PARENTS and teachers in Edinburgh have voiced overwhelming opposition to proposals to extend the summer school holidays to seven weeks, it was announced today.
The vast majority of respondents who took part in a council consultation on term dates for the next three sessions said they wished the summer break to remain at six weeks.
Edinburgh City Council launched the survey after proposing that the 2016 and 2017 Christmas breaks be reduced to less than two weeks, with the summer holiday lengthened to compensate.
Parents have rejected the idea, saying worn-out families would prefer a longer recovery period at Christmas and warning that more time off over summer would mean higher childcare bills.
Naomi Crowley, a member of the parent council at one Edinburgh school, Broughton High, said: “Everyone is completely wiped out by the time you get to Christmas - you have a very long term leading up to it, and then the longer summer holiday would mean more childcare which parents would have to find.
“Personally, I quite like the idea of having a longer summer but I’m not surprised most parents are saying they don’t want it.”
Council leaders received 487 responses to their consultation on the changes.
While arrangements for 2015-16, including a two-week Christmas break, have been approved, education chiefs will hold another survey, to include all three Lothian councils and Fife, on term dates for 2016-17 onwards.
Teaching unions have branded the proposals “plain daft”. Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said: “Christmas holidays are important to families - we need to recognise that.
“It’s also our view that, when it’s possible that there will be bad weather, keeping schools open longer is crazy. It’s dangerous for kids and staff.”
He added: “From a teacher’s perspective, the most rigorous term is January through to Easter.
“That’s when you have the greatest workload in terms of getting assessments finished, preparation for exams, curriculum development and so on - they would not want a shorter break at Christmas.”