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Nick McKim, MP
Monday, 1 August 2011
Four Term School Year to be implemented
All Tasmanian Government schools will move to a four term school year from 2013.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, said today that Cabinet had endorsed his decision to accept the Report of the Four Term Year Advisory Group, which recommended Tasmania move to a four term year.
“In reading the Report with an open mind, I was impressed by the thorough and extensive consultation undertaken by the group.
“Everyone has clearly had an opportunity to have a say.
“In considering my recommendation to Cabinet, the question I had to ask is whether a change to a four term year would be in the best interests of student learning and well-being.
“Based on the clear weight of evidence provided in the Report, I am satisfied the answer is yes.
“The Advisory Group’s Report said that there is “compelling evidence that students experience learning loss over the long summer break: this is particularly so for students from low SES backgrounds. There is also research that shorter, more concentrated blocks of time are more beneficial for students’ learning”.
“As well, more frequent and shorter breaks during the winter months may reduce absenteeism.”
Mr McKim said that there was a natural alignment between four terms of 10 weeks and the new semester-based approach of the Australian Curriculum.
“I was also reassured by the fact that an overwhelming majority of the Advisory Group favoured four terms,” he said.
“I’m aware that the AEU was the only member of the Advisory Group opposed to four terms and was able to put its point of view to that group as part of the process.
“Changes will not be made until 2013, which gives the Government ample time to sit down with the AEU and deal with their concerns prior to implementation.
“I am also hopeful that this decision will result in a closer alignment of school days between Government and Non-Government schools, which will greatly assist in the provision of student transport.
“I am aware that colleges will need to consider this change in relation to enrolment and examination procedures and we still have 18 months to work through any issues to ensure a smooth implementation of the new arrangements.
“Again I would like to thank the Chair, Jenny Cranston and Advisory Group members for their tireless work since October 2010 in compiling the report.”
The proposed Four Term Model for 2013 is:
Term 1: 4 Feb – 19 April (Easter break: 29 March - 2 April)
Term 2: 6 May – 5 July
Term 3: 22 July -27 September
Term 4: 14 October – 19 December
The four term year was supported by the University of Tasmania, Independent Education Union, Independent Schools Tasmania, Catholic Principals Association Tasmania, Tasmanian Principals Association, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tourism Industry Council, Community and Public Sector Union, Tasmanian Catholic School Parents and Friends Federation, Tasmanian Association of State School Parents and Friends, Tasmanian Catholic Education Office, Australian Parents Council, Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia and 109 responses to the Department of Education public website.
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