Holidays can spell trouble for a child’s education
CHILDREN’S ability to spell crashes every year after the long summer holiday, researchers have claimed.
Experts say it can take pupils up to a month to reach the level they were at before the break.
Academics now plan to investigate whether holiday clubs can help reduce the effect of a lazy summer on children.
More than 70 pupils between the ages of five and ten from three schools in deprived parts of Scotland and the North-East of England – who did not attend a holiday club over the summer – were tested.
Their spelling and reading ability was assessed immediately before and after the holiday, and then approximately seven weeks later.
Children’s spelling scores were significantly poorer upon returning to school compared with those at the end of the previous term – and it took nearly four weeks for them to return to previous levels.
Their reading ability, however, did not improve or get worse after the summer holiday, according to researchers.
The study – Investigation of Summer Learning Loss in the UK: Implications for Holiday Club Provision – was carried out by academics at Northumbria University in Newcastle.
Professor Greta Defeyter, director of healthy living at the university, said: ‘This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows there is a real need for accessible activity provision during the school holidays for children.’
Tori Hickson, of catering wholesaler Brakes, which cofunded the study and runs Meals & More holiday clubs in Ayrshire and other locations, said: ‘It is really sad that children are suffering academically, simply because of their circumstances.
‘Our holiday clubs try to tackle not only holiday hunger but also some of the issues around ensuring a stimulating environment for children.’
‘A real need for activity’