SCHOOL'S not OUT FOR SUMMER; Tory plan for shorter hols, longer days.
MORE work, less play - that was the stark message for schoolkids yesterday from Michael Gove.
The Tory Education Secretary said they should spend more time in the classroom and get shorter holidays.
In a keynote speech, he claimed the school year was outdated - rooted in the agricultural economy of the 19th century.
And he warned that it left youngsters at a disadvantage compared with those in other countries, where children have to work longer and harder.
He said: "We've noticed in Hong Kong and Singapore and other East Asian nations that expectations of mathematical or scientific knowledge at every stage are more demanding than in this country.
"In order to reach those levels of achievement a higher level of effort is expected on behalf of students, parents and teachers. School days are longer, school holidays are shorter. The expectation is that to succeed, hard work is at the heart of everything."
He added: "If we look at the length of the school day, the length of the summer holiday and we compare it to the extra tuition and support children are receiving elsewhere, then we already start with a significant handicap."
He revealed some of the best schools in the country, including academies, were already moving to longer days. Mr Gove said he wanted more to recognise "that we need to change and in particular that it is poorer children who lose out from longer holidays."
He said the Government was making changes to teachers' pay, terms and conditions which would mean they could be paid more for taking on extra duties.
The reforms could allow state schools to choose to stay open until 4.30pm and introduce a four-week summer holiday for pupils from September next year, They would also require rewriting teachers' contracts, which currently demand 195 days or 1,265 hours a year.
But the NUT's Kevin Courtney claimed last night that the plans were part of a "secret agenda" to privatise state education.
He said: "The best education systems in Europe, like Finland, have shorter days and longer holidays. Pupils should be able to enjoy their holidays, not constantly studying for exams. Gove is simply hellbent on deregulating teachers' pay and conditions so private companies can step in."
Voice of the Mirror: Page 10
In order for pupils to succeed, hard work has to be at the heart of everything EDUCATION CHIEF MICHAEL GOVE
Summer hols could be cut to 4 weeks Pupils face more time in lessons