Working mums overwhelmingly believe that the summer holidays should be shorter, according to a poll by Workingmums.co.uk.
The poll of over 300 mums found 85% mums said the holidays should be shorter. Just 15% said they should not be shorter.
One woman said simply: “Society has changed and many families have to work, placing added strain and childcare difficulties during the long summer break. Children benefit from a break, but are often bored by halfway through. It also places an added financial burden on families. Children from low income families often go hungry in school holidays as they don’t receive the free meal that they receive when they’re at school.”
Several suggested reducing the summer holiday and adding the other weeks to half terms. One mum said: “I think about four weeks is sufficient and make May half term and another longer.” Others said their kids got bored after three or four weeks and that the cost of entertaining children was too high.
One mum said: “My daughter is itching to get back to school by September to see her friends and get back to normality. It’s not just too long and too expensive for parents. I think the kids find it too long as well. Reducing the holiday by two weeks and perhaps redistributing it to another holiday such as Christmas or Easter would not necessarily reduce the cost, but it would spread the cost more evenly throughout the year making it more manageable in a family cashflow. It would also allow the children to have a more even distribution of holiday.”
But another mum added that, though she would like to see holidays shortened, she was completely against allowing schools to choose their holiday times as she thought this would result in chaos for families with children at more than one school.
Other mums just felt children had too many holidays. One mum said: “I feel kids have more time off than they spend at school, some of these holidays should be cut not only the 6 weeks holiday.”
However, there was a significant number of mums who were against change. They thought it was society that needed changing, not school holidays. One mum said: “The issue of finding childcare won’t change whenever you have the school holidays and those who think extending the school year is the answer need to think again. That would result in exhausted teachers, over stressed children and Parents having to fork out even more to go on holiday as the opportunity to go gets reduced even more and the holiday companies hike up the prices.” She added: “I feel very sad for this generation of school children, where 80% spend 10 hours a day in school because Parents who work are forced to use the wrap around care the school provide or who use other childcare providers to fill the gaps. Then the parents are so exhausted when they do get home, the time they spend with their children is not necessarily of the highest quality. Wouldn’t it be nice to see your child as they grow up and not just when the education system has finished bringing them up for you?”
Another said children needed long holidays. She stated: “The six-week holiday is what children look forward to the most and to be honest, teachers deserve the time off as much as the children. It’s not affecting your child’s education as everyone is in the same boat and it is understandable with regards to the financial situation, but if the holidays are shortened, there will be more problems. When I was in primary school, I used to actually think to myself I see my teacher more than I see my parents?
And one said: “I do not think the holidays should be shorter. I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend with my five children in the summer- they are children for such a short time and we should relish the time we spend with them. I know people complain about childcare etc but that’s something they should have thought about before they had their kids. I know I’m fortunate in that my husband has his own business and I can spend all my time with the kids, but wishing your children are at school all summer is sad – both for the kids and the parents.”