Dereham Neatherd High School

Dereham Neatherd High School

Traditional, Inclusive, Supportive

Outcome of term dates consultation

Final report: Term dates consultation for 2018/19

Thank you to everyone who was able to respond to our recent consultation on term dates for the 2018/19 academic year. We have spent some time considering everyone’s views and are pleased to present the following brief report.

Decision:

Having considered the range of views, we have decided to continue to use the Norfolk Model School Calendar for 2018/19. This means that our term dates will be the same as most other Norfolk schools. A copy of this calendar is attached.

Background:

Senior leaders were concerned that the Local Authority’s model school calendar for 2018/19 had some missed opportunities and did not make the very best use of learning time. With our Trustees’ permission, we put together three alternative calendars and put these proposals out for consultation. We asked parents, members of staff and leaders of feeder primary schools to choose their preference from four options. Options A, B and C were our alternative proposed calendars. Option D was to continue to follow the Norfolk Model Calendar.

The consultation closed on Friday 9th February.

Response:

We received 175 responses. Of these:

  • 65% were from parents of students currently at Neatherd
  • 18% were from members of staff at Neatherd
  • 13% were from parents of Year 6 students planning to transfer to Neatherd this September
  • The remainder were from cluster primary school heads and governors.

Preferences stated were as follows:

  • Option A (more time in September and October; less in July): 29%
  • Option B (more time in October and December; less in July): 21%
  • Option C (more time in September, October and December; less in July): 18%
  • Option D (none of the above: continue to use Norfolk Model Calendar): 32%

The most frequent reasons given for opposing the move away from the Norfolk Model Calendar were:

  1. Difficulty booking family holidays if children in different schools have different holiday dates, potentially leading to higher levels of unauthorised absence, higher costs and families missing out on holidays
  2. Additional costs and / or challenge in securing childcare in cases where siblings are in different schools with different term dates

Rationale for our decision:

Option D was the most popular response. Although it could be argued that a majority of people stated a preference for some form of change (by choosing options A, B or C), there was no overall consensus as to which alternative calendar to use.

Furthermore, there was considerable strength of feeling from parents about the potentially negative impact on family wellbeing if our term dates were different from those of other local schools, including the impact on when family holidays can be taken and the potential for increased childcare costs.

The purpose of this consultation was to measure the extent to which these sorts of issues would be a real problem for families, balanced against our belief that the calendar could be amended to make better use of learning time. It is clear that any changes would create additional problems for a significant number of families. We understand these concerns and appreciate the real importance of quality family time together. We also understand how difficult, and costly, childcare provision can be for many families, and would not wish to take any action that will contribute even further to this.

We have therefore decided to continue to adopt the Norfolk Model Calendar for the 2018/19 academic year. The school’s Trustees have discussed and ratified this decision.

Thank you once more to all parents and colleagues who took the time to respond to this consultation.

Yours sincerely

Mr J. Mallett

Deputy Head