A golden opportunity to reshape education

Letters

Juliet Woodin says this is the time to take a radical look at the way school terms and holidays are organised, while John Binks suggests a way that the government can support the arts, sports and informal education sectors

Schoolchildren playing outside
‘Lockdown has reinforced the benefits of outdoor activity and contact with nature.’ Photograph: Alamy
‘Lockdown has reinforced the benefits of outdoor activity and contact with nature.’ Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Mon 15 Feb 2021 12.01 EST

“This spring and summer should not be filled with extra lessons” (Call for ‘summer of play’ to help English pupils recover from Covid-19 stress, 13 February). Lockdown has reinforced the benefits of outdoor activity and contact with nature.

This is the time to take a radical look at the way school terms and holidays are organised, with a view to permanent change in the future. The objectives would be to increase school holiday time during the warmer months (when time can be spent outdoors and UK holidays enjoyed), with more, shorter holidays rather than the current long summer holiday. The timing of GCSEs and A-levels has often been cited as an objection to such changes, but there is increasing support for university offers to be made after exam results are published, which will require the scheduling of exams to be looked at anyway. We have a golden opportunity to shape a different future.
Juliet Woodin
West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire

• Further to Sally Weale’s article, wouldn’t this be a good opportunity for the government to support the arts, sports and informal education sectors by inviting them to offer free places to children on courses they run within their specialisms, paid for by central government.

This would provide a boost to local arts companies, theatres, sports clubs, outdoor education centres and similar organisations, while giving children supplementary educational opportunities to address some of what they have lost in the pandemic. It would also assist parents in providing some organised activities during the long holiday at no cost.
John Binks
Yeadon, Leeds