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County's heads favour five or six term year

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COUNTY education chiefs have been urged by headteachers to “be bold” and abandon the traditional three-term year and switch to a five or six term year instead.

Doug Kimber, of Maplesden Noakes School in Maidstone, said most of his headteacher colleagues regarded the existing three-term year as a nonsense. He was giving evidence before a county council select committee investigating whether Kent should become one of the first education authorities in the country to re-organise the pattern of the school year.

The committee is expected to publish its conclusions and recommendations at the end of March.

Mr Kimber, who chaired a working group of headteachers looking at the issue, told county councillors: “Kent is a large authority with fewer borders than others and should take some leadership. The present structure of the year does not help anyone. It is a nonsense…you cannot plan and have to readjust everything on an annual basis.”

He went on: “There is no question whatsoever that heads want to change. There are enormous benefits for organisation and planning and for the routine of students. The only thing that concerns parents is whether they have children going to different schools with different holidays.”

Urging Kent to “be bold” he added that it was imperative that if KCC did recommend a change that all schools moved to a new five or six-term year at the same time.

Councillors also took evidence from the deputy head of the only secondary school in Kent which has adopted a five term year. William Cotterrell, of Tenterden’s Homewood School, said the transition had created few difficulties for the school and there was some evidence that pupil absences had fallen. However, it was still too early to say whether it had helped improve standards.

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