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UK: School holidays “a la carte”, school by school

Institutions are now free to set their own school calendar


A school holiday schedule determined freely by each institution, this is the plan that is being put in place in England. This autonomy taken to the extreme may have a beneficial effect for the tourism industry with a clientele spread out throughout the year...



Since last April, some academies and schools are free to fix their school calendar as they wish and by September, this decision will be extended to all schools - DR: © BeTa -Artworks - Fotolia.com
Since last April, some academies and schools are free to fix their school calendar as they wish and by September, this decision will be extended to all schools - DR: © BeTa -Artworks - Fotolia.com
While the school holiday calendar is again a controversial topic in France, it also raises many questions in England.

While the spreading of holiday calendar is put in place, the Government of Her Majesty attempts to assign the academies and schools with the full freedom to fix their own periods of breaks, the history of education is somewhat different there than in France.

For a long time, with the agreement of authorities, school principals tolerated that during class time students be absent to accompany their parents on a one-week vacation.

This situation seemed to satisfy institutions, families enjoying the off-season discounts, and of course tourism professionals who could maintain a strategy of trip packages throughout the year.

Until a Minister of Education decided that this was detrimental to children. Now, it is forbidden to leave outside of holiday periods under the threat of severe fines for parents who violate the law.

Now everybody rushes on mid-quarter breaks and six weeks (only!) summer holidays to go on vacation leading to a logical effect of rising prices during these periods of high demand.

Spreading-out holidays

It is this peak in prices that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, recently criticized during a radio interview. "I tested myself with Ryanair and Easyjet. It is frustrating to see prices rise due to high demand, says the Prime Minister .

Even travel agencies seem to increase their rates during the holidays."

These words for the least silly obviously sparked a wave of violent criticism from the pros who blame the high rate by the senseless increase in taxes on airline tickets imposed by the Prime Minister himself...

Still, the spreading out of holidays is the approach accepted by the British to keep prices reasonable.

Since last April, some academies and schools are now free to choose to fix their own school calendar and in September this decision will be extended to all schools.

Stronger yet, the project to remove altogether the six weeks of summer vacation is being studied. Suffice to say that families better start putting all their children in the same school to avoid unsolvable problems of organization...

Retrospectively, maybe the spreading out of holidays by region, like in France, does not seem like such a crazy idea after all?

Written by Editorial Board translated by Joséphine Foucher the 07/05/2014
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