moved to the same day rather than dates a week apart as part of the proposals.

Education minister Jeremy Miles said the proposals were being made as he was concerned about the impact the long summer break has on children when they return to school.

He said: “Families struggle to find childcare over the six weeks, and others struggle with the additional costs long summers bring.

“We also know our most disadvantaged learners suffer the most ‘learning loss’ from a long summer.”

Other parts of England and Scotland already have two-week breaks in October such as the Isle of Wight and Falkirk, while Chester has a five-week summer holiday and a fixed Easter.

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