School Summer Holidays - Is it Time to Shorten Them?

Like many working parents, I struggle to find childcare and other ways to fill the long summer holidays - and I wonder whether it's time to make a change



Here we go again

Unless you're fortunate enough to work in a school or college, the long summer holidays can present a real problem for families.

I can't believe they're nearly here again - it only feels like ten minutes ago that the last one was upon us. In fact, my poor old credit card has only just recently recovered.

The worst thing is, apart from planning the odd day out here and there, is that we have left it ridiculously late to book a holiday and haven't even decided where we're going or would even like to go.

The kids obviously want to go anywhere where there's a massive water park so that's something to work with I suppose, but I have this awful feeling that, unless I pull my finger out, we're going to end up in a caravan in Skegness.

Note: There's nothing wrong with Skegness of course, just not keen on the idea of staring at the tops of my kids heads for a week as they play on their tablets because it's pouring down outside - let's face it, the weather has not been kind to us so far this summer.

Universal problem for working parents

I know I'm not alone. Nearly every working parent I speak to agrees that planning out the summer holidays around our other work/life commitments presents the same headache to us all, simply due to the fact that school summer holidays are so very long! I've often thought they should be shorter, despite this being incredibly unpopular with school children of course.

But as I sit here, thinking of where to go on holiday, whether we can afford it, how long we should or could go away for, and how to juggle the rest of the summer - I really do think there could be a better, more efficient way for schools to manage term time and holidays, in order to accommodate and help busy families.

One idea that has been mooted about quite a lot is to shorten the school day and give fewer holidays. This seems like a good idea, but would need to be cost efficient for families paying for after school childcare. An area for the Government to look at perhaps, but they seem to have quite a lot to sort out already at the moment!

Move it to Christmas!

I don't have a problem with the rest of the school holidays, just the summer one. Personally, I'd like to see that one shortened down to four weeks with maybe a slightly longer Christmas or Easter break. It would certainly work for me at Christmas.

If I had my way it would be compulsory for schools and businesses to shut down at the end of November to allow Christmas obsessives like me to submerge themselves into all things festive. Yes, I know, that's very silly. But seriously, I think a shorter summer holiday would work well for most working families.

Right, off now to browse the web for bargain breaks in the sun. Maybe I should also stock up on board games for our caravan too, just in case...

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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