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Four-Term Year

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration she has given to introducing a four-term year, particularly in schools for mentally and physically handicapped children.

Successive Secretaries of State have given careful consideration to possible alternative ways of organising the school year, frequently assisted by suggestions and reports from local education authorities and teachers' organisations. However, the consequences of any change would of necessity have wide social implications extending to fields well outside education; cogent objections to change could be expected from more than one quarter and, as yet, no substantial measure of agreement has emerged. In fact, local education authorities have been free to adopt a four-term year for their areas since the 1966 amendment of the schools regulations 1959, but none has chosen to do so—an indication that the difficulties in the way of change are substantial.The same situation obtains with special schools, with the additional consideration that if handicapped pupils are to obtain the full benefit of contact with and participation in the work of ordinary schools the special school year must be organised on lines similar to those in neighbouring ordinary schools.