Schools key to shifting summer holidays

The Listener has joined the call for the summer holidays to be shifted to February when the weather is more likely to be better.

The slow start to warmer weather isn’t new.

My father was a carpenter at the freezing works. When they shut down over the Christmas-New Year period he was required to stay at work to do maintenance which wasn’t possible when the chains were operating.

We didn’t mind. He took a couple of weeks off at the end of January when the weather was almost always better than it had been in the preceding weeks.

It was almost always better still when we returned to school in February and while there are no guarantees with the weather that is still more likely to be the case.

This is what’s driving the growing chorus to have Christmas and Boxing Day as days off on their own and move the summer holidays at least a month later.

Any business could do that now  and some individuals do choose to take only the statutory days off for Christmas and New Year and have holidays later.

The northern hemisphere does that because it’s the middle of winter and their summer holidays are usually taken in August, the same stage of the season as February would be here.

What keeps most people and businesses here sticking to the late December-early January shut-down is school holidays. Workers with children want at least some of their holidays to coincide with their children’s.

The key to shifting summer holidays then lies with schools. If the education year can be adjusted to start in March, and finish in January the main summer holiday period would shift to February too.

It wouldn’t make much difference on farms because all summer is busy but it would increase the chances the rest of the country would get holiday weather when they’re on holiday rather than in the following weeks when they’re back at work.

8 Responses to Schools key to shifting summer holidays

  1. Neil says:

    Ele, this is a topic at this time of year which is discussed regularly over BBQ’s etc. It should be considered carefully and isn’t as clear cut as one might think.
    Holidays for children should be in a bloc with one longer holiday rather than having itsy bitsy holidays scattergunned around.Christmas/New Year are significant times of the year. How much time would you have off ? Two weeks three weeks.
    February generally seems to have good weather, I’ve heard the saying “When the kids go back to school the weather improves”.This is a mute argument with the climate we have.
    Much as though I dislike the big Christmas shut down, it is at least predictable. Taking holidays into February would see the economy go into slowdown again until the end of that month.
    I think this proposal would meet as much support as the efforts in Otago-Southland to have a common anniversary day.

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  2. Meg says:

    Problem is, would this result in more statutory holidays? In my opinion there are already far too many of them and having to pay staff time and a half should they have to work them is just another cost added to business. If the school holidays were moved and businesses didn’t move their breaks would this not just result in parents needing to find childcare for their children and result in less family holiday time? What about those without kids? I’d be pretty annoyed if my boss said right we’re closing for february because its the school holidays, I don’t have any kids why do I need to go on holiday then? a shortened xmas period i.e just the stat days could also see christmas chanfge dramatically, rather than a time of togetherness that it often is now, it would just be another day off if you only have two days off work you’re not going to bother travelling to see family are you? there’s just not enough time.
    wouldn’t apply to me anyway, as you said life doesn’t stop for a holiday on a farm but they were jsut a few thoughts that sprung to mind.

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  3. Andrei says:

    No Meg – not more statutory holidays Christmas Day, Boxing Day. 1st and 2nd of January are already statutory holidays which if they fall on a weekend are transferred to the first two days of the next week – thus guaranteeing two consecutive four day weekends – which if you are running a factory is highly disruptive unless you pay penalty rates which is highly expensive.

    Easier and cheaper to shut down for the holidays if you can

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  4. robertguyton says:

    The gummint will do it if they want to, after all they moved the term last year to accommodate the rugby.
    The rugby.

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  5. Stephanie says:

    Personally I hated sitting in those horrible sticky classrooms during February with no air conditioning.

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  6. pdm says:

    When mrs pdm and I were first married and then before our children were school age I used to take 3 weeks holiday in mid February to coincide with the Golden Queen season. I would pick fruit for two weeks and the money would pay for a week away.

    On moving scholl holidays to February I can only see one benefit – better weather over Christmas offset by crap weather in February. lol..

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  7. Hollyfield says:

    I think it is problematic to move the school holidays, because of Christmas. Any other time of year I wouldn’t consider it an issue. The end of the school year is a busy time with assessment, report writing, prize giving etc – the kids want to wind down and the teachers want them to keep working right until the end. Having a few days off for Christmas, then back to school, then a few days off for New Year’s, then back to school for a few weeks and then the summer holidays….. I think it will be disruptive and hard to get much achieved in schools in the last month!
    Plus people with family out of town or overseas will want to travel to see them (or have them travel here) at Christmas – meaning many people will take leave over Christmas/January, and take their kids out of school.

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  8. Beefaerie says:

    Thee’s a simple solution for the New Year shut down: don’t have one. Take Christmas Day and Boxing Day (“Mondayised” if necessary, and don’t have a public holiday at all on New Year’s Day. Then take five weeks off school from late January to early March, say from the current Auckland Anniversary weekend. Then January becomes exam prep and exam time (for older pupils) and report writing time.

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