So this week the Government is suggesting shortening the school summer holidays. I agree that it's important to do something to help poorer families and, although we're pretty new to the world of school holidays, I can see that the long break presents a huge challenge to some parents.
However, I've expressed my views on the long summer break in an earlier post. I think it's really important for children to have some time to switch off and would be interested to see the evidence to prove that 6 weeks makes a really significant difference to learning.
Given tonight's Twitter debate on homework, discussing whether our primary school children should be given homework at all, there are many parents who feel that children already have too much on their plates. There's a strong view that homework disrupts family life, puts unnecessary stress on children and that 'home' time should be kept entirely separate from school work. Surely reducing the summer holidays would only add to this stress?
There must be other solutions worth exploring. For example, if we had a culture of summer camps for kids as in the US (perhaps subsidised for poorer families) both children and parents could benefit.
And a final thought, isn't it a little simplistic and hugely patronising to assume that parents from poorer families will not support their children's learning in any way over the long break? I certainly think so.