Nottinghamshire families face school term clash

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Families across Nottinghamshire are facing two different school holiday systems from September next year.

Nottingham city schools are to move to a five-term year with shorter summer holidays from September 2013.

But the county council has rejected this, consulting instead on fixing the spring holiday to make the spring and summer terms are the same length.

Teachers in one area with children in schools in the other said they would be forced to take some holidays apart.

Currently the lengths of the spring and summer terms in most schools in England change from year to year to allow a longer break at Easter.

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Last year the city council decided to adopt the five-term system - with a shorter summer holiday but fortnight breaks in May and October - which, it said, would help pace children's education and ease childcare issues in the summer.

But the county council has confirmed it had ruled out the five-term idea even before a main consultation on other possible changes.

Emma Cooke, a teacher in Nottingham with children at schools in West Bridgford, said the current system was better.

"We don't get to go to our children's sports days or their Christmas plays or their assemblies but the pay-off is you get school holidays with them.

"I don't want to be on a different holiday pattern to my children, I don't want to be forced to take my holiday when my children are at school, I want to be off with them."

No improvement

Philip Owen, the councillor at Nottinghamshire County Council in charge of education, said initial research had indicated five terms had little educational benefit.

He also confirmed he had met the city council's education chief, David Mellen, to discuss the issue.

"(He) did come to see me last week and pressed me to put the five-term system down as one of our options," he said.

"But, as I said to him, if there is going to be no improvement in the outcome for children in Nottinghamshire but there is going to be considerable disruption, why would I want to consult on that option?"

The city council said it was "disappointed" over the county council's stance.

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