Sunderland school gives students at least 15 WEEKS holiday next year

A Sunderland school has claimed it is extending its holiday time by two weeks in order to give pupils a more rounded education.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 24 June, 2019, 07:40
Southmoor Academy, Ryhope Road, Sunderland

Southmoor Academy will give its pupils an second week off in October and an extra week in July at the start of the summer holiday starting from the next academic year.

If Sunderland City Council decides to begin Autumn 2020 term on Monday September 7, rather than Tuesday September 1, this would mean an eight-week summer break. Changes to the school day means that students will still start at 8.30am, but rather than end at 3.05pm, run to 2.45pm on Mondays and then until 3.35pm for the remainder of the week.

The Academy’s leaders say the move is part of efforts to improve the school and offer a “much broader curriculum” and say there is no intention to make “family life more difficult”, and it will offer additional activites during the extra holidays.

Additional activities for the October half term include a three-day trip to Disneyland Paris and a day trip to Alton Towers, at extra cost. The school and Sunderland Community Action Group will also be putting on free-of-charge activities and local day trips.

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Steve Garrett, chief executive officer of the Southmoor Academy Trust, has said the changes will mean it can offer more choice from subjects including drama, art, photography, psychology and engineering “at no cost to the core learning.”

He added: “This change has been driven by a focus on standards and we realise that standards will not be raised by cutting the time students spend with their teachers. That’s why we have ensured that overall, pupils actually spend significantly more time in the classroom, not less.”

Mr Garrett said: “Four parents have contacted us for further information so they could plan ahead, often to book holidays.

“We recognise that parental support is often the key to our success and we have no desire to make family life more difficult.

“That’s why, during the two weeks, our school will be open to all pupils and will offer a range of extra curricular opportunities which will enrich the pupils school experience.”