‘Long summer holidays harm disadvantaged pupils – so scrap them’

The long summer holiday – introduced a century ago because children were needed to help bring in the harvest – should be scrapped, an expert on child poverty has said. Tes reports.

Child food poverty policy advisor Lindsay Graham is calling for a “radical rethink” of the long summer break arguing it is “a travesty” that the holiday has been retained.

She says it allows disadvantaged children to become disengaged from “social support and the will to learn”, and “some of our best equipped and most child friendly community assets” to lie empty.

She said they became “isolated”, had limited outside play or physical activity and “little of the ‘fun’ that other more privileged children might experience during the breaks”.

As well as calling for a review of “the positioning and timings of school holidays” Ms Graham also suggested providing a holiday benefit to families with children on free school meals akin to the winter fuel payment to help cover extra costs.

The figures – uncovered by Northumbria University researchers – demonstrated the huge impact of unhealthy eating habits and hunger during the summer holidays, particularly among the country’s poorest children.

Already the education committee inquiry has heard about the limited experiences and opportunities disadvantaged children have and the impact this has on their attainment.

Read more ‘Long summer holidays harm disadvantaged pupils – so scrap them’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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