Summer holidays 2019: why do Scotland's kids go back to school earlier than English children?

Children in Scotland will be preparing to go back to school after the summer holidays this week and next week.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

But youngsters in England have another three weeks off. That can’t be fair, can it? Why do Scottish kids go back to school so early?

The simple answer is, Scotland's summer holidays start earlier too.

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Summer holiday dates will vary slightly from school to school in different areas, but the first day off for Scottish kids in 2019 was around 1 July.

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That’s a full three weeks before England’s youngsters broke up for the summer on 22 July.

So while it might seem like Scots are getting short shrift from their summer holidays, the length of the break works out to be the same.

It’s not just students in Scotland who get an earlier break: those in Northern Ireland also hear the final bell of the term a few weeks earlier.

But why are they different in the first place? The UK is a relatively small country, and summer weather conditions affect us all at roughly the same time.

Nobody really knows why the difference exists, but there are a couple of interesting theories.

One hypothesis suggests it’s because children in rural communities used to have to help out on the land, so were given longer holidays to work with their families.

But this doesn’t make much sense; as well as the holiday lengths now being the same, often the busiest time for farmers is later in the autumn when harvesting takes place.

So whenever you or your children break up for summer, be assured that nobody is really getting a better deal than anybody else.

Of course, Scotland can often have more autumnal weather than areas further south, so you might be better off indoors at school anyway.