Sunday, 28 June 2020

Lockdown is a golden opportunity to realign the academic year with the calendar year

My daughter, who is in her first year of doing A-levels came up with this plan, which I thought was pretty good:

1. Schools and universities all start again in September with the syllabus they were supposed to cover in the summer term.

2. Pupils and students who should have taken exams this summer just take them in December instead, when everything is hopefully nearly back to normal.

3. The academic year now ends in December with a few weeks off for Xmas and New Year before the next academic year starts. Hooray, lazing around and partying without anything to revise and no homework to do!

4. Bonus #1 is that people will get real GSCEs or A-Levels in December 2020, instead of notional GSCEs or A-Levels awarded by their teachers. Surely a real B grade is better than a notional A grade?

5. Bonus #2 is that the anachronistic and nonsensically long summer holiday would be a thing of the past, each school just pencils in a few shorter holidays of two or three weeks* scattered through the year, which would reduce the price differential between 'summer season' and 'rest of year'.

* So they can have holidays to coincide with European Cup, World Cup, Olympics, Wimbledon (for the posh schools) etc and kids and teachers can enjoy them in full. A level pupils get a few weeks off during festival season. And so on.


Shiney said...

Yep - all sensible.


"each school just pencils in a few shorter holidays of two or three weeks scattered through the year"

ROFL - you think the teaching unions are going to agree to all that? If so I've got a bridge to sell ya.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, teachers will also benefit from cheaper holidays.

Macheath said...

Full marks for lateral thinking - your daughter will go far!

The days of pupils needing to be at home for the summer harvest are long gone (though where I come from, the schools still had holidays adjusted round the October tattie picking and January lambing), which removes the original justification.

Another bonus would be the energy saving of closing the buildings for several weeks at the darkest, coldest time of the year - and the possible reduction in road accidents by avoiding the school run during the shortest days.

It would also give families (and teachers!) a chance to take their annual holiday during the winter and get a much-needed boost of vitamin D or the chance to get some winter sports in without necessarily paying Christmas/New Year rates.

I agree that the teaching unions would never wear it - but then they aren't exactly open to reason at the best of times.

Mark Wadsworth said...

McH, excellent and agreed.

1. Schools in agricultural areas can have their free weeks in October and January. Whatever local people want.

2. Energy saving and accidents - good one, I hadn't thought of that.

3. Holidays - that overlaps with my Bonus #2.

I know that teachers' unions are unreasonable, but this is all to their benefit as well. Maybe they want their kids to pick potatoes in October, save on cost of holidays or enjoy the football uninterrupted?

Bayard said...

I don't know if it was the case hundreds of years ago, when the pattern for having long summer holidays was set, but certainly now, late July and August tend to be rubbish weather.
I suppose there must be advantages in having everyone taking their holidays at the same time, after all the French practically close the country down for a month each year.