Academies chain sparks parent fury by changing Christmas holidays

The Birmingham Mail is reporting that a local chain of academies has sparked anger by setting its Christmas holidays at a different time to other schools.

But headteachers claim the move could actually HELP parents clinch cheaper festive breaks.

Last September the Government introduced controversial new rules allowing all state-funded schools to set their own term dates.

Birmingham City Council is recommending a festive break between December 16 and January 3 next year, which most schools and academies will follow.

But Lumen Christi Catholic Multi-Academy (LCMAC), which runs six academies, has used the new powers to close from December 21 until January 9.

Some parents claim the move will spark chaos and potential fines for unauthorised absences.

One anonymous parent of a child who attends St Brigid’s Catholic Primary in Northfield said: “This is an utter nightmare for parents who have children at other schools not in the chain.

“It effectively stretches the Christmas holiday out from December 16 to January 9, which is a nightmare for working parents…”

A spokeswoman for LCMAC said principals at all six schools led the decision-making and the dates were agreed by its board of directors after considering “a range of factors”…

“Whilst we acknowledge that this change may be disappointing to some parents, we also hope that the later return might allow some families to take advantage of reduced-cost holidays or simply recover from Christmas ready to return refreshed and eager to learn at the start of term.”

More at: Birmingham schools spark parent fury by changing Christmas holidays


The chain seems to have made the decision for what they see as the right reasons, but does that become insignificant if other local schools – where siblings may be studying – are following a different timetable?

What’s the right approach when a school or group of schools considers going it alone on holiday dates?

Please give us your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter… 

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  1. Nairb1

    Academies. Free to do what they like … change holidays, pay chief executives over £500,000, alter admission arrangements so challenging and less able pupils don’t get in, sack governing bodies and replace them with their own appointments. Welcome to the wonderful world of autonomous schools free from council ‘control’.

  2. redhappyshoes

    SchoolsImprove I work and live in different LAs and we have a different Feb half term and Easter hol this year. It happens!

  3. There was a reason for all an area’s schools to have the same holidays – to avoid confusion and stretching the holiday period over a longer time making it difficult for working parents and child care.

  4. Britinfloridaus

    This had happened for years. Holidays in outer London council schools have often had different holidays to those in the Home Counties. Many families live on boarders sending children to different local authorities

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Fine if all children attend a school with those holidays; are all the staff happy with this, esp ones with kids elsewhere

  6. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Timing of the holiday move means that unless people choose to go away for under a week in January then no savings available

  7. St Josephs Parent

    This is not for religious reasons, it is purely to ‘bully’ parents into sending their children into the Catholic secondary school that sits within the Academy – the Diocesean Education lead is on the Board of Directors for the Academy, yet he doesn’t feel that this is right for the diocese, only these few schools. He is one of 6 directors with no children at any of the schools yet they feel they are empowered to make such a decision. No consultation with parents, and communicated via the local paper. Woeful

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