Finally – The Lumen Christi Proposal to Change the Christmas 2016 Term Dates

Forget what you have read in the tabloids or have heard at Parent Forums here is the truth…

The proposal tabled at the meeting by Hollie Parish on which the Principles and Directors of the Lumen Christi Academy Company voted to change the Christmas Term Dates for 2016. We haven’t got an info-graphic for this yet but the decision was made by 8 people (we think) after three calls for votes and 2 board members resignations which affected roughly 2450 pupils across the MAC. To-date 304 people / families have signed a petition against this decision. What do you think of their reasoning?

Lets can be debated this publicly because it serves the public interest of increasing accountability and transparency.

Please note some of the information has been redacted by Lumen and the original document in which we have referenced the contents below was shared to us from here. A couple of things shout out at us –  use of the word ‘I’ and reference to staff sickness.  ‘I CONSULTED’ with the SLT, thats some consultation that is, what about staff and parents. Its seems St Thomas Aq and St Brigid’s have an issue with staff sickness – why?  Further analysis coming soon…

The autumn term, although long gives us a valuable opportunity to drive standards and learning of our Y11, 12 and 13 students in preparation for their Trial exams which take place in December. The later term end would enable us to spend more time on this valuable preparation. Friday 16th –Tuesday 3rd gives two complete weeks and one day so no detrimental effect on pupil attendance.
I have ……. received communications from a number of local schools who are also proposing similar changes to ours. This would obviously impact on families with siblings etc. Finishing on Wednesday 21st December is very close to Christmas for staff who have things to organise.
I have consulted with SLT who are in favour of the changes. Finishing on Wednesday 21st would cause many pupils not to bother coming in for the last two days- thus affecting attendance figures.
This is an item for discussion at our Staff Union Liaison meeting after school this afternoon and I can feed back further after that, however I feel that they will be in support of the changed dates. The Autumn term is already the longest term by far and often staff in Primary Schools are exhausted by December – why make it even longer by continuing into the next week?
We have been very badly hit with illness this half term. There is usually an increased number at this time however last week we have an average of 7-9 teaching staff absent each day (and this week may not be much better) I feel that with a longer period of rest and a later start to the year that this would help to alleviate this same situation next year. – Somehow this half term always seems to be hardest!!  

The Spring term is the shortest term by far-why make it even shorter by coming back as late as 9th January?

As a Catholic school, with Christ at the centre we feel that Christmas is always rushed as we are focusing on Advent and the last week is always a rushed effort focusing on this special event in our liturgical calendar. By finishing on 21st Dec we feel that we could spend quality time on Christmas throughout the curriculum. Coming back to work on Friday 6th January means the holiday only spans two weekends whereas leaving the dates as they are they span three weekends giving everyone more opportunity to go away visiting friends and family.
The RE curriculum is so full and covering the requirements for Advent is almost impossible. Staff have found it difficult to cover Advent and Christmas in the latter part of the Autumn term. It isn’t possible or relevant to teach about Christmas in January. By working up to 21st December, staff feel that they would have more time to cover the Christmas units. On average over the last two years only a third of pupils at ……………… have gone on to ………………. which means that two thirds of the pupils would have different holidays to siblings in other secondary schools.
If we were in school until 21st December we could make sure that the children had the opportunity to visit the crib in church and take part in celebrations in church right up to finishing school. Are the people suggesting this change wanting the change for the ‘good of all’ or for a personal reasons? such as a holiday away etc.
The Autumn term / December is always rushed with nativity plays/ carol services/ parties etc. Having more time would mean that we could spread these events out over a few weeks rather than having them all in the last week of the term. Are the people suggesting this change wanting the change for the ‘good of all’ or for a personal reasons? such as a holiday away etc.
If we returned to school on 6th Jan- a Friday- we could have this as an INSET day for staff and pupils and parents would have had three weekends within their Christmas holidays. 2 out of the 6 Principals work in another school that would continue with the LA holidays. This means these two Principals would lose 3 day’s holiday as they would break up on 20 th December but go back on 3 rd January.
Working parents would benefit from a later finish as most finish around 23rd December. If their children finished on 16th December then this could cause child care issues. We had exactly this same discussion with Consortium. Obviously people like to have three week-ends off. However they have decided to go with the LA dates for a number of reasons –staff having children/partners working in other schools with different dates. Families would not be on holiday together. We are also out of sync with other agencies we work with.
As a school we feel that by finishing on 16th Dec our parents would find the nine non-school days up to Christmas very challenging. Excited children to keep at bay and the expense of keeping them busy and entertained so long before Christmas is a concern for us. ………………….. have not changed their dates so I would have a problem managing my time as…………………… will be breaking up on 16th Dec – one school would lose out.
We have a number of vulnerable ……………. families who would struggle financially with an early finish. They will be spending money on gifts for their children for Christmas and would now have the additional costs of looking after their children for these nine days. I personally would prefer time before Christmas to prepare for my family. ………………. I find that I have to prioritise them and my family afterwards.
As a school we feel that returning to school on 3rd January is too early. Christmas is the busiest holiday period and staff will not have had time for a proper rest if we return so early. Their wellbeing is as important as the pupils. Parents whose children attend most other secondary schools (apart form STACS) will have children with different holiday dates. Most of ………………….. families have children at schools other than STACS. This may well have an impact on attendance.
Pros – coming back later = more time after Christmas – maybe a holiday could be booked. Some staff will like this as there may be opportunity for a cheaper holiday which some families may also like. Part weeks are always problematic in terms of attendance – some will choose not to send their children to school.
In reality schools will lose a week of the Spring term which is a vital term in terms of exam prep.

The document can be found here and here we recognise the intellectual copyright and reference the work created by the Lumen Christi Multi Academy.

If you are interested? The for change used used 652 words and the against proposition only required 463.