Every year the cry goes up from harassed parents, reported and debated in the news: “Why do we have such long school summer holidays in Britain?” Supposedly, the six-week summer break is a relic of our agricultural past, which allowed children to help with fruit harvesting and working in the fields. Now that this is not as relevant, it is suggested that the extended break no longer serves the needs of modern society.
In fact, our summer holiday isn’t the longest, when compared to those of other countries. In the USA, for example, summer recess can be as long as three months. Lithuania (3 months), Russia (2.5 months), France and Ireland (2 months) are among other countries whose young people also enjoy a lengthy summer break.
However that doesn’t stop concerns about children forgetting what they’ve learned, resulting in a learning dip on their return; the difficulty of arranging childcare when both parents work and have limited annual leave, and what to do to keep them from boredom. There is also the higher cost of holiday accommodation and travel at this time of year to be considered.
In June this year Barnsley Council in South Yorkshire became the first local authority in England to cut school summer holidays to below five weeks from the 2017/2018 school year, with an extra week off scheduled in October instead. However, opposition from teachers was such that the council had to rethink their plans, announcing a week later that the length of the summer holiday would not be changed, pending a wider review.
Barnsley Council’s experience suggests that other local authorities may be cautious in following suit, despite repeated calls from parents and interested organisations for school holiday arrangements to be reviewed.
Traditionally holiday periods for students in higher education tend to be even longer, and many take the opportunity to earn money during the long summer break.
Not so for Uni@Work Higher and Degree Apprentices! Our programmes are delivered in six-week modules, which can start at any time of year, so they can take their holidays at a time to suit themselves and their pockets (at the discretion of their employer). Our learners are already employed and earning a full-time wage, so they don’t need to spend their holidays working. Also there are no fees to pay, as these are covered by their employer, with substantial help via government funding, soon to be supported by the Apprenticeship Levy.
For more information about Uni@Work programmes and the Apprenticeship Levy, please contact Uni@Work.