Warning that businesses could close if changes made to school holidays

Banham Zoo marketing chief Martin Dupee for the Larking Gowen/EDP Business Tourism Survey. Banham Zoo marketing chief Martin Dupee for the Larking Gowen/EDP Business Tourism Survey.

Annabelle Dickson Political editor
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
8:51 AM

East Anglian tourism bosses have warned that businesses could close if a law to allow schools to axe the long summer holiday is given the green light.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Martin Dupée, director of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, which is behind Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, and Albert Jones, managing director of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, have both put their names to a letter calling for a proper assessment of the “ill-conceived” legislation.

Former education secretary Michael Gove claimed while in the post that the education system was being “handicapped” by a 19th century timetable and that pupil performance dipped when they were off in July and August, leaving them at a disadvantage to students in other countries.

The Deregulation Bill, which has been sent to the House of Lords after it was given the green light by MPs, would give all schools across England freedom to dictate the shape of their academic year.

Former education minister, now environment secretary and Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “The long six-week break has not always been in the best interest of children’s education and working parents often speak of the challenges in securing suitable holidays, child care or even being able to do a day trip to a tourist attraction that is not bursting at the seams. Perhaps a staggered approach can be positive for everyone.”

But in a letter to a national newspaper, 24 leisure leaders said: “The tourism industry relies on the summer months, and particularly the six-week school summer holiday period, for its success.

“The seasonal nature of many attractions, especially those outdoors, means that they close during periods of the year when it is uneconomical to open, then spend months treading water, trying to turn a profit.”

They added: “Many in the tourism industry survived the recession by the skin of their teeth.

“The economic harm provided for within the Bill is deeply worrying.

“We call on the Government to engage with the tourism industry, consult, and properly assess the impact of this ill-conceived legislation,” they added.

Mr Dupee said that he believed that the move could even see some businesses close, adding that 40pc of his business was done in July and August.

“That is why I am more than happy to put my name to this. They do not seem to have done an economic study into the impact of this decision,” he said.

Benjie Cabbell-Manners, owner of Amazona Zoo, in Cromer, said that he would not be concerned about reducing the number of weeks in the summer if the two weeks they knock off were moved to dates in the year where the weather can still be warm, and families will take trips out.

“Adding extra time to the Christmas holidays would definitely impact us negatively because of the shorter days and colder weather,” he added.

Should the new law to allow schools to choose their school holidays be passed? Write, giving full contact details, to the Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

COMMENT – See page 30

8 comments

  • And, if you were a business running a school, when would you want to close it? In the summer? Or maybe in the cold winter months when fuel costs are high. It's a no brainer!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    marty r

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Listen to what is being said. They will not be opening longer. Tourism is one of the few industries left. Want it to join engineering, shoe making and brewing? Because that's what'll happen...

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    marty r

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Shorter schools Summer holidays will finish off what's left of the domestic British family holiday business. All that will be left is short stay breaks for older people. You can't make a living on a short 4 week Summer season - especially if you get an August as unsettled and cold as this one.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Shorter Summer School holidays will probably kill off what is left of the domestic family holiday market. When you have weather like we have in Britain you need to organise school holidays so that youngsters have the best chance of enjoying the best of it. Although this August is unusually cold JuneJuly August normally offer the best chance for good weather. Very short school Summer holidays will produce very meagre pickings for seaside businesses.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • It's quite obvious things need to change, who cares about a few captive animals.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Oh come on V-the place is bad enough in mid July never mind mid November.Gove's claims don't even stand up to scrutiny-none of them, Not the comparisons with dodgy results from equally dodgy international " league tables" nor his claims about the damage done by long vacations-other countries. including France and the USA manage long vacations. He would do better looking to Scandinavia for examples rather than economies boomed on slave labour and with schools like factories rather than educational establishments. The thrust of this is all about our schools becoming semi private academies which want to use their premises all year round. I accept that working parents may have child care problems-but the only way to resolve that is to have no school holidays at all-why not have every school with its own team of child chimney sweeps and blacking factories to keep them busy all year round ? Because that is what the current trend feels like.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Just have to open longer, wont you Jones ?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • The last few days saw Cameron claim that government policy making would be family friendly in the future.Well education needs serious scrutiny, because it has become anything but family or even child friendly.Not only are there cases of crass heavy handedness, such as the prosecution for absence from school of children with cancer or recently deceased parents, there is the matter of school holidays. It obviously escaped the dinosaur Gove( and possibly his new bland replacement) that most children no longer have a stay at home mother.Or that many couples work in jobs or professions where the dates of their possible vacation are severely restricted by the conditions of employment and that a couple may struggle to co ordinate their annual leave with each other and the school holidays-eg the health service, the police service, those working in tourism, seasonally skewed occupations like farming etc. Then we have the aggressively unfriendly head teachers,who, knowing that parents are not allowed to take their children out of school, limit their choice of weeks by having split weeks at either end of the school holidays. This shows disrespect. I am not talking about wanting to vacation at off peak prices, but about the simple principle of a family spending a period together maybe on a holiday, once a year. The long summer vac. has always been a breather for children, needed even more now that the poor little beggars are just fodder for school businesses. Breaking it up will mean holidays in less than warm UK weather, the UK seaside is only really half way decent between the last couple of weeks of June and the first two of September, the countryside just a little longer. So where does that leave those of limited means who are forced to take their annual leave in March? Sitting at home? Schools and the school holiday policy and these jumped up grasping paranoid school management teams are becoming anything but family friendly.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Homes24
Jobs24
Drive24
LocalSearch24
MyDate24
MyPhotos24
FamilyNotices24
Weddingsite

loading...

Classifieds, browse or search them online now

The Canary magazine
Order your copy of The Canary magazine

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT