Teacher's Union Warns Of Holiday Chaos
7:36am 14th July 2014
(Updated 9:42am 14th July 2014)
The NASUWT is warning of holiday chaos across Dorset.
The Union has told Wessex FM that schools in some parts of the county are planning to break away from the normal holiday patterns to set up their own holiday dates.
This could see schools in Weymouth and Portland having different holidays to schools in Dorchester, and the rest of the county.
Dorset NASUWT County Secretary, Mick Richardson explained, "We were approached about 18 months ago by Dorset Council to say that they were conducting research into the benefits of a five term year - broadly speaking, creating terms that are eight weeks long followed by two weeks holiday and a four week summer holiday. We heard no more until papers have begun to circulate showing proposed term dates for 2015, affecting schools in the Weymouth and Portland area and schools in the Dorchester area. We have since seen further proposals from these areas that now show 6 term year dates. We have also heard that there may be disagreement about the exact dates between Weymouth and Portland area and Dorchester area schools, but there is no hard information because any discussions seem to be going on behind closed doors. This is a recipe for chaos."
Dorset NASUWT President, Jon Smith added," The teacher unions have not been part of any meaningful discussions and as yet we are unaware of any involvement or intention to include the parents. What will parents do when they have one child on holiday from one school, another child on holiday at a different school where the dates don't match up?"
Patrick Myers, senior manager for children's services at Dorset County Council, said: "We have no record of this research being undertaken or commissioned by Dorset County Council. Term dates are set in consultation with schools and neighbouring local authorities. Under Government policy, academies can set their own term dates but we work closely with all schools to come up with a consistent approach to this issue. We are happy to discuss the matter with the NASUWT, but it is certainly not our policy to change term times and have schools in Dorset taking different holidays. "