Why Michael Gove misses the point about school holidays

You have to give the Rt Hon Michael Gove some credit: he certainly loves making the headlines and stirring it up a bit.

The latest blue-sky thinking or kite flying is all about shortening the summer holidays. At the first reading it does seem strange that term times are still determined by the cycle of food production and a Victorian way of schooling.

However, summer holidays are a key part of childhood and we need to be careful how we treat them. I can remember my six week holidays with a sense of fondness and sense of dread when the back to school signs started appearing.

I would spend hours with friends out and about, riding bikes, exploring the great outdoors, firing the imagination and having fun. It was a chance to recharge the batteries (though I had absolutely no concept of what that meant at the time) and think about everything beyond the school gates.

I loved learning and being at school but kids aren’t on some production line. Its bad enough that kids start school so young compared to other more enlightened countries without getting them to spend more time at school.

My six year old daughter needs to have a break away from the classroom. She loves school and though she is growing up fast and loves learning new things she needs time to down tools. Play is the key word in her vocabulary and we try and foster and encourage it at every opportunity.

Perhaps we should look at the balance of when school holidays are and not try to reduce holiday time for more school time. Kids learn about the life outside of school aswell as in the classroom and we need to get the balance right.


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