Headlines: September 5th, 2000

Just as most children return to school this week after the long summer holiday, a new report is recommending an end to long terms with long gaps in between. An Independent Commission on the Organisation of the School Year set up by the Local Government Association (LGA) argues for a six-term year and summer holidays to run from July to mid-August. Exams would be conducted earlier, in April.Among the other recommendations are a fixed two week break for Easter, regardless of when the religious festival occurs. The benefits of the change cited are that holidays would be taken during better weather and longest days, that there would be benefits to the tourist industry, and that earlier exams would help hay fever sufferers. The new system would then allow universities to select on the basis of real, not predicted, A level grades.

The authors of the report hope to generate intensive consultation with teachers, parents, local communities and ministers in Whitehall. ‘The Rhythms of the School Year’, is available priced 20 pounds (10 pounds for local authorities and non-profit organisations) from the LGA’s selling agents on 020 7296 6600. Please quote LGA code EDO43. A summary is available on the LGA’s website: www.lga.gov .