Is it time to break with Spain’s long summer holidays?

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Flickr, Juan Carlos Mejía

WHILE schoolchildren in England have not long started their summer holidays, Spanish children have already enjoyed more than five weeks of fun.
In Spain the schools break up at roughly the same time as Scottish pupils escape, towards the end of June. But in Scotland, reluctant children are already being dragged round the back-to-school sections of shops, and swapping their summer wellies for school shoes.
For their peers in Spain, yet more weeks of glorious, sunny freedom stretches out ahead. And when English pupils are herded back to class, in Spain there will still be at least another week for sandcastles and swimming pools.
There are different schools of thought on whether Spain’s three-month long summer holiday is a good thing. In England moves have been made to actually shorten the six-week break, with schools now able to determine their own holiday dates.
That’s been fuelled by suggestions that six weeks is long enough for children’s reading and writing levels to slip back as they forget some of what they’ve learned in term time, according to the UK Institute for Public Policy Research.
The Spanish organisation representing Catholic families, Concapa, agrees, and adds that the three-month break heavily impacts on working parents unable to take the whole time off.
A second body representing parents, Ceapa, has also called for a debate on a change to the summer holiday, suggesting splitting up the holiday time over the year.
However some educationalists argue a cut in holidays is a move in the wrong direction. With access to internet-based, interactive learning, time spent stuck in a classroom is not always the most productive learning experience.
In Scandinavian countries, where many look for the most progressive approaches to childhood, summer holidays are typically 10 to 11 weeks.
So let us know what you think. Is a three-month summer holiday a glorious chance to learn out in the real world while having a series of fantastic adventures? Or is it parents’ worst nightmare, juggling childcare pressure while you watch your children forget all they’ve learned in the winter months?

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