Break up long school holidays and show more respect for teachers, shadow minister tells Worcester students (From Worcester News)
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Break up long school holidays and show more respect for teachers, shadow minister tells Worcester students
Buy this photo » MY VISION: Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg talks to Worcester sixth-formers. Picture by John Anyon. (3713403504)
SCHOOL holidays need to be shortened in the summer, according to the shadow education secretary, speaking on a trip to Worcester.
Stephen Twigg, who was visiting Worcester Sixth Form College, also said he is sick of politicians indulging in “anti-teacher” rhetoric and insisted it harms morale.
The Labour MP went on a tour of the planned new science block before taking part in an opinionated question and answer session with students.
He told your Worcester News he was in favour of breaking up the summer holiday in favour of extending breaks at other times of the year.
“There’s been a lot of discussion around this ‘summer slide’, where the holidays go on for so long that there comes a point where learning stops and children begin to go backwards,” said Mr Twigg.
“There is a case for a shorter summer break, but I would want changes to the other breaks so it works out the same overall.
“It’s something that has to be decided locally because I don’t feel that we could impose those changes on a school, but it’s something I think should be looked at.”
He cited the example of Nottingham, where a five-term year is now in place so pupils return to school in late August after a four-week break.
Fortnightly breaks are scheduled for the autumn, at Christmas, in spring and then late May to even up the periods out the classroom.
During the Q&A, Mr Twigg was asked about a possible coalition with the Liberal Democrats and replied that the party had to be open to talks in the event of a hung parliament in 2015.
“I hope it’s a bridge we don’t have to cross, but 2015 will be different to 2010 and the last general election, in that back then we hadn’t given a lot of thought to it, but this time around that will happen,” he said. “You have to be sensible and level-headed about it, but of course we will be working very hard to get an overall majority.”
He also said he was tired of politicians from all parties criticising teachers, something he believes has carried on for years.
“I wonder at the level of morale among teachers,” he said.
“The way you get to a high level of respect about the profession is the rhetoric from politicians. For a long time in this country that level of rhetoric has been anti-teacher, and that’s not just the current Government.”
During the session he also attacked education secretary Michael Gove for the proposed A-level reforms, saying he was against it, and insisted more trust should be placed in teachers.
“The message I often get is that the pace of change can be a hindrance to the education system. There’s been too much political tinkering,” he said.