8th January 1999
NEW STUDY SHOWS SUPPORT FOR
FIVE-TERM SCHOOL YEAR
Schools in the UK could soon be switching to a five-term year if the government takes on board recommendations made in a new report.
A study by academics at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside shows that pupils, teachers and parents are all enthusiastic about the idea of replacing the present school calendar with five eight-week terms and a four-week summer break.
Professors Brent Davies and Trevor Kerry of the university’s International Educational Leadership Centre in Lincoln have been carrying out research in secondary schools where five-term year experiments have been taking place.
Armed with the results of that research they carried out a larger study at Brooke Weston City Technology College in Northamptonshire and found that staff, students and parents overwhelmingly preferred the new system.
The university’s research was today brought to the attention of the Department for Education and Employment which is considering introducing the change in schools in the UK.
“Students at Brooke Weston were very positive about the five-term year,” commented Professor Davies. “They felt it was better than three terms, and all said that the new system helped to spread work more evenly over the year. Many felt that it had made holidays more enjoyable and public places and activity centres less crowded.”
Staff echoed the views of students, giving the system resounding vote of confidence and repeating all the advantages noted by the students, said Professor Davies. They also indicated that the system lowered their stress levels.
“Parents, too, were extremely positive,” added Professor Davies. “They suggested that the five-term year improved learning and lowered students’ stress, and they did not feel that produced problems with family social life. Parents were glad to be rid of the long summer vacation and believed that the evenness of the year, along with the improved deadlines and spread of work, had considerable merits.”
New study shows support for five-term year, contd
The topic of five-term year reorganisation is surrounded by myth, according to Professors Davies and Kerry. The school year does not have to be longer overall, staff do not have to work longer hours, and five-term years work equally well in the primary and secondary sectors.
“Year-round education is based on the view that students of all ages learn continuously, and that a long summer vacation can be disruptive to this process,” said Professor Davies. “The basis for change has to be in the improved education experience of students, but changing the calendar system requires careful negotiation with all affected parties.
“There is now a national debate about the appropriateness of the traditional school calendar in a technological age. Our study is the only systematic research available in an English context.”
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For further information, or a more detailed digest of the study, or to arrange an interview with Brent Davies or Trevor Kerry, please contact:
Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Lincolnshire & Humberside
Tel: 01522 886042
or call Professor Brent Davies direct on: 01522 886075.