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Could the French school holiday system work in the UK?

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Jamesrob637

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I believe the French have zones A, B and C whereby they all have the same amount of holidays per year, but at different times to avoid too much congestion on the roads.

Could such a system work here? Has Gavin not thought about this one?
 
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ABB125

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I believe the French have zones A, B and C whereby they all have the same amount of holidays per year, but at different times to avoid too much congestion on the roads.

Could such a system work here? Has Gavin not thought about this one?
Interesting idea. Only one problem: it's French! :D
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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Pardon me if I'm incorrect about this, but aren't school holidays at different times (usually by a week or so) in different counties? I always assumed they were.
 

GB

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Don't think it would make that much difference to be honest. There are about 6 secondary schools in my town, alternating holidays would still mean lots of traffic on the roads just spread further throughout the year. As a commuter, I much prefer when they are all off at the same time to give me a week or two without ANY school runs.
 

Bayum

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Pardon me if I'm incorrect about this, but aren't school holidays at different times (usually by a week or so) in different counties? I always assumed they were.
Pretty much. You tend to find that there’s a few grouped together in an ‘ABC’ type group anyway. Causes a nightmare for parents who are teachers. In my short career (9 years) I’ve known families who have had children off week A, dad off week B and mum week C.
 

peteb

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This could be a good idea if theres huge extra demand for uk based holidays, particularly this year and next. Its quite likely that parents unable to secure a week or two away in their childrens school holidays will look to book in September anyway.
 

PTR 444

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Surely zones would need to be geographically allocated for this to work, to avoid the inconvenience of children in the same household taking time off at different times. It could work like this:

Zone A - London, South East, East of England, South West. Holidays begin first.
Zone B - West Midlands, East Midlands. Holidays begin a week after Zone A.
Zone C - North West, Yorkshire & Humber, North East. Holidays begin 2 weeks after Zone A.

Wales and Scotland being devolved nations are likely to do their own thing, but would make sense from a logistical perspective to have the former in Zone B and the latter in something like a self-created Zone D possibly.
 

ABB125

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Surely zones would need to be geographically allocated for this to work, to avoid the inconvenience of children in the same household taking time off at different times. It could work like this:

Zone A - London, South East, East of England, South West. Holidays begin first.
Zone B - West Midlands, East Midlands. Holidays begin a week after Zone A.
Zone C - North West, Yorkshire & Humber, North East. Holidays begin 2 weeks after Zone A.

Wales and Scotland being devolved nations are likely to do their own thing, but would make sense from a logistical perspective to have the former in Zone B and the latter in something like a self-created Zone D possibly.
I don't think that split would work, if only because it would emphasise the north south divide. I can just imagine the outrage: why do Londoners get to go on holiday before people in the north? :D

Some school holidays do vary by a week or so, but in my experience it tends only to be half-term breaks and sometimes Easter which don't align; the Christmas and summer holidays tend to be the same.
 

py_megapixel

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Surely zones would need to be geographically allocated for this to work, to avoid the inconvenience of children in the same household taking time off at different times. It could work like this:

Zone A - London, South East, East of England, South West. Holidays begin first.
Zone B - West Midlands, East Midlands. Holidays begin a week after Zone A.
Zone C - North West, Yorkshire & Humber, North East. Holidays begin 2 weeks after Zone A.

Wales and Scotland being devolved nations are likely to do their own thing, but would make sense from a logistical perspective to have the former in Zone B and the latter in something like a self-created Zone D possibly.
I'd do it the other way round; it makes sense to me that the North should get their summer break first because their weather generally turns colder earlier. That way everyone has a better chance of a summer holiday which actually feels like summer...
 

Mag_seven

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I believe the French have zones A, B and C whereby they all have the same amount of holidays per year, but at different times to avoid too much congestion on the roads.

Could such a system work here? Has Gavin not thought about this one?

I hope not - I plan my holidays such that they fall outwith the school holidays to get the better prices and not to be bothered by badly behaved schoolchildren on planes. ;)
 

LSWR Cavalier

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This year in Germany the first states in the north break up on 21.6, the last in the south go back on 13.9. Seems to work, there are some regional bank holidays too (more in the south). Today 8.3 is a holiday in Berlin, womans day. Gents get the day off too.
 

GusB

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Wales and Scotland being devolved nations are likely to do their own thing, but would make sense from a logistical perspective to have the former in Zone B and the latter in something like a self-created Zone D possibly.
Even within Scotland it varies between local authority areas. I think the summer holidays are largely the same, perhaps varying by a day or two, but Easter seems to vary considerably. If my memory serves me correctly, there was one year fairly recently where Easter weekend fell entirely outwith the school holiday period.

Similarly with the "tattie holidays" in October, there seems to be some variation. Of course they get two weeks now when I'm fairly sure it was only a week when I was a kid.
 

ainsworth74

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Pardon me if I'm incorrect about this, but aren't school holidays at different times (usually by a week or so) in different counties? I always assumed they were.

Ish but it's by no means an exact science! Picking four different areas (Redcar & Cleveland, Tower Hamlets, Cornwall and Gloucestershire) and looking at their summer term dates for this year we have the following picture:

12 April - 20 July
12 April - 22 July
19 April - 23 July
19 April - 21 July

So between the four they start their summer terms quite nicely split two going back on 12 April and two going back on 19 April (I think the difference lies in how they've arranged their Easter holidays). But all four finish in the same week of July which is not ideal if you're hoping for a summer getaway without loads of traffic! Going back is a similar picture with two going back on 1 September, one on 6 September and the other on 2 September. So are they at different times in different counties/areas? Ish is what I'd say!
 

PTR 444

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I'd do it the other way round; it makes sense to me that the North should get their summer break first because their weather generally turns colder earlier. That way everyone has a better chance of a summer holiday which actually feels like summer...
Fair point. Scottish schools go back after summer much earlier than the rest of the UK anyway so makes sense for the North of England to be next.
 

PeterY

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The only good thing about the school holidays all being basically the same is (on a selfish note) is that for school holidays. the roads are so much quieter in the mornings.
I hope not - I plan my holidays such that they fall outwith the school holidays to get the better prices and not to be bothered by badly behaved schoolchildren on planes. ;)
I also tend to go away for breaks outside the school holidays. I can't remember the last time I went away in August.
 

peteb

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Surely it would be sensible to "fix" the early spring holiday aka Easter to two weeks each year? If Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holidays fall outwith these two weeks then these simply form a long weekend. This provides educators with certainty and regularity for planning public exams, whilst avoiding having an absurdly short first half of the summer term if Easter is late.
 

yorkie

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You have to draw these boundary lines somewhere, and that would cause problems to people near those borders!

Also why can't kids in one part of the country visit their cousins in other parts? You could argue there'd be an overlap, but the bigger the overlap the less point there is in doing this.

As it happens you do tend to get some regional differences as it is, and that's bad enough!
 

Bald Rick

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The French system keeps summer holidays the same nationwide typically with all of July and August off.

Where it differs is their Winter and Spring holidays, which are organised differently. Rather than 2 terms split into 2 half terms each, they have 3 terms split by two x two week holidays, which roughly equate to our February half term and Easter. These holidays are split into three zones, the split for the two week February break takes place over 4 weeks and is designed to ease the load on the ski resorts. Which is why it is always best to avoid skiing in France in February. The Spring break is (just) after the main ski season*, and is again a two week break split over 4 weeks. This is why the UK May half term is a good time to go to France, as the French schools don’t have a break at that point.

*the higher resorts are still open, so the real ski fans can still catch some snow.


As others have said we do have a form of this in the U.K., albeit over Summer. the Scottish schools break up in late June, and go back in mid August. Which is why accommodation in the highlands is cheaper in late August, albeit it’s usually wetter.
 

route101

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The French system keeps summer holidays the same nationwide typically with all of July and August off.

Where it differs is their Winter and Spring holidays, which are organised differently. Rather than 2 terms split into 2 half terms each, they have 3 terms split by two x two week holidays, which roughly equate to our February half term and Easter. These holidays are split into three zones, the split for the two week February break takes place over 4 weeks and is designed to ease the load on the ski resorts. Which is why it is always best to avoid skiing in France in February. The Spring break is (just) after the main ski season*, and is again a two week break split over 4 weeks. This is why the UK May half term is a good time to go to France, as the French schools don’t have a break at that point.

*the higher resorts are still open, so the real ski fans can still catch some snow.


As others have said we do have a form of this in the U.K., albeit over Summer. the Scottish schools break up in late June, and go back in mid August. Which is why accommodation in the highlands is cheaper in late August, albeit it’s usually wetter.

Yes, in Scotland the best weather is always at the start of the Summer holidays and in May and June. August is typically a letdown in Scotland.
 

30907

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This year in Germany the first states in the north break up on 21.6, the last in the south go back on 13.9. Seems to work, there are some regional bank holidays too (more in the south). Today 8.3 is a holiday in Berlin, womans day. Gents get the day off too.
There is some sort of system (which I've never worked out, but it's published several years ahead) which rotates the summer holiday dates between the different Laender (all? some?), and this has an effect on the autumn fortnight break too.
 

158756

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We used to have something similar to the Scottish holidays in parts of Lancashire, but the powers that be decided everything needed to be standardised.
 

johnnychips

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We used to have something similar to the Scottish holidays in parts of Lancashire, but the powers that be decided everything needed to be standardised

‘Wakes weeks’ in Lancashire and ‘Pit fortnight’ in Yorkshire when the factory or mine was closed for its annual maintenance and cleaning. When I started teaching in a pit village near Doncaster in the early 80s, the school terms had been standardised throughout Yorkshire, but our mine’s pit fortnight did not fall during the summer holidays*. Needless to say, attendance plummeted, but nobody was as bothered then as they are today.

The problem was solved by the mine being closed in 1985.

*(The mines could not all close at the same time as cleaning and maintenance teams moved from mine to mine to mine during the spring and summer. I often wonder what they did the rest of the year - presumably they were regular miners and this was another string to their bow).
 
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telstarbox

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The French system keeps summer holidays the same nationwide typically with all of July and August off.

Where it differs is their Winter and Spring holidays, which are organised differently. Rather than 2 terms split into 2 half terms each, they have 3 terms split by two x two week holidays, which roughly equate to our February half term and Easter. These holidays are split into three zones, the split for the two week February break takes place over 4 weeks and is designed to ease the load on the ski resorts. Which is why it is always best to avoid skiing in France in February. The Spring break is (just) after the main ski season*, and is again a two week break split over 4 weeks. This is why the UK May half term is a good time to go to France, as the French schools don’t have a break at that point.

*the higher resorts are still open, so the real ski fans can still catch some snow.


As others have said we do have a form of this in the U.K., albeit over Summer. the Scottish schools break up in late June, and go back in mid August. Which is why accommodation in the highlands is cheaper in late August, albeit it’s usually wetter.
Am I right in thinking that French people are very likely to go on holidays within France rather than abroad?
 

Bald Rick

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Am I right in thinking that French people are very likely to go on holidays within France rather than abroad?

Much more likely than your average Northern European, yes. They have the weather, the beaches, the mountains, what more do you want 8-) ;)
 

najaB

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Am I right in thinking that French people are very likely to go on holidays within France rather than abroad?
Don't forget though, that in normal years "within France" also includes the Caribbean and Indian Ocean islands.

I would dispute June to a degree.
I've been living in Scotland since 2005 and I'd say we've had four, maybe five genuinely lovely summers in that time.
 
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