There’s A Simple Solution To Teacher Stress – Abolish School Holidays


We’re told that teachers suffer terribly from stress. Given the source I’d not want to put all that much weight on the finding. What, more stress than commission only salesmen? Than firefighters? Paramedics?

Still, take the finding as true. There’s a simple solution here:

Teachers endure greater job-related stress than other professionals, according to the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). With pupil numbers rising and an increasing proportion of teachers leaving the profession, the report found that one in five felt tense about their job most or all of the time, compared with 13% of those in similar occupations. Although teachers’ working hours across the year were similar to those in other professions, working intensively over fewer weeks of the year led to a poorer work-life balance and higher stress levels, the NFER observed.

Reorganise those working hours. Balance them out rather better over the course of the year that is.

So, abolish school holidays and move them to a 50 week year. A rolling 2 weeks off in the summer, staggered as with Wakes Weeks.

Clearly the NFER would be all in favour as it wouldn’t be an increase in working hours and it would, by their analysis, be a reduction in stress for their members. What possible argument could there be against it?

That there would indeed be screams of outrage from that very source just shows us that the original argument is right coeli*.


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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston

The huge summer holiday is a legacy of an agricultural past when farm work was needed. So, surely in a post-agricultural society it’s obselete. So I wondered what school terms highly industrialised countries have.

Slightly surprised that Korea, Japan and Hong Kong are almost identical to the UK, but Singapore goes all-out flat calendar. Two semesters: January-March-May, June-Aug/Sep-November, one week half term in each semester, four weeks between each semester. Nearly 10 1 10 4 10 1 10 4. Can you imagine the reaction of parents and teachers to a school term of 25-Jun to 31-Aug? 🙂