April 7: School holidays have stood the test of time

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

NOT for the first time, Jayne Dowle puts her young son at the centre of her column (The Yorkshire Post, April 2). She asks what is the point of school holidays. If this were to filter down to her son’s Barnsley classmates I can just here them: “Eyup, Dowlie, I reckon thi’ mam wants to do away wi t’schooil ‘oladies.”

Of course this is very unlikely but I wonder what teachers and pupils would make of her negative view of holidays and the vague argument of “persuading pupils to take responsibility for their own learning”.

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She claims that pupils forget some of what they have learnt during the term.

Perhaps, but the alternative would be more serious: pupils as well as teachers get jaded and need a break.

As a teacher, I didn’t relish “back to school” any more than I did as a pupil, but the new broom of September, especially, found the children keen to see their friends again, refreshed and more willing. My guess is that more learning takes place during the autumn term than any other time of the year.

The present holiday system has stood the test of time and is good enough for all advanced nations, notably Germany, where formal education doesn’t even start until the age of six.