Fears over schools' term time changes in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester

Dorset Echo: Schools will set their own term dates from next year. Photo; PA Schools will set their own term dates from next year. Photo; PA

CHANGES to term dates could cause ‘holiday chaos’ for parents in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester, a union fears.

From September 2015, local authorities will no longer set school holidays- meaning it will be up to schools themselves.

But union officials say discussions between local schools are going on ‘behind closed doors’ without the involvement of teachers and parents.

It is understood that the Chesil Education Partnership wants to change its term dates and has been in discussion with the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership about this.

But union NASUWT says it could mean both partnerships will have separate dates and schools outside the partnership will have other dates too.

This, it predicts, would cause issues for parents with children in schools in different partnerships, teachers with their own children in different partnerships or elsewhere in the county. Mick Richardson, NASUWT county secretary, said: “If one set of term dates is proposed for all schools that’s one thing, but for them all to be doing different things and then the rest of Dorset to be doing something different to that, is complete madness.

“There is no consideration how that will affect parents, who may have one child in a Chesil school, another in a DASP school or outside the partnerships.

“I don’t think parents will be very happy to find out about this; it’s all going on without them being consulted.”

DASP has moved to assure parents and teachers this isn’t the case.

Carl Winch, chairman of DASP and St Mary’s Middle School headteacher, said: “These are tentative discussions going on between the two area partnerships.

“We don’t know what is going to happen at this stage. We haven’t even seen a draft document in the Dorchester area at the moment.”

Michael Foley, headteacher at Thomas Hardye School, part of DASP, said changes would be positive, meaning a fixed Easter break and a shorter autumn term.

He added: “Having a fixed Easter break is quite a popular thing.

“Parents never know when Easter break is going to be; one year it is early on, the next it could be later.

“Autumn term is highest in terms of absence and illness, so it’s taking that long, gruelling term and seeing what improvements we can make.

“We are not trying anything more radical than that- certainly not what has been suggested in other parts of the country.

“We don’t want to put parents out and cause people unnecessary trouble by having different dates.

“We want to make sure that the schools within Dorchester are working to the same timetable and in the same way, it seems to make sense that at the same time as aligning dates in Dorchester, we would talk to Chesil.

“There’s always going to be a point somewhere where the term dates don’t exactly tally.

“But we are trying to keep that to a minimum.”

David Akers, vice-chairman of the Chesil Education Partnership, said he could not comment on the situation at the moment.

It is understood there will be a meeting of those involved in the plans in September.

Comments (21)

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2:47pm Mon 14 Jul 14

MrTomSmith says...

This is a head Teacher! Parents never know when Easter Break is! Heavens above, what are you talking about? Its at Easter, and it can be checked when it is months in advance. Just talking rubbish.
This is a head Teacher! Parents never know when Easter Break is! Heavens above, what are you talking about? Its at Easter, and it can be checked when it is months in advance. Just talking rubbish. MrTomSmith
  • Score: 16

2:49pm Mon 14 Jul 14

smileymum says...

Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me. smileymum
  • Score: 22

3:15pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Get a grip says...

smileymum wrote:
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
My daughter starts school this year.

Looking at holiday costs yesterday and staggered that the first week of the term the cost is nearly 1/2 of the last week of the school holidays.

Yes I know about supply and demand


Given that the reason that there is a long summer holiday is so historical so that children could help out at harvest time, would it not be a good idea to look at the whole issue?

Perhaps 4 terms with a shorter summer break
[quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.[/p][/quote]My daughter starts school this year. Looking at holiday costs yesterday and staggered that the first week of the term the cost is nearly 1/2 of the last week of the school holidays. Yes I know about supply and demand Given that the reason that there is a long summer holiday is so historical so that children could help out at harvest time, would it not be a good idea to look at the whole issue? Perhaps 4 terms with a shorter summer break Get a grip
  • Score: 34

3:23pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Sally MacLennane says...

smileymum wrote:
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
You decided to have them.

I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter.
[quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.[/p][/quote]You decided to have them. I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter. Sally MacLennane
  • Score: -24

3:53pm Mon 14 Jul 14

smileymum says...

Sally MacLennane wrote:
smileymum wrote:
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
You decided to have them.

I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter.
I chose to have children. I don't claim benefits. I pay tax. Why should I subsidise your cheap holidays? I'm happy to pay for my children and would never expect anyone to subsidise my holiday, but a fair price brought about by flexible school holiday dates isn't too much to ask surely?
[quote][p][bold]Sally MacLennane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.[/p][/quote]You decided to have them. I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter.[/p][/quote]I chose to have children. I don't claim benefits. I pay tax. Why should I subsidise your cheap holidays? I'm happy to pay for my children and would never expect anyone to subsidise my holiday, but a fair price brought about by flexible school holiday dates isn't too much to ask surely? smileymum
  • Score: 45

4:16pm Mon 14 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

smileymum wrote:
Sally MacLennane wrote:
smileymum wrote:
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
You decided to have them.

I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter.
I chose to have children. I don't claim benefits. I pay tax. Why should I subsidise your cheap holidays? I'm happy to pay for my children and would never expect anyone to subsidise my holiday, but a fair price brought about by flexible school holiday dates isn't too much to ask surely?
I wouldn't pay the previous poster much attention. Chances are that at some point in her life she is going to need the services of the younger generation - whether to wipe her entitled backside or to pay for her state pension - so she may ultimately regret her words. Incidentally, if you earn less than £27k a year you'll never make a net contribution towards the cost of our society, so there are probably plenty of people with no kids that I am subsidising because I earn more than that. Perhaps she'd like to say thank you :-).
My fear is that these changes will just extend the period of high holiday costs rather than reduce costs. Simple greed - holiday businesses will charge the same as their peak rates but over a 16 week period rather than the 6-8 weeks of today. So in that sense she's right, but families with kids will suffer just as much.
[quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sally MacLennane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.[/p][/quote]You decided to have them. I'm totally against this. It will make my window of cheap holidays shorter.[/p][/quote]I chose to have children. I don't claim benefits. I pay tax. Why should I subsidise your cheap holidays? I'm happy to pay for my children and would never expect anyone to subsidise my holiday, but a fair price brought about by flexible school holiday dates isn't too much to ask surely?[/p][/quote]I wouldn't pay the previous poster much attention. Chances are that at some point in her life she is going to need the services of the younger generation - whether to wipe her entitled backside or to pay for her state pension - so she may ultimately regret her words. Incidentally, if you earn less than £27k a year you'll never make a net contribution towards the cost of our society, so there are probably plenty of people with no kids that I am subsidising because I earn more than that. Perhaps she'd like to say thank you :-). My fear is that these changes will just extend the period of high holiday costs rather than reduce costs. Simple greed - holiday businesses will charge the same as their peak rates but over a 16 week period rather than the 6-8 weeks of today. So in that sense she's right, but families with kids will suffer just as much. JamesYoung
  • Score: 21

4:22pm Mon 14 Jul 14

JACKC says...

About time they made the terms equal in length. The unions are scaremongering without any facts, and a lot of parents only look at the personal benefits to them and not their children. smileymum - how sad are you?! The only thing I think should be debated is the area this will cover. There is no point doing it just covering, say, Weymouth - it has to be throughout Dorset to avoid splits within families who have children at different 'local' schools.
About time they made the terms equal in length. The unions are scaremongering without any facts, and a lot of parents only look at the personal benefits to them and not their children. smileymum - how sad are you?! The only thing I think should be debated is the area this will cover. There is no point doing it just covering, say, Weymouth - it has to be throughout Dorset to avoid splits within families who have children at different 'local' schools. JACKC
  • Score: 7

5:24pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Schrodinger's Cat says...

JACKC wrote:
About time they made the terms equal in length. The unions are scaremongering without any facts, and a lot of parents only look at the personal benefits to them and not their children. smileymum - how sad are you?! The only thing I think should be debated is the area this will cover. There is no point doing it just covering, say, Weymouth - it has to be throughout Dorset to avoid splits within families who have children at different 'local' schools.
You accuse the unions of scaremongering but then appear to make exactly the same point as Mick Richardson - that this needs to be done over as wide an area as possible, in order to prevent inconvenience for parents.
[quote][p][bold]JACKC[/bold] wrote: About time they made the terms equal in length. The unions are scaremongering without any facts, and a lot of parents only look at the personal benefits to them and not their children. smileymum - how sad are you?! The only thing I think should be debated is the area this will cover. There is no point doing it just covering, say, Weymouth - it has to be throughout Dorset to avoid splits within families who have children at different 'local' schools.[/p][/quote]You accuse the unions of scaremongering but then appear to make exactly the same point as Mick Richardson - that this needs to be done over as wide an area as possible, in order to prevent inconvenience for parents. Schrodinger's Cat
  • Score: 6

5:48pm Mon 14 Jul 14

MrTomSmith says...

I think Children aged between (and this is variable) 5 and 13 or 14 should be allowed 2 weeks out of a school for a family holiday, this has to be proven, which isn't difficult. Then from ages 13 to 14 to end f school they should not be allowed. Its a compromise, BUT it might just keep both sides happy?
I think Children aged between (and this is variable) 5 and 13 or 14 should be allowed 2 weeks out of a school for a family holiday, this has to be proven, which isn't difficult. Then from ages 13 to 14 to end f school they should not be allowed. Its a compromise, BUT it might just keep both sides happy? MrTomSmith
  • Score: 17

6:38pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Altview says...

OK there are plans afoot to change the current timing of school holidays, is it going to be a benefit? Well lets consider the facts;

Cheaper holidays for those with children at school. Don't fool yourselves here unless your school makes really radical changes you can still expect to pay the 'holiday premium'. In practice there certain blocks pupils have to be at school and certain times families expect them to be on holiday.

Shorter summer holidays. Do you remember being at school, how much good learning did you manage to do just before the holidays? When its really hot (and most of the schools don't have air conditioning) children really struggle in the classroom.

Schools in the area will do the same thing. This is far from guaranteed as it is down to the individual head teacher. If they don't agree with the proposed system they can still do their own thing. Compare what the local schools are doing right now with inset days for example.

Proposed changes. Well everyone is being a bit coy at the moment but I believe that the major change will involve starting the school year a week early (last week in August) and having an extra week at what is now the October half term. This seems a bit tough on our hard working older teenagers who have summer jobs and will miss out on a weeks pay and local businesses who will need to cover the gap at the end of season. (This could mean they won't employ school age kids anymore)

So add in the issues identified by the unions do you still really think the possibility of slightly cheaper holidays worth it?
OK there are plans afoot to change the current timing of school holidays, is it going to be a benefit? Well lets consider the facts; Cheaper holidays for those with children at school. Don't fool yourselves here unless your school makes really radical changes you can still expect to pay the 'holiday premium'. In practice there certain blocks pupils have to be at school and certain times families expect them to be on holiday. Shorter summer holidays. Do you remember being at school, how much good learning did you manage to do just before the holidays? When its really hot (and most of the schools don't have air conditioning) children really struggle in the classroom. Schools in the area will do the same thing. This is far from guaranteed as it is down to the individual head teacher. If they don't agree with the proposed system they can still do their own thing. Compare what the local schools are doing right now with inset days for example. Proposed changes. Well everyone is being a bit coy at the moment but I believe that the major change will involve starting the school year a week early (last week in August) and having an extra week at what is now the October half term. This seems a bit tough on our hard working older teenagers who have summer jobs and will miss out on a weeks pay and local businesses who will need to cover the gap at the end of season. (This could mean they won't employ school age kids anymore) So add in the issues identified by the unions do you still really think the possibility of slightly cheaper holidays worth it? Altview
  • Score: 9

7:26pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

Altview wrote:
OK there are plans afoot to change the current timing of school holidays, is it going to be a benefit? Well lets consider the facts;

Cheaper holidays for those with children at school. Don't fool yourselves here unless your school makes really radical changes you can still expect to pay the 'holiday premium'. In practice there certain blocks pupils have to be at school and certain times families expect them to be on holiday.

Shorter summer holidays. Do you remember being at school, how much good learning did you manage to do just before the holidays? When its really hot (and most of the schools don't have air conditioning) children really struggle in the classroom.

Schools in the area will do the same thing. This is far from guaranteed as it is down to the individual head teacher. If they don't agree with the proposed system they can still do their own thing. Compare what the local schools are doing right now with inset days for example.

Proposed changes. Well everyone is being a bit coy at the moment but I believe that the major change will involve starting the school year a week early (last week in August) and having an extra week at what is now the October half term. This seems a bit tough on our hard working older teenagers who have summer jobs and will miss out on a weeks pay and local businesses who will need to cover the gap at the end of season. (This could mean they won't employ school age kids anymore)

So add in the issues identified by the unions do you still really think the possibility of slightly cheaper holidays worth it?
I don't know but I know Im fed up with being dictated to by the schools as to when I will and won't send my kids there.
This nonsense about having a hard line on term time absenteeism when the parents are clearly taking the child on a holiday is going to end badly for the schools teachers and head teachers.
The teachers are going to have to accept changes to their working practices and trying to dig their heels in because the unions have lied to them about how much they can expect to be paid is not the fault of parents.
The end of working for half the years is on the cards and we all know it. The unions might be desperately trying to fight it - but ultimately it will come to an end...
[quote][p][bold]Altview[/bold] wrote: OK there are plans afoot to change the current timing of school holidays, is it going to be a benefit? Well lets consider the facts; Cheaper holidays for those with children at school. Don't fool yourselves here unless your school makes really radical changes you can still expect to pay the 'holiday premium'. In practice there certain blocks pupils have to be at school and certain times families expect them to be on holiday. Shorter summer holidays. Do you remember being at school, how much good learning did you manage to do just before the holidays? When its really hot (and most of the schools don't have air conditioning) children really struggle in the classroom. Schools in the area will do the same thing. This is far from guaranteed as it is down to the individual head teacher. If they don't agree with the proposed system they can still do their own thing. Compare what the local schools are doing right now with inset days for example. Proposed changes. Well everyone is being a bit coy at the moment but I believe that the major change will involve starting the school year a week early (last week in August) and having an extra week at what is now the October half term. This seems a bit tough on our hard working older teenagers who have summer jobs and will miss out on a weeks pay and local businesses who will need to cover the gap at the end of season. (This could mean they won't employ school age kids anymore) So add in the issues identified by the unions do you still really think the possibility of slightly cheaper holidays worth it?[/p][/quote]I don't know but I know Im fed up with being dictated to by the schools as to when I will and won't send my kids there. This nonsense about having a hard line on term time absenteeism when the parents are clearly taking the child on a holiday is going to end badly for the schools teachers and head teachers. The teachers are going to have to accept changes to their working practices and trying to dig their heels in because the unions have lied to them about how much they can expect to be paid is not the fault of parents. The end of working for half the years is on the cards and we all know it. The unions might be desperately trying to fight it - but ultimately it will come to an end... Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: -18

8:54pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Schrodinger's Cat says...

Working half the year ? You must be joking.
http://www.theguardi
an.com/education/201
4/feb/28/primary-sch
ool-teachers-work-60
-hour-week

Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year.
Working half the year ? You must be joking. http://www.theguardi an.com/education/201 4/feb/28/primary-sch ool-teachers-work-60 -hour-week Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year. Schrodinger's Cat
  • Score: 16

9:39pm Mon 14 Jul 14

weymouthgirl123 says...

Secondary schools in the chesil partnership have already decided term dates, and are assuming the primaries will follow them.
Secondary schools in the chesil partnership have already decided term dates, and are assuming the primaries will follow them. weymouthgirl123
  • Score: 2

12:49pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Newground says...

It is moving that this union has 'fears' for my holiday plans.

They are such lovely people, these union leaders.

Never would they think of disrupting people's holidays in order to achieve personal gain.
It is moving that this union has 'fears' for my holiday plans. They are such lovely people, these union leaders. Never would they think of disrupting people's holidays in order to achieve personal gain. Newground
  • Score: -2

1:53pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

Schrodinger's Cat wrote:
Working half the year ? You must be joking.
http://www.theguardi

an.com/education/201

4/feb/28/primary-sch

ool-teachers-work-60

-hour-week

Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year.
So all teachers do a 60 hour week do they? maybe according to the unions but in the real world Im afraid they don't...
[quote][p][bold]Schrodinger's Cat[/bold] wrote: Working half the year ? You must be joking. http://www.theguardi an.com/education/201 4/feb/28/primary-sch ool-teachers-work-60 -hour-week Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year.[/p][/quote]So all teachers do a 60 hour week do they? maybe according to the unions but in the real world Im afraid they don't... Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: -10

2:06pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Sidney Hall says...

http://tinyurl.com/p
vjzsg9
http://tinyurl.com/p vjzsg9 Sidney Hall
  • Score: 1

3:33pm Tue 15 Jul 14

burgerboy says...

Parkstreetshufle wrote:
Schrodinger's Cat wrote:
Working half the year ? You must be joking.
http://www.theguardi


an.com/education/201


4/feb/28/primary-sch


ool-teachers-work-60


-hour-week

Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year.
So all teachers do a 60 hour week do they? maybe according to the unions but in the real world Im afraid they don't...
With Gove been given the boot what lame excuse can the poor hard done by teachers come up with now to go on strike.........
[quote][p][bold]Parkstreetshufle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Schrodinger's Cat[/bold] wrote: Working half the year ? You must be joking. http://www.theguardi an.com/education/201 4/feb/28/primary-sch ool-teachers-work-60 -hour-week Do the maths. Even if you (wrongly) believe that teachers do no work during the school holidays. 60 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year is the equivalent of doing a 48 hour week for 50 weeks of the year.[/p][/quote]So all teachers do a 60 hour week do they? maybe according to the unions but in the real world Im afraid they don't...[/p][/quote]With Gove been given the boot what lame excuse can the poor hard done by teachers come up with now to go on strike......... burgerboy
  • Score: -6

7:46pm Tue 15 Jul 14

ksmain says...

smileymum wrote:
Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.
Yes but that is unlikely to happen is it?

Simply because all the other parents will still be looking to taking holidays the same time - the holiday companies will still make those weeks expensive due to high demand in those weeks.

So anyone with kids looking to get cheaper holidays from this is living in a cloud-cookoo land!!
[quote][p][bold]smileymum[/bold] wrote: Anything that makes taking my children on holiday cheaper, gets a massive thumbs up from me.[/p][/quote]Yes but that is unlikely to happen is it? Simply because all the other parents will still be looking to taking holidays the same time - the holiday companies will still make those weeks expensive due to high demand in those weeks. So anyone with kids looking to get cheaper holidays from this is living in a cloud-cookoo land!! ksmain
  • Score: 4

8:42pm Tue 15 Jul 14

The Yardy says...

Please keep school holidays as they are now.

Has a parent who's children have long since flown the nest, with the current system I know when its safe to book my holidays, when the children are in school, that makes my holidays so much quieter & more enjoyable.

I'm sure there is many OAP's who feel the same.
Please keep school holidays as they are now. Has a parent who's children have long since flown the nest, with the current system I know when its safe to book my holidays, when the children are in school, that makes my holidays so much quieter & more enjoyable. I'm sure there is many OAP's who feel the same. The Yardy
  • Score: 1

7:02am Wed 16 Jul 14

Frank F says...

Why on earth did the government have to change things to make a mountain out of a molehill. people used to be fine with the 10 days per year they were allowed to go on holidays,then Gove stepped in with this attendance argument and changed everything now it's chaos theory.

If attendance was the issue why is everyone being penalised now under the new system whereas if there were something along the lines of days holiday linked to the childs attendance record it would have been easier to administer and parents would know in order to get holidays their child had to have good attendance.

Why oh why do all these government and council departments have to make something that everyone knew was working well for the majority of schools and parents into something so confusing now no one knows what is going on,parents,governmen
t,schools or council.

All this will end up doing is making the holiday companies charge more all year round as someone has already mentioned and will not benefit anyone at all. I don't see why parents should have to pay 50% more for a holiday which is packed and no one enjoys as much as a nice quiet one where the kids and parents can enjoy their time together. Go back to the old system it was far better for all.
Why on earth did the government have to change things to make a mountain out of a molehill. people used to be fine with the 10 days per year they were allowed to go on holidays,then Gove stepped in with this attendance argument and changed everything now it's chaos theory. If attendance was the issue why is everyone being penalised now under the new system whereas if there were something along the lines of days holiday linked to the childs attendance record it would have been easier to administer and parents would know in order to get holidays their child had to have good attendance. Why oh why do all these government and council departments have to make something that everyone knew was working well for the majority of schools and parents into something so confusing now no one knows what is going on,parents,governmen t,schools or council. All this will end up doing is making the holiday companies charge more all year round as someone has already mentioned and will not benefit anyone at all. I don't see why parents should have to pay 50% more for a holiday which is packed and no one enjoys as much as a nice quiet one where the kids and parents can enjoy their time together. Go back to the old system it was far better for all. Frank F
  • Score: 0

8:43am Wed 16 Jul 14

Rocksalt says...

MrTomSmith wrote:
This is a head Teacher! Parents never know when Easter Break is! Heavens above, what are you talking about? Its at Easter, and it can be checked when it is months in advance. Just talking rubbish.
Yes, Easter dates are known well in advance. What isn't known is whether the school holidays will take place wither side of Easter, or whether the holiday will all be before or after the bank holidays. I will leave it to others to decide who is talking rubbish.
[quote][p][bold]MrTomSmith[/bold] wrote: This is a head Teacher! Parents never know when Easter Break is! Heavens above, what are you talking about? Its at Easter, and it can be checked when it is months in advance. Just talking rubbish.[/p][/quote]Yes, Easter dates are known well in advance. What isn't known is whether the school holidays will take place wither side of Easter, or whether the holiday will all be before or after the bank holidays. I will leave it to others to decide who is talking rubbish. Rocksalt
  • Score: 0

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