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An Edinburgh school has suggested a huge change in the way school terms work to cope with the impact of coronavirus

An Edinburgh school has suggested a huge change in the way school terms work to cope with the impact of coronavirus.

Rod Grant, headteacher at the Clifton Hall Academy, has offered his solution to helping children catch up after months of lockdown and home learning.

Describing virtual learning as a “hideously poor substitute” for the real thing, Mr Grant also argued that keeping schools open for ‘summer school’ would be equally damaging.

Instead, the teacher suggested a new layout of term dates, that would mean the school was open in every month of the year, but still allowed children their holiday allowance.

With hopes the pandemic will allow them to re-mould the educational system, Mr Grant added:

“After a year of living with a pandemic and all the restrictions that has entailed, I worry that so much has been written about ‘lost learning’ in children’s educational journeys.

“The idea that lost learning can somehow be made up by extra-long days and reduced holidays is a ridiculous one. Children, who have suffered the most isolated year of their lives, are now told, almost daily, that they are behind, that their future incomes will be impacted, that they are in some way in danger of becoming a lost generation. All at a time when we are most concerned about mental health and the challenges that have come from being locked away for extended periods.

“The answer is not suddenly to instigate summer schools and enter into some draconian contract where we work children harder and longer. That would be entirely counter-productive. Indeed, it could be construed as punishment.”

Calling the school calendar his “biggest priority”, Mr Grant explained that his new phases system could be hugely beneficial for children, and hopes to implement it at Clifton Hall.

Describing the system, he said:

“My suggestion is seven phases of teaching and learning, with no holiday period longer than 5 weeks and no shorter than 2.

“Each ‘phase’ would be no longer than 7 weeks and no shorter than 4. Such a revised set of dates would create a more sustained and human approach to learners learning and teachers teaching.”

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