School summer holidays

Last  Thursday Waveney MP Peter Aldous met with Education Minister Nick Gibb to voice concerns that the tourism and leisure businesses have expressed to him about Government proposals to shorten school summer holidays. 
 
In plans put forward in the Deregulation Bill to increase school autonomy, all state schools in England will be able to decide their own term dates.
 
In a meeting with the Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Reform, at the Department for Education, Peter highlighted that a good summer season for local tourism businesses is crucial to their viability and profitability, and that cutting the traditional summer holiday by a third could be damaging to local economies such as Waveney’s.
 
The Minister gave reassurances that councils would have a key role in ensuring that local factors would be taken into account on a case by case basis should schools wish to change their holiday dates. He went on to state that schools are legally required to act locally and reasonably and advice would be given to schools once the Bill has received Royal Assent so as to ensure that issues such as those affecting the tourism industry or when families have children in different schools are fully taken into account. He also pointed out that there is a view that few schools will actually pursue this course and the main purpose of the Bill is to provide them with the freedom to make their own decisions.
 
Peter asked for a full impact assessment of the proposals for him to distribute to local businesses in the tourism sector. Peter will then be writing to all those who have expressed their concerns with a copy of the assessment asking for their comments to ensure that local views and ongoing concerns are properly considered and that the Government is fully aware of them. 
 
The Deregulation Bill will go to Committee Stage in the House of Lords in late October/ early November to be scrutinised further and Peter will closely follow developments on the issue of school holidays as the Bill progresses.
 
Commenting on the meeting with the Minister, Peter said:
 
“I can understand the rationale for these proposals due to its wider educational benefits, though it is important that the Government is aware of concerns of tourism and leisure businesses in the Waveney area, as they are so important to the local economy. I am pleased that the Minister who also represents a coastal constituency recognises these concern and has indicated that the necessary safeguards will be put in place to help ensure that areas such as Waveney are not disadvantaged.”
 
Martin Dupée, Chairman of the Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association and Director of Zoological Society of East Anglia, the charity behind Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo, said:
 
“I would like to thank Peter Aldous for his support in raising our concerns regarding this extremely important matter. This bill permits schools to move some of the current summer school holiday, to other times of the year. This will prove to have a massively negative effect on all tourism related businesses who rely on the summer holiday to maintain employment and investment levels.“
 
“There is no evidence to suggest that these changes will ensure that the businesses can expect the same level of visitors to the area in the shoulder months. I know that on our parks, the daily visitor numbers in October school holiday are less than half that of the main summer holiday.  Caravan Park’s in the area report that their occupancy is similar. The reality is that many visitors to our wonderful county do not want to visit when it’s cold and wet. We shouldn’t accept these changes without having a full appreciation of what could happen.”
 
Michael Hansell, Managing Director of East Coast Cinema, said:
 
“Peter Aldous’ voice on this incredibly important issue is like a beacon of hope in a sea of ambivalence and apathy. As a cinema owner in Lowestoft that relies on a six week summer season, I’m consistently perplexed as to why a school holiday structure that has worked for decades needs any kind of adjustment. UK tourism and the UK school holiday structure are intrinsically linked and careful consideration of the impact on tourism as a result of holiday changes must surely take precedence at this late stage.”
 

The Renaissance of East Anglian Fisheries

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Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill

Surgeries

Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
Lowestoft, Wednesday 8th August

 

 

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