Prep school drops summer holidays

Shrewsbury Prepatoria is a small prep school in Shropshire which has dropped the conventional August break

A prep school in Shrewsbury has dropped summer holidays and abolished the traditional term structure.

Shrewsbury Prepatoria is thought to be the only school open in England that does not follow the traditional three-term calendar, the Daily Mail reports.

The school opens throughout the year – bar four weeks when the school breaks for Easter and Christmas – and allows parents to take children out of school for holidays whenever they want. The Department for Education (DfE) only prescribes that schools should offer 190 days of schooling throughout the year.

Speaking to the Mail, headteacher Jane Smalley, said: “Why shouldn’t we have schools that meet the needs of families?”

The school limits each child to six weeks of holiday throughout the year but says most opt for four. The school, which was originally founded as a nursery, only caters for reception and Year 1 students but will extend to Year 2 from next year.

Read more: How are schools supporting pupil wellbeing in boarding environments?

Smalley was originally a reception teacher and an independent consultant for local authorities before founding the school.

The school pioneers a learning approach which champions experimental, child-centred learning.

Some feel breaking for the summer holidays is an essential part of the academic year and a vital addition to classroom-based learning.

Speaking to BBC Radio London in April 2019, Shaun Fenton, chair of The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and head of Reigate Grammer School, said parents should “help their children to climb trees and make believe, there is so much more to a great education than what they learn at school”.

Discussing the issue of summer tuition, Fenton argued that students learn a lot when they can try other activities in their personal time.

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