At our last Board meeting, we had a long discussion about school holidays and whether we should or shouldn't continue to schedule the three week holiday in the middle of the year and start the school year at the same time as Department of Education (DoE) schools.
The Hills Montessori School (HMS) opens and provides schooling for 39 weeks of a year as do other independent schools. HMS adheres to the South Australian Education Standards Board requirements for how many hours and days a school must operate in a year.
Over the years, many independent schools have changed their holiday periods and chosen to have a three week holiday at the end of Term 2 rather than starting the school year a week after DoE schools. Up until two years ago, we have always chosen to open the school a week after DoE schools and have a two week mid year break.
In 2020 the School Board decided to change this arrangement and start the school year in line with DoE schools and have a three week holiday in the middle of the year. This was to accommodate the Wairoa building project. Unfortunately, due to COVID the building project was postponed and so the Board chose in 2021 to again start the school year in line with DoE schools and have another three week holiday at the end of Term 2, and this year it greatly assisted the completion of the Wairoa building project.
The School Board has recently begun discussing whether the school should now continue the three week mid year holiday or return to the delayed one week start at the beginning of the school year. The Board would appreciate feedback and preferences from both parents and staff to help inform their decision making regarding this matter.
We would be grateful if you can consider the pro’s and con’s outlined below and then complete the one question survey that will be sent out to all families and staff today. You may also like to write a supporting comment to accompany your preference.
The Board will collate and analyse the results of the survey at our September Board meeting and then inform the school community of their decision and also provide the 2022 school term dates.
We ask that you complete the survey by Thursday 26th August.
Prior to completing the survey and providing your preference you may like to consider the following:
Pro’s for having a three week holiday mid year
- The School would be in line with DoE schools at the start of the year (but it would mean we would be out of alignment mid year for one week).
- A longer holiday in the middle of the year gives staff and students a lengthy time to “re-charge” their batteries and provides a break in the ‘flu season’.
- Families are able to book a holiday mid year when DoE schools are back at school which may make holiday bookings easier/cheaper (families could also do this at the start of the year if the school year started a week later than DoE schools).
- Three weeks gives families a lengthy holiday away.
Con’s for having a three week holiday mid year
- Starting a week earlier at the beginning of the year (and having three weeks mid year) means the school (which is situated in a high fire risk zone) is open for one week more in the high fire risk season (late January/early February).
- A three week holiday in July can be difficult for parents entertaining children in the cold, wet, winter months.
- Starting a week earlier means less time at the beginning of the year for teaching staff to go away and have a break and subsequently less time to set up and prepare for the new school year.
- Starting a week earlier means less time and added stress for administration staff to prepare for the start of the year – billing, classes, data entry, end of school financial year.
In anticipation, thank you for completing the survey. We appreciate and value the input of our community.
You can access the survey here.