Early Lent Half Term

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YadaYada
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Early Lent Half Term

Post by YadaYada » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:11 pm

Anyone else cross that the school is closing early at half term....or is it just me?

It seems that student have already missed plenty of lessons this academic year already not to mention the fact that arriving at CH by 2pm on a Friday is a very different matter to arriving on a Saturday. I for one, can't make it and am hoping that Grampa is willing and available not just to pick him up but also to have us both to spend the night.
Last edited by YadaYada on Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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J.R.
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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by J.R. » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:17 pm

Youngest daughter informs me that Surrey County Council are looking to cancel half-term this term to make up for the lost days during the snowy period.

Seems a good idea to me !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

YadaYada
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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by YadaYada » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:46 pm

Well, schools make plenty of fuss when parents take their children out of school for family holidays or other such days out.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by Momto2 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:52 pm

Fortunately for us YadaYada, I only work part time so picking the children up isn't a problem but my very first thought was how inconvenient it was going to be for a lot of people. Furthermore I can understand that they want to get the school looking all shiny and polished but I think it's outrageous to ask that everyone is out by 5.30pm on a working day! My daughter is helping with the entrance exams so we're just waiting to hear if she has to clear off home for the night and go back the next day!!

JR - my youngest daughter's school has cut down half term to 2 days after sending out a questionnaire to parents - a lot of people have already booked holidays etc so the school has promised to keep it to revision only and not the introduction of a lot of new stuff!

YadaYada
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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by YadaYada » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:26 pm

I just dont understand why they have to incovenience the current parents and students. The assessment days could take place at any point from the Sunday to the following Sunday.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by onewestguncopse » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:10 pm

In our defence, this decision was only taken due to extraordinary circumstances that would have made it impossible to run admissions into the 2nd form when a good number would not have turned up. As to it happening later in half term, the same problem would have applied with many parents (and some teachers) unable to attend due to pre booked holidays. Finally, the school must comply with HMC regulations. Many other private schools will be offering places before us. Like it or not, a good number of our pupils also sit exams at other private schools with parents looking for the best deal. If we delayed it even more we would potentially be in breech of our HMC obligations.

Not ideal for anyone, but then neither was the heavy snow.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by KenHo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:42 am

I have between an 8 and a 12 hour round trip, depending on the traffic. Obviously I want my son to travel by train instead of car and the first stage in this plan is to escort him a couple of times until he knows the route. The first time I bought tickets to do this they closed the school due to swine flu and I lost my non-refundable rail tickets. I was just about to buy tickets for this half term and try again and would have lost out again if the letter had been a day or two later getting here. We obviously knew it would be a pain sending our son so far away to school, but didn't really account for not being able to organise train travel.

Although I appreciate that most of this has been beyond the school's control, it can't have been that hard to decide this much earlier and let people know.

I am sure everyon will have their own problems with getting to and from the school on an extra, unplanned, Friday, rather than the expected Saturday. It might, however, help if anyone from the school can see how inconvenient and expensive it can be for us, to illustrate just how much of a pain it can be, so I will explain it here.

To get there for 2.30 I need to leave here about 9am and don't get back until late evening, so I lose an entire day of work, not just an afternoon. My wife needs the car to get to work, so she needs to go much earlier and either walks a fair distance and catches an hourly bus or catches two buses, this costs about £3.60 to £4.80. My wife then can't get home in time to pick our youngest daughter up from school so she has to stay at school which costs £5.60. My wife then has to get off her bus from work, pick up my daughter and take her to her orchestra across the city as there isn't enough time to get home as well. This takes two further buses and, because they are from diffent bus companies (Thatcher!) she can't get any sort of useful day saver ticket that includes the mornings travel. This means that the return cost for the two of them is about £3.80. They also won't get any tea before getting home at 8.30 pm unless my wife packs this in the morning and they eat it on the bus! In the meantime my eldest daughter has a trumpet lesson at 5pm which she will have to move to another day, which is a minor inconvenience only but worth adding to the list. Of course I don't just pick up my son from CH, I also usually give a lift to another boy who lives even further away. I would have to pick him up as well, he would then have to stay with us for Friday night and then we have to put him on a train on the Saturday for the last part of his journey.

It isn't a huge inconvenience, and to be honest I don't mind very much, but if you multiply similar stories by 800 then the school might see how much trouble and expense such minor changes can cause.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:29 am

KenHo wrote:I have between an 8 and a 12 hour round trip, depending on the traffic. .
Yes, these half term breaks are a pain in the neck and should be banned. In Col A (or it could have been Prep A)) when I was there we had boys who travelled a bit further - from Dublin and Hong Kong. I was lucky - I left home about 6am to get to school by about 5.30pm provided the trains were running on time. Going ho0me was about the same pre-beeching but after they closed the Guildford line it was longer.

Distance is a problem but does he/she not have a single friend living close where he/she could go for the break / overnight?

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:27 pm

Some time ago, we had a long discussion, on this Forum, om the subject of" Half Term Breaks" and "Weekend Leave"
Those of us who were at CH during the War, and immediate Post-War years, were mostly of the opinion that to arrive at the School at the beginning of Term and to leave at the end, was not a "BAD THING" (to quote 1066 and all that) and certainly reduced the effect of homesickness, to a certain extent, which the current arrangements seem to exacerbate (CH spelling ?)

These arrangements and privileges are now established, and to alter them would be impossible, but my personal view is that a Boarding School means what it says on the tin, and if that does not suit --- then find another tin ! :lol:

As usual -- I shall now retire to my bunker -- and await "Incoming" :axe:

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by ailurophile » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:24 pm

After the two recent school closures due to swine flu and bad weather, I had already wondered whether CH might be considering a shorter vacation at some point in order to make up for lost time, so I’m interested to hear that some education authorities are already taking this action. I wouldn’t want to lose the February half term, that’s rather short notice and boarding families do need to see their children! But Easter is a different matter, surely the usual four-week break could be shortened to three without too much impact. I know people have speculated half jokingly elsewhere on this Forum about financial compensation for the lost term time! I’m sure we all appreciate that the closures were due to unforeseen circumstances entirely outside the school’s control, but let’s not forget that as well as the loss of valuable lesson time to the pupils, for some families each week at CH also represents an investment of hundreds of pounds!

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by onewestguncopse » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:57 pm

Although I have sympathy for parents I would like to point out that i would be very surprised if the pupil's academic performance was significantly affected by these events. I may be wrong but I get no feeling that GCSE or A level results will suffer. Our pupils are at school (in class) for 6 days not 5 after all.

As to financial compensation - well that's another matter. I would expect it would be hard to get on the grounds that it was 'beyond our control'.

A curtailed Easter would probably cause more problems than it would solve as many staff and parents have made plans.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by YadaYada » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:53 pm

I agree wtih KenHo about the disruption and the expense and I disagree with not having Leave Weekends and Half terms.

Things may have been different in the past but these things were written on OUR tin when we signed up for it.

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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by onewestguncopse » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:01 pm

With more parents than before living within 20 miles of CH, the idea that Leave Weekends and Half Terms will be cut is fanciful. The pressure is on to provide more time at home (ie Weekly Boarding) not less! IMHO if we want to sustain interest and boost applications, this is inevitable as Full Boarding remains an anathema to all but a tiny number of parents. I know of few staff who disagree - some do - but most do not.

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J.R.
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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by J.R. » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:30 am

onewestguncopse wrote:With more parents than before living within 20 miles of CH, the idea that Leave Weekends and Half Terms will be cut is fanciful. The pressure is on to provide more time at home (ie Weekly Boarding) not less! IMHO if we want to sustain interest and boost applications, this is inevitable as Full Boarding remains an anathema to all but a tiny number of parents. I know of few staff who disagree - some do - but most do not.
Ian, so how does the number of days actually at CH today compare with say, myself and John H ?

We had no weekend breaks; No half-terms, and only 3 half days, (Saturday afternoons), out of school with parents/friends.

I appreciate our three term holidays were much longer than state schools.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

onewestguncopse
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Re: Early Lent Half Term

Post by onewestguncopse » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:00 pm

The is a Leave Weekend every third weekend that starts on Friday and ends on Sunday night. So it goes Sunday night arrive at start of term, Sunday at School, Sunday at School, Leave Weekend, Sunday at School, Sunday at School Half Term (one week - except for Mich term which is two weeks) ...... Easter is a week longer than most State Schools - Christmas about the same and Summer 2/3 weeks longer.

When I first came to CH in 1995 there were only leave days (Sat?). That was abolished for a Sat/Sun and then Fri/Sat/Sun.

Why - essentially because that is what parents today want. Parents live closer to CH and sociey has changed. Parents want to see their children! Shock Horror :wink:

They also demand higher standards of care (as do the Social Services and OFSTED). What I saw when I first arrived at CH (Open Dorms, Metal Beds, Lav Ends etc) would now be illegal now. Hence all boarding schools have had to spend millions on refurbishment - even down to the number of toilets per person or bedspace per person.

The biggest problem is full boarding IMHO. This is not popular with many potential parents ( who may have worthy, needy children). I (as a teacher at CH) would not send my children to boarding school at age 11 (13 possibly - 16 happily) unless it were imperative (i.e. Army/Major Family issues etc). That is my opinion by the way and clearly not shared by the parents who do! Interestingly today I had a chat with a House Master who agreed with me and three of his children came to CH as Day Boarders.

Weekly boarding is different. Hard working parents can send their child to a school Sunday to Sat knowing that they will see them on Sat night/Sunday. Why some OBs think this is odd or potential disastrous to CH and its ethos is a mystery to me. Full Boarding would remain an OPTION for those who wanted it but most would not IMHO.

This would make CH more attractive to parents, improve the quality of our intake and encourage more parents with money to apply. I know that is a dirty word to some, but truly, the CH model of the past is not sustainable anymore. We can die a slow death or adapt. Protect the majority of foundation places but stop pretending that we can carry on regardless. We are losing money hand over fist at the moment - scary amounts - mind boggling. Most schools would have closed by now!

Enjoy the memories but stop pretending - OR - all the Old Blues can pitch up the £75m we need to sustain ourselves! We need MAJOR investment.

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