School Easter break consultation to inform 2014-2015 onwards school calendar

I recently received the following information:

Please find here the link to the online consultation http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/School-calendar.aspx

Background information:

Historically Leeds had an Easter break that moved with the Easter bank holiday. However in 2008 Leeds consulted on fixing the Easter break to the first two weeks in April. Public opinion was in favour and the Exec board agreed to implement a fixed Easter break regardless of when Easter falls. Sometimes the Easter bank holidays fall within this break, at the beginning, middle, or end, but once in every 4-5 years the Easter bank holidays fall entirely outside, and are therefore out of line with our neighbouring authorities. This happened in 2011 and a considerable number of complaints were received, mainly from families who live and work across local authority boundaries. The unions have also expressed concern and are keen to see a return to the traditional Easter break. For your information complaints have centred around:

Working parents having to take additional leave or pay extra childcare

  • Families unable to spend time together or visit relatives in other parts of the country, detriment to work-life balance
  • Leeds children missing out on events run in school holidays by organisations such as the National Trust
  • Pupils only in school 8 days in April, hindered preparation for GCSEs and SATs, not in the best interests of children’s learning as miss out on vital time with teachers in run up to exams
  • Recruitment harder for schools as in 2011 there was a 4-week window when schools could not interview
  • Some schools particularly affected – 58 members of the 150 staff at Royds school live outside of the Leeds authority, caused major family related problems
  • Royal Wedding on 29 April and additional bank holiday day added to the problem in 2011
  • Many felt it would only work if was adopted nationwide

I would be grateful if you could take time to complete the questionnaire as your views and comments are invaluable.