Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you to all who contributed their views to the proposal for a two-week break in the autumn term.

Our review of the trial of the two-week break in 2023 showed that in the period between the half-term break and Christmas:

  • pupil absence due to illness was less in every trust school in 2023 than in 2022, and overall reduced by 25%
  • staff absence reduced by 50%

In our recent consultation we received 2929 responses from parents, 58% in favour of a two-week break and 42% against the proposal.

We have looked carefully at the comments of those who are not in favour of the proposal. Some parents felt that the break is a good idea but that the time should be taken from another holiday. Others would rather see a two-week break in May. Some parents were frustrated that their children were ill despite the longer break.

We have made up the learning time this year by extending the school day so that there is the same amount of learning time in 37 weeks as there previously was in 38. We have also extended the lunchtime break to allow students better access to lunchtime clubs.

We are lucky to have a lot of space and sports resources at Samuel Ward.  We would be very happy to make our site available for a holiday childcare scheme during the second week of the break if enough parents wanted us to. We will extend that offer to families at Westfield and other local primary schools as well.

We have decided that we will be having a two-week break in the autumn term. In 2024, this will be from Monday 28th October to Friday 8th November.

Best wishes,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher