Long summer break & the effect on learning

The Local Government Association is calling for “a common sense approach” to parents when taking their children out of school to go on holiday. Parents who take their children on holiday during term time can be fined £60 unless they have the permission of the headteacher. But what are the effects of children having longer school holidays. Professor Pamela Sammons, Oxford University, gave this expert reaction:

“We do know that children with poor attendance do less well and that it is important not to disrupt learning.

For example you could miss important topics in maths or English if taken out for 1 or 2 weeks in a typical half term period. If taken at end or start of term it can lengthen the summer break which is a significant point as this is associated with a fall off in reading and maths skills for disadvantaged children.

Again it may not affect all individuals, but across groups it is likely to be negative in impact.”


Research produced with Professor Paul von Hippel. Links to academic references are below.

‘Achievement, learning, and seasonal impact as measures of school effectiveness: it’s better to be valid than reliable,’ Paul T. von Hippel

Summer Learning Loss: The Problem and Some Solutions. By Harris Cooper


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