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Hackney New School doubles half-term holiday to two weeks for ‘academic reasons’

PUBLISHED: 10:37 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 21 September 2017

Hackney New School. Picture: Hackney Council

Hackney New School. Picture: Hackney Council

Archant

The October half-term holiday at a Hackney secondary school has been doubled to two weeks – for “academic reasons”.

Hackney New School’s Antony Faccinello, who started his first term at the helm of the Kingsland Road free school last week, believes giving students a longer holiday will break up an arduous term 
and result in students having more energy to put into 
their studies.

An explanation of why the school has adopted the “increasingly popular” longer half-term was available in Saturday’s newsletter – but the Gazette understands some parents were taken by surprise, having only been notified of the change by a July letter listing all the 
term dates.

“It is becoming more and more commonplace for schools up and down the country to take a two-week half term holiday in the autumn term,” Mr Faccinello told the Gazette on Friday.

“It is the longest term, with the worst weather. More people are unwell and attendance tends to dip slightly. This leaves you with a diminishing academic output as students cannot sustain the work 
rate over such a long period 
of time.

“The Year 11s need to get half of their work done by Christmas, and I am keen for them to have a two-half term break so that they are rested and ready to work flat out on either side of the holiday. This is not a radical decision – it will not be long before all schools are doing it.”

Also announced in Saturday’s newsletter was the launch of Hackney New Sixth Form, which will open in September 2018 with an 
A-level curriculum based on 
15 subjects.

It has been no secret that the school – rated “good” by Ofsted – has wanted to add a sixth form since opening four years ago. All Year 11 students will be expected to attend the 
first open evening, along 
with potential external candidates, on November 23 (5pm until 8pm). There will 
be an additional open 
morning on December 2 (9.30pm until 1pm).

Director of sixth form Brian McGowan said: “We would encourage all Year 11 students and their parents to attend what should be two very important, informative and enjoyable events.”

What do you think of the two-week half term and the new sixth form? E-mail James Scott on james.scott@archant.co.uk.

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