Tuesday June 28th 2016
Midlothian schools are set to have only a two day break rather than a full week in February 2018 despite 76.6% of parents who responded to a survey saying they wanted to keep the one week break.
A report is being presented today (Tuesday) to the Full Council meeting asking councillors to approve the two day February break which was one of two options put to parents in the survey.
Midlothian Council has previously recommended that the session dates for Midlothian schools be synchronised with neighbouring council areas in particular with the City of Edinburgh Council, bearing in mind some differences in local holidays.
For school session 2017/18, Edinburgh and East Lothian have set their return date as Monday 14th August 2017. If Midlothian were to set the same return date it would result in 14 teacher days in August 2017 and 199 working days in the 2016/17 teacher leave year.
Within the parameters set by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) teachers cannot work more or less than 195 days in the leave year.
It was therefore proposed and agreed by Cabinet that the first day of the 2017/18 school session, in line with the SNCT handbook, will be Friday, 18 August 2017.
In agreement with the Joint Secretaries two possible options for 2017/18 session dates for Midlothian schools were drawn up for the purpose of consultation with staff and parents.
These dates coincide with those of Edinburgh and East Lothian on the timing of the October, Christmas and Easter breaks and on the last day of the school session which will be Friday 29 June 2018. Both Edinburgh and East Lothian will have a full week break for staff and pupils in February 2018.
The Midlothian break will take place in the same week in February however, due to the limitations of the session start date, a full week break for both staff and pupils cannot be accommodated.
Option A which had previously been tabled at Midlothian Negotiating Committee for Teachers (MNCT) gives pupils a break of two days and gives staff one day in service and a one day break.
Option B gives pupils a break of one week and gives staff two days in service and a break of three days.
In order to accommodate this option, the Spring holiday on 16 April and the May Day holiday on 7 May would be relinquished.
A survey of parents and staff was carried out on both these options. A total of 415 responses were received with 76.6% of respondents expressing a preference for
option B, with the longer February break and no May Day holiday for staff.
On 7th June 2016, the Teachers’ side of the MNCT raised an issue concerning
the proposed removal of May Day as a holiday for teachers and stated that were Midlothian to make this a working day for teachers then they could not agree option B. Accordingly, in order to agree session dates for 2017/18 by the end of the current school session, the only possible course of action is to propose to Council to approve option A, with the shorter February break.
Midlothian will commence the 2017/18 academic session four days later than
Edinburgh, with a start date of Friday 18th August and will have a February break of two days for pupils and a break of one day for staff.
Edinburgh and East Lothian will have a full week break for both staff and pupils in February 2018. This break will take place in the same week in February in all three authorities.
The school session dates proposed for 2017/18 coincide across the three authorities on the timing of the October, Christmas and Easter breaks and on the last day of the school session which will be Friday 29 June 2018.
Both Management and Unions recognise that this outcome will disappoint staff and parents who responded positively to having a longer February break in 2017/18.Tweet Share on Facebook