Pattern of School Holidays by dfhercbml


									                                     Education, Learning & Leisure

      Consultation on the Pattern of School Holidays in
       Aberdeenshire Schools (from session 2010/11)


  1. The current pattern of school holidays was approved by the (then)
     Education and Recreation Committee in 2005, following on from earlier
     consultation exercises.

  2. The current pattern of school holidays includes the following “design

            Based on 195 day school year, which includes 5 In-Service
             closure days
            6 week summer holidays
            2 week October break, Christmas break and Easter break
            Attempt to avoid “broken weeks” e.g. term finishing on
             Wednesday and new term re-starting on Thursday
            Articulation, where possible, with neighbouring authorities.
            Attempt to achieve a broad balance between the 4 terms
            Incorporation of May bank holiday as a holiday for all

  3. In February 2005, the E&R Committee approved a schedule of school
     holidays for session 2006/07 to 2009/10. Given that we are now well
     through the penultimate session of this period, it is now appropriate to
     conduct a consultation on whether the above design criteria remain
     appropriate, prior to finalising a detailed schedule of school holiday
     dates for session 2010/11 and thereafter.

  4. Accordingly, a number of consultation questions have been drawn up,
     about which the views of stakeholders are now sought. The
     consultation questions are provided overleaf.

  5. Attached to the consultation questions are a set of exemplar holiday
     and term dates for sessions 2010/11 to 2014/15, drawn up based on
     the proposals set out in the consultations. These are for illustrative
     purposes only, with the aim of assisting stakeholders in their
     discussions about the proposals.

  6. The views expressed by stakeholders in this consultation will be taken
     into account in proposals for the pattern of school holidays as from
     session 2010/11, which will be considered by the Education, Learning
     & Leisure committee in May.
                          Consultation questions

  1. The current arrangement of a two week October holiday should be


        The last time that this question was raised in a consultation exercise
        there was “overwhelming support” for the two week October break.

Agree                                     Disagree


  2. The current arrangement of a six week summer holiday should be
     retained. (with there being a need for a seven week break every
     four/five years to ensure that the start date of the new session in
     August does not creep back into the second week of August.)


        As above

Agree                                     Disagree

                        Consultation questions

  3. It is proposed that the period of the holiday around Easter should
     become “fixed” at the first two full working weeks of April, rather than
     varying in line with the timing of the Easter weekend.


  This will prevent the holiday falling either on the third week of March, or
  late in April, which can cause significant disruption to secondary schools’
  preparations for the SQA examination diet. Of course, it will also mean
  that, on occasion, the Easter weekend will become “detached” from the
  two week holiday break. (To provide some kind of context, this would
  occur three times in the 10 year period from 2011 to 2020).

Agree                                   Disagree

                        Consultation questions

4. The arrangements whereby Aberdeenshire seeks, as far as is possible,
   consistent with other school holiday design criteria, to align its school
   pattern with neighbouring authorities should continue.


   Many parents/carers and partners of Aberdeenshire employees live in
   Aberdeenshire but work in neighbouring authorities. There is therefore an
   argument for aligning, as far as possible, the pattern of holidays in
   Aberdeenshire with those in Aberdeen City, Moray and Angus councils.

Agree                                   Disagree

                        Consultation questions

5. The arrangement, introduced for the first time in session 2008/09 to “block”
   the “authority” and “school” in service days together as two consecutive
   days (one pair in November and one pair in February) should be


   The current arrangement was introduced in 2008/09 to make the best use
   of “authority” led in service day provision by placing a “school based” in
   service day immediately adjacent to it.

Agree                                   Disagree

                        Consultation questions

   7. The Scottish government announced in January 2009 that there will be
      an additional in-service day during sessions 2008/09, 2009/10 and
      2010/11. The views of stakeholders is sought on then placing of this
      additional day for session 2010/11


      Options include placing the day adjacent to the May holiday (as in
      2008/09), or finding an alternative date in term 4, after the SQA exams.
      (A separate consultation recently took place regarding the placing of an
      additional in-service day during session 2008/09)

Please tick the most favoured option:

Place adjacent to                       Add to term 4 after SQA diet
May public Holiday
                                        At another time (please provide
                                        details below)

                          Consultation questions

8a.     There should be consistency in the timing of “occasional” holiday dates
        across a cluster, and, where possible, greater consistency across


        At present there is a degree of inconsistency in the placing of
        occasional days across Aberdeenshire, which can cause difficulties in
        making childcare (and other) arrangements for some parents/carers
        and employees. Whilst there is a responsibility for the local authority to
        consult appropriate parents representative bodies in determining when
        occasional holidays take place, there was also strong support from all
        stakeholders in the recent 3-18 Curriculum Framework for the notion
        that we should encourage collaborative working between schools,
        which is facilitated by having a greater degree of alignment in the
        determination of holiday patterns, including occasional days.

Agree                                      Disagree

                          Consultation questions

8b.     A new holiday, which all schools would take, should be introduced on,
        or around, St Andrew’s day each year. This would be achieved by
        reducing by one the number of occasional days available to be
        determined locally each year


        In 2007, the Scottish parliament passed the St Andrew’s Holiday
        (Scotland) Act, which signalled the Parliament’s wish to see a greater
        celebration of St Andrew’s day, including the possibility that it become
        a holiday. The act encouraged local authorities to include discussions
        about St Andrew’s Day as part of any local consultations when setting
        the future dates of local holidays. An opportunity now exists to meet
        this aspiration of the Parliament (recently reiterated in a letter from the
        Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning to local
        authority Education Conveners) and at the same time achieve greater
        consistency in the placing of occasional holiday dates across

Agree                                      Disagree

                       Consultation questions
How to submit a response

A response can be submitted in three ways:
1.    By completing a paper copy of this document and posting it to:

      The Education Development Team
      Aberdeenshire Council
      Woodhill House
      Westburn Road
      AB16 5GB

      If using this method please complete and submit a copy of the
      “Details of Respondent” form overleaf.

2.    By completing an electronic copy of this document and emailing it to:

      If using this method please complete and submit a copy of the
      “Respondent information” form overleaf as part of the electronic

3.    By completing an online version of the questionnaire. To respond
      using this method, please send an email to making this request and providing:

      a.    The name of the respondent/group.
      b.    Whether or not the respondent is responding individually or
            representing a group (which should be reflected in the name).
      c.    An email address to which a link to the online survey form can
            be sent.

            We will send a link to the online survey to the designated email
            address. By clicking on this link, you will be able to access the
            online survey form, complete the response and submit it

      In all three cases, the completed submission should reach us no
      later than Friday 1 May 2009.
                             Consultation questions
Respondent Information Form
1.   Name/Organisation
     Organisation name




     The information and views expressed in submissions under this consultation exercise will be
     used by the Education, Learning & Leisure service for the sole for the purpose of informing
     policy and decision making in relation to the issues which fall within the scope of the
     consultation exercise. Other than aggregated summaries of responses in relation to the
     particular consultation questions, the views expressed by individuals or organisations in
     submissions as part of this consultation exercise will not be disclosed to any individual or third
     party outwith Aberdeenshire Council.

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