MORE consultation should be held with parents on school term dates for the 2022/23 school year, according to the Isle of Wight Council's scrutiny body.

The plan is to scrap the two-week October half term and instead use the spare time at Christmas, giving staff and pupils time to recharge their batteries.

The decision to approve the 2022/23 school term dates will be made at the Isle of Wight Council's cabinet on Thursday (July 15), after two rounds of consultation with headteachers and school executives, but the corporate scrutiny committee voted five to two to recommend further consultation - this time with parents and carers.

Speaking at the meeting yesterday, Cllr Matthew Price said previous consultations with parents had shown interest in an alternative week at some point in the school calendar when mainland schools are not on holiday.

Cllr Price said some parents were unable to take time off in the school holidays or could not afford to do activities, so a week out of kilter would benefit many people.

He said: "I do respect the view of the leadership of the school but some parents rely on that week as the only week they can have off in the whole year to spend time with their children and I think it would be totally unfair not to go out and consult on it."

Cllrs Geoff Brodie and Michael Lilley voted against the proposal, saying headteachers know their parents best.

Cllr Lilley said even though he has empathy for what Cllr Price was suggesting he could not vote for it and they have to respect the decision headteachers have asked for, especially after they have led schools through Covid.

Cllr Debbie Andre, cabinet member for children's education, said the strong message coming through to her from speaking with headteachers was the length of the Christmas holiday.

She said: "I have made my decision on what was the majority from the responses but let's not forget our Island children are the priority so I also made my decision on what I would thought would be best for educational outcomes."

Feedback from schools across the Island found 23 of 31 responses supported have a longer Christmas break and of those 23, 14 wanted to return to the same pattern used in most other local authorities with a one-week October half term.

A response from one school who wanted to have the same holiday pattern as other areas said there has been no evidence to show the changes made to the Island's holiday times had made any sort of benefit to children and adults.

They said: "The traditional pattern puts us in line with other local authorities and further lessens the difference between us and the rest of humanity."

If cabinet approve the term dates on Thursday, here are dates for your diary from September 2022:

  • Autumn term: starts on Thursday, September 1 and ends on Friday, December 16 (Half term from Monday, October 24 to Friday, October 28)
  • Spring term: starts on Tuesday, January 3 2023 and ends on Friday, March 31 (Half term from Monday, February 13 to Friday, February 17)
  • Summer term: starts on Monday, April 17 and ends on Friday, July 21 (Half term from Monday, May 29 to Friday, June 2)