Which Suffolk schools will end term a day early before Christmas under new rules?

Suffolk children and parents may miss the chance to thank their teachers before the summer break (fi

Schools across the UK have been given the option to end their terms a day earlier before Christmas. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Schools across Suffolk have been given the opportunity to end their Autumn term a day early - but how many have taken up the offer? 

The government announced earlier this week that schools across the UK will be allowed to finish a day earlier before the festive break to allow six clear days before Christmas Eve. 

Standards Minister Nick Gibb told teachers they could mark December 18 as an inset day so that  staff members  do not have to "engage with track and trace issues" over Christmas. 

There has been a mixed response from schools across Suffolk to the suggestions of ending term a day early.

All of the schools controlled by Unity Schools Partnerships will not take up the offer. 

The academy trust runs 23 schools across Suffolk and their CEO said that the idea came too late for teachers to change their plans. 

Tim Coulson, chief executive of the Unity Schools Partnership, said: “We appreciate the sentiment of trying to support school leaders and staff by allowing us to close a day early for Christmas.

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“But across our schools, we felt there was insufficient time to allow parents to arrange childcare as well as it being an ineffective use of a Personal Development (PD) day.”

However, Ipswich schools, Chantry Academy and Sidegate Primary School which are run by The Active Learning Trust will both be closed on Friday, December 18.

Hillside Primary School, in Ipswich, will also be closed on this day, and this is due to an already planned professional development day for staff.

Stephen Chamberlain, CEO of the Active Learning Trust, said: “We trust our headteachers to make the best decisions for their school and its community as they have been doing most carefully throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The majority of our schools in Suffolk will remain open on Friday, December 18, and those that are closing on this day do so with our full support.

"We hope all our staff, pupils and parents are able to enjoy a relaxing festive break, as it is certainly well deserved.”

Dave Lee-Allan, headteacher of Stowmarket High School, said that he would not be changing the school's plans so late in the day. 

In a letter written to the school's parents he said: "I do not believe that changing our plans at the eleventh hour is the correct thing to do for our students, staff or parents and therefore we will carry on as planned and the autumn term will finish on Friday 18th December at 1.15 pm."