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Schools, parents and other interested parties will shortly be invited to give their views on proposals for changes to school term and holidays dates for the academic year 2018/19.

Barnsley Council is undertaking this wide consultation to raise awareness of the options available and provide an opportunity for a varied range of people to contribute to the discussion.

Three options are being presented for consideration and feedback:

  1. An alternative pattern which amends the summer and October half term break, with an additional week being given in October and a week less being given during the summer. Evidence suggests that this pattern reduces the risk of learning loss which pupils experience over a long summer break and equalises the split of holiday weeks over the full school year. This is the council’s preferred option.
  2. The long summer break which is the pattern currently followed.
  3. A further alternative pattern which fixes the Easter break on an annual basis. As the Easter period can vary significantly from year to year this would everyone involved the knowledge that this period would always remain the same, rather than changing year on year, allowing all to plan well in advance.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Achieving Potential) said: “We want to hear the views of as many people as possible to ensure everyone affected by these proposed changes has an opportunity give their opinion and ensure the best possible educational outcome is achieved.”

The consultation will be open from 9am on Monday, 7 November and ends at 5pm on Friday, 2 December.

Following the consultation period, an analysis of the results will take place and will be presented for consideration by Barnsley Council Cabinet members in February 2017.

The adopted pattern will then be circulated to schools and other interested parties during March 2017, for implementation in the academic year 2018/19.

There may still be variations across the borough as voluntary aided schools and academies determine their own pattern of school term time and holidays. These schools and academies will be included in the consultation process in order that dates are unified as far as possible across Barnsley.