School holiday changes agreed by Falkirk Council

Parents and teachers in Falkirk voted overwhelmingly to add an extra week to the schools’ October holiday and lose a week in the summer.

By Kirsty Paterson
Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 12:30 pm

Falkirk Council is now ready to give the go-ahead to make the change – but it won’t happen until Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils announce the results of their consultations.

It is understood that both neighbouring authorities have had a positive response from parents and teachers to the proposal, but neither council has had any formal meetings yet since the lockdown started in March.

Here in Falkirk, a meeting of the council’s emergency executive agreed that the change could be given the go-ahead as soon as the other Forth Valley councils announce their decisions.

Pupils could soon find themselves with a two-week break in October

Director of Children’s Services Robert Naylor said the change had been suggested for two main reasons: to help the growing number of children and families in poverty for whom the long school holidays are very difficult; and to stop all children being away from school for too long, to ensure continuity of learning.

Councillor Paul Garner said it was particularly important to people in Denny who have children at St Patrick’s Primary – in the Falkirk council area – and St Modan’s High School, which is in the Stirling council area.

“All of the parents I spoke to were supportive of it, with the thought that St Modan’s had to come on board as well, or it wouldn’t really work,” he said.

A consultation which ran from November last year to January revealed that of the 9427 responses received 6275 were from parents, guardians or carers, and nearly 80 per cent of them were in favour of the proposal.

Pupils were also entitled to give their opinion and 972 made their feelings known, with 67.5 per cent of them in favour.

Employees too were consulted and of 2137 responses received 79.3 per cent were in favour.

A report to Falkirk Council also reveals that there were 43 responses from Parent Councils, with 27 of them saying yes to the proposals.

If implemented, the proposals would mean new school year/term starting on the second full week in August rather than the third full week.

The October holiday would start on the Monday of the first full week in )ctober and would last for two weeks.

Any changes will not come into effect until 2022/23 as next year’s holiday dates have already been published.

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