State schools to set own term times

State schools are set to be given permission to create their own term times.
State schools are set to be given permission to create their own term times. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

The traditional six-week summer holiday could soon be a thing of the past with state schools set to be given permission to create their own term times.

Local councils will no longer have the authority to tell their schools when terms should start and end, ministers have announced.

The move, which if passed in the new Deregulation Bill would come into effect in September 2015, will allow local authority schools to cut school holidays and introduce longer terms.

ITV News political correspondent Libby Weiner reports:

Education Secretary Michael Gove has previously called for longer school days and term times, warning that the current system is out of date.

Academies and free schools - which are not under council control - are already allowed to determine their own term dates.

The decision is likely to face opposition from teaching unions who already argue that teachers and pupils spend long hours in the classroom.

The Department for Education has insisted it is "right" that schools should be allowed to decide their own term dates.

It is heads and teachers who know their parents and pupils best, not local authorities.

So it is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils.

– A Department for Education spokesman

However, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) warned that proposed changes to give schools control over term times may turn into a "free for all".

The ASCL said schools currently follow the local authority calendar because it suits parents who have children in different schools.