Should school summer holidays be shorter? We ask an expert

Jon Kay of the Education Endowment Foundation thinks a longer school year could help disadvantaged students, but it comes at a price …

In Wales, a proposal to shorten the summer holidays is under review. The Welsh government says it will help close the attainment gap between richer and poorer children – but is it too good to be true? I asked Jon Kay, head of evidence synthesis at the Education Endowment Foundation, a charity focusing on education outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Is it true that summer holidays came about because farmers wanted their kids home to help with the harvest? I hear it’s contested. It’s unusual to have an educational practice so old it can have an origin myth.
It’s remarkable – also how consistent it is. Almost every country in the world has a longer break in summer than at any other time. It used to be that in some areas in the US, agricultural regions had longer summer breaks.

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