This proposal tackles two interrelated problems:
1. The differential loss of learning caused by school closures (due to the pandemic) and post-summer learning loss.
The pandemic has forced schools to close and has widened the disadvantage gap amongst pupils. This could lead to a ‘lost generation’ of students who lag behind in attainment. Whilst technology and catch-up provision has been put in place, nothing can replicate a high quality classroom experience and sufficient time to cover the curriculum in depth.
Studies also already show that the 6-7 week break for summer causes a substantial learning loss for students – meaning students need to spend some of their first term back catching up.
The school summer holiday period is also the optimal time for family vacations. However, the rigid timing of this creates a bottleneck of surplus demand, which inflates holiday prices.
The current school calendar was developed during the industrial revolution with a primary focus on facilitating efficient farming. Our economic landscape and workforce challenges have changed, and we should change with it.
2. The detrimental economic impact of Covid-19 on travel, hospitality and leisure industries.
Social distancing measures have forced many business to close (such as pubs, restaurants etc.) and holidays have ceased – with many travel companies forced to offer substantial refunds.
Many other industry types have managed to continue to operate (through home working and home delivery of good). Some companies have capitalised on this, with online retail at an all-time high. Many people have also saved money during lockdowns (through reduced travel and reduced opportunities to spend money on leisure activities) whilst others (who rely on hospitality spending) have suffered.
The economy needs rebalancing as we ease out of lockdown.