Hol­i­days can spell trou­ble for a child’s ed­u­ca­tion

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Tim Bu­gler

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’

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