English State Schools Allowed to Set Term Dates

U.K. Education Secretary Michael Gove said state-run schools in England will now be able to set their own term dates for the first time as part of a drive for deregulation.

“It is heads and teachers who know their parents and pupils best, not local authorities,” the Department for Education in London said in an e-mailed statement today. “So it is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils.”

Gove has already allowed schools the freedom to set the length of their school day. His educational changes have made him one of the more controversial figures in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition, having introduced “free schools” -- run by parents and charities -- and altered the emphasis of testing to focus on examinations rather than coursework.

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