“Good for teachers, terrible for parents” – your opinions on Sunderland pupils getting 15 weeks off a year

“Is this an April Fool?” and “is this setting kids up for real life?” are among the public responses to a school’s plan to give its pupils at least 15 weeks holiday a year.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 04:30 am
Updated Monday, 24th June 2019, 16:20 pm
Southmoor Academy, in Ryhope Road, Sunderland, will enjoy 15 weeks off school from September.

The changes at Southmoor Academy, in Ryhope Road, Sunderland, will see youngsters enjoy an extra week off during both October and over the summer.

But academy chief executive Steve Garrett insists the 2019-20 timetable – in which the school day will last 50 minutes longer from Tuesdays-Fridays – will ensure “pupils actually spend significantly more time in the classroom, not less”.

Lawrence Redmond, responding to our story on the Echo’s Facebook page, said “is this an April Fools?” while Paul Fletcher added “is this setting kids up for real life?”

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Rachael Collinson Mather also wrote: “Absolutely terrible for all working parents out there it’s already tough enough finding child care for most.

Gordon Greenman added: “I suppose it's great for the teacher and kids, but what about working/one parent families. How are they supposed to get childminders for all this extra time?”

Other Facebook commentators, however, were more sympathetic.

Rachel Elizabeth Marshall said: “If teachers get more time off it does work out better for pupils. Current workloads are unsustainable and teacher retention at a low due to the stress of the job so any extra week or so where staff can plan and rest instead of just plan and stress would be helpful to long term success in classrooms.”

Alison Thexton added: “If only they could see the extra hours put in and the time spent planning and preparing I’m sure they’d see things differently. Work doesn’t end for a teacher after a days work.”