Longer school days and shorter summer holidays being considered by the Government
Longer school days, shorter summer holidays and five-term years could be introduced to help pupils catch up on lost learning, the education secretary has said.
Gavin Williamson confirmed that the measures were being examined by the Government as part of proposals to get schoolchildren up to speed after months of missed face-to-face teaching during the pandemic.
Speaking to Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Education Secretary said ministers are ‘looking at’ an overhaul of the entire school system.
He said a five-term year was under consideration which would mean students would miss out on a six-week summer break.
"We're looking at holidays, we're looking at lengthening the school day, we're looking at a whole range of measures,” Mr Williamson said.
“But also measures such as enhancing the support we give to teachers, supporting them in their professional development, making sure they can be the very best of themselves.”
Mr Williamson said Sir Kevan Collins, the government's education recovery commissioner, would be looking at what measures to introduce over the next 18 months and that he has been asked to "leave no stone unturned" in coming up with plans for a catch-up programme.
Schools in England are reopening to all pupils today, March 8, in the first step in a phased return to normality after months of lockdown.
Children have been learning from home since the beginning of January after schools were forced to shut amid a second surge of Covid-19 cases.
Mr Williamson said schools reopening marked the first stage of opening up society as part of lockdown easing.
“This is our first step, our real first step in terms of moving out of national lockdown and it is our schools that are leading the way,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“We are very much factoring in as part of the road map that actually schools will be staying open.
“That is why we are taking a cautious approach because we intend for it to be an irreversible approach and that schools will continue to remain open.”
He also gave a guarantee that schools would return after the Easter holidays.