First appeared in The Guardian on 15 September 2011
Government plans to end the six-week school holidays could backfire
Do women want shorter school holidays? Downing Street advisers believe ending the six-week summer break could be one way to stop female voters deserting David Cameron. But what about all those female voters who happen to be teachers?
The UK school holidays are already among the shortest in Europe, over 70% of teachers in primary schools are women, and many of those are parents. “If individual schools have different holiday patterns, there is no guarantee that the teacher’s summer holiday dates will be the same as their child’s,” says Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers. “Teachers would be unable to take time off to look after their own children.”
Although there are concerns that long holidays put pressure on families, she argues that reversing cuts to youth services would win more support. So there.