Newswire » Your Say! » Are Irish School Summer Holidays Too Long?

Are Irish School Summer Holidays Too Long?

Schools Out


Are Irish school summer holidays too long?

Why are Irish school holidays longer than most other European countries?

According to Dr. Josephine Bleach, Director of the Early Initiative at the National College of Ireland, it is because our school holidays were previously planned to facilitate children who were needed to work on farms during the summer months.  However nowadays children aren’t expected to spend their summer working on farms, yet their holiday duration is still the same.  Secondary schools finish their school year at the beginning of June, just before the start of the State exams and primary schools finish at the end of June.  Dr Bleach is also the Author of Parental Involvement in Primary Education, and she is of the opinion that primary school holidays should be for a period of six weeks, and secondary school holidays should just extend to after the State exams.

This would encourage schools to concentrate on subjects such as P.E, art, music, religion and mental health.  Although Irish secondary school teachers get longer holidays during the summer than other European teachers, they argue that they also work longer hours than them during the school year.  The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development figures indicate that Irish secondary school teachers spend about 735 hours teaching during the year, compared to 709 hours in other European countries.

Over the summer holidays middle class parents send their children to the Gaeltacht to improve their oral Irish at a cost of about €900.  This assists the child with improving his Irish, and prepares him for his oral exams in the coming year. However parents from lower class backgrounds are not able to privilege their children in this way unfortunately, as they simply can’t afford to.  So Dr Bleach says it is important for their parents to encourage their children to go to museums, art galleries and public libraries to keep their brains active and to increase their educational knowledge.  “What makes a crucial difference during the summer is how parents talk with their children about their activities.  It really benefits children when you go to the zoo, to talk about the animals and what they see there. If you are at the beach there are all sorts of things you can talk about with your children – the habitats, the sea shells and the crabs.”

The Esker Educate Together national school was opened in 2007.  This was after a large number of new houses had been built in the area in the mid 1990’s, without building a school. Paul Rowe the Educate Together chief executive said “this should not have had to happen.  These huge housing estates should not have been built without schools…” He asked ministers to change the law so that a school must be built before builders complete building 100 houses.  Hopefully if this is implemented it will deter this problem from arising again in the future.

One Response

Leave a Reply

© 1991-2014 Fountain Resource Group Ltd. · Registered Company Number: 193051C · RSS · Website designed by Solid Website Design