Teachers oppose extended school days and shorter summer holidays to help pupils catch up after COVID

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
March 30, 2021, 3:19 PM UTC

Vast majority of teaching staff oppose changing school day and summer holiday dates

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, has said the government is considering various measures to help students catch up on schooling missed as a result of the pandemic. Among the proposals being considered are extending the length of the school day, and decreasing the amount of time students spend on the summer holiday.

YouGov’s latest Teacher Track survey shows that the overwhelming majority of teaching staff across Great Britain are opposed to such measures. Nine in ten teachers (91%) say they would be opposed to extending the typical school day for the current school year to help students make up for lost teaching time during the pandemic, including three quarters (76%) who strongly oppose the idea. Only 8% are favour of extending the school day.

This opposition is universal across both primary and secondary level teachers, with 91% and 92% of teachers respectively opposed to longer school days.

While the majority of teachers across different types of schools are opposed, those teaching in private and independent schools are less likely to be opposed (81%) compared to 93% of teachers in local authority managed schools.

Extending the summer term is equally unpopular

Educators are also strongly opposed to shortening this year’s summer holiday to provide more time to catch students up. Some 89% of teachers are opposed, including another three quarters (76%) who are strongly opposed to the idea. Only 10% are in favour - a similar to those in favour of extending school days.

Opposition is again consistent among teachers at primary (89%) and secondary level (92%). However, among independent and private school teachers, nearly one in five (19%) would support cutting the summer holiday back in favour of an extended summer term – however the majority (79%) are still opposed.

See full results here