For the teachers’ mental health, schools will be taking a 2-week break in October. This is despite the fact that the Covid pandemic has caused some concern among pupils.
Nearly a third of multi-academy trusts and one in five local authorities now take a fortnight off in the autumn term, with headteachers saying they need the longer break for the ‘wellbeing’ of staff, according to analysis by The Telegraph.
According to a survey, 31 multi-academy trusts that operate secondary schools provide a two week half-term break in October. Of the 149 local authorities participating, only 30 offer the two-week fall holiday. Bromley (Kent, Peterborough and Peterborough) – These three countries will introduce it in 2022 for the first-time.
Schools are allowed to set holiday times, as long as they follow the prescribed 190-day teaching minimum. These days can be made up by local authorities elsewhere in the year. Multi-academy trusts were converted to a holiday-model for two weeks.
Families are confused by the extension of the half-term in October, which is being attributed to the coronavirus’s impact on schools.
Molly Kingsley is co-founder of UsForThem parent advocacy group. She said that this year was not the right time to raise the school day for students.
Children don’t require a vacation after having had six weeks of summer holidays. This is quite bizarre. For parents with working children, it is all well and good to have a 2-week vacation. However, for many parents without work, this can be very difficult.
But Darren Gelder, executive principal at Grace Academy in Solihull, says the move to two-week breaks is becoming more popular among state schools – and it is important to consider that many teachers leave the profession because of burnout.
He explained that it was very simple. A two-week break is not necessary. One of the terms will likely be eight weeks in length and everyone is broken.
Shortly before Christmas, Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi had warned that schools would likely see disruption until Easter amid Omicron-sparked staff absences – as he issued a desperate call for qualified teachers to sign up to help.
Surveys revealed that 31 of the 102 multi-academy trusts operating secondary schools offer a half-term vacation in October. Among 149 local authorities 30 have the autumn holiday for two weeks. Three, namely, Bromley, Peterborough, and Kent.
Mr Gelder, who sits on the National Association of Headteachers’ executive committee, said his own school switched about five years ago, and staff valued the October half-term break as the ‘most important’ thing for their wellbeing.
When Nadhim Zahawi was made Education Secretary in September, Dame Rachel de Souza warned him that schools must never close again in future lockdowns.
‘The harms done of losing education are immense,’ England’s Children’s Commissioner said, revealing how her Big Ask survey of youngsters’ views found that ‘children like school’ and ‘realised how sitting in front of the computer is no proxy for being with a teacher’.
It was correct in previous lockdowns of schools to be closed because that was the scientific consensus.
She added, “I don’t want schools to close again.” This is really crucial.
Already concerns have already been raised regarding the reopening of schools in the wake of Christmas. Paul Whiteman of National Association of Head Teachers has warned that pupils may be sent home if the school doesn’t have sufficient staff.
Geoff Barton (general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders) told BBC that absentees reached a ‘unsustainable level’ at certain schools. Some schools saw up to 25% of their staff leave in the week before Christmas.
“We are not sure what the week ahead will be like.” He said that while we don’t want to be a catastrophe, we do believe we need to have some sanity.
Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi has warned that schools will likely see disruption until Easter as a rise in Omicron cases sparks a wave of staff absences.
Mr Zahawi issued a desperate call for qualified teachers to sign up to help, calling on qualified teachers – who left the profession or who pursued other careers – to apply on the Get Into Teaching website as soon as possible.
Schools have been experiencing low attendance from both teachers and pupils ahead of the winter break, and Department for Education (DfE) officials admitted yesterday that they expect Omicron to bring about high levels of staff absence throughout the spring term.
The Government is now asking retired teachers to ‘come forward and join the national mission’ amid fears that the number of teachers forced into self-isolation by the coronavirus variant could lead to school closures or entire year groups being sent home.
Education Secretary Mr Zahawi said: ‘It has been my absolute priority since day one in the role to do everything in my power to protect education – which is why today I am asking any teachers no longer in the profession to come forward if they are available to temporarily fill absences in the new year.
“Although 99.9% schools were open consistently this term, Omicron cases are increasing so we need to make sure that colleges and schools continue being open for face-toface education.
“Anyone that thinks they could help should start the process now on Get Into Teaching. Everybody should be boosted to lessen the disruption of the virus in new years.
DfE released a statement saying that the Omicron variant was expected to lead to increased staff absence levels during spring term. Local areas could struggle to locate sufficient supply teachers, unless ex-staff come forward.
The Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England and NHS Improvement Dr Nikki Kanani also asked teachers and school personnel to have a Covid booster jab.
Because of fears about teachers being forced into isolation by coronavirus, the government asked them to retire and join the nation’s mission.
Dr Kanani is a South East London GP who said, “We are asking teachers to come forward during school holidays in order to get protected before school begins again.”
We have pop-ups, mobile units and are working closely with leaders of faith and communities to provide protection for all. So please, come forward.
According to the Department for Education, (DfE), some areas might struggle to hire enough supply teachers if former employees are not contacted.
DfE staff eligible to come forward, who are not working on the Department’s own covid response, will be released to do so.
Disclosure and Barring Service stated that it would be ready to handle any increase in demand.