Cameron backs staggered school holidays

The expensive peak summer family holiday window for parents with children at school has been the subject of a heated public debate for a while now, fuelled by the sudden hike in flight costs which seem to rise as soon as we hit July.

Now Prime Minister David Cameron is suggesting  Britain takes a leaf out of France’s book and that we stagger our school holidays.

Cameron commented recently on the fact that budget airlines purposely drive up flight prices during school holidays when demand rises.

“This is very frustrating and I have seen it myself when you are booking on easyJet or Ryanair,” Cameron said in a weekend radio interview.

“Prices go up because of the demand and then you’ve got holiday companies who sometimes seem to deliberately put up prices at holiday time.”

He has backing from head teachers who wish to experiment and examine the benefits of changing school holidays, as we know them.

The National Association of Head Teachers proposed that holidays should be spread more regularly throughout the year.

Not only are the increased holidays a problem but 13 week terms and their productivity have gone under scrutiny. Staff have commented that they will be less run off their feet and stressed if terms were more broken up to manageable chunks. But head teachers wanted more evidence of the benefits of such changes.

Education Secretary Michael Gove added: “It seems like, at the end of term, everyone is ready to drop and that actually, not reducing the amount of holiday but distributing it more evenly across the year might be one solution to that.”

Already academies have the authority to alter term times and make their own decisions along this line, which is going to be extended to state schools next year.

The potential downside of staggered school holidays might be busier resorts and consequently increased prices for flights and accommodation at traditionally quieter times.  This may mean that timeshare owners who prefer the quiet life might have to re-think their dates in the future.

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