Strong women stay slim
- <LI class=publication>Press Association
- , Sunday May 25 2008
Research suggested that pupils lose some of their reading skills during the long summer break, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said.
The school year could be divided into five eight-week terms with a fortnight's holiday between each, the centre-left think-tank said. This would allow pupils to sustain their education more easily over the course of the year.
The report followed concerns from Ofsted that progress raising educational standards in England has "stalled", with one in five 11-year-olds unable to master the three Rs.
Sonia Sodha, IPPR research fellow and the report's lead author said: "There have been many positive gains in education over the last decade but in recent years results have plateaued.
"If we are serious about continuing to improve outcomes for all children, we need long-term reform that better gears our school system around the needs of children and young people."
The report also called for a new primary school curriculum to be drawn up allowing children more opportunities to learn through play.
Ms Sodha said: "Children's well-being is fundamental to their learning. Schools need more support in developing healthy and happy young people.
Children's Minister Kevin Brennan said the Government encouraged councils to adopt the "standard school year".
He said: "This model sees six terms of equal length, spread evenly across the year. Ultimately however, we leave it up to local authorities who best understand the circumstances in their area."