School term dates cause problems for Suffolk-Norfolk border families
- Credit: Denise Bradley/ Gregg Brown
Families on the Suffolk-Norfolk border who send their children to different schools face a logistical nightmare - because of varying term dates between the two counties.
While school term dates frequently vary by the odd day between different counties, February half-term in Suffolk - starting on February 21 - will be a whole week later than Norfolk.
The Easter holidays also begin a week earlier in Norfolk than they do in Suffolk.
Families who live on the border and send their children to different schools now say they have difficult choices to make and face missing out on family time together.
One teacher in Norfolk, whose wife works at a school in Suffolk and whose children also attend school in Suffolk, said he now faces spending the school holiday without his loved ones.
However, Sara Goatcher, conservation education manager at the Zoological Society of East Anglia - which runs Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo - said: "Although there can be staffing issues, particularly at Easter when we would have lots of students returning for work, being able to offer the activities and events over a longer period of time definitely helps with crowd control - which of course has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind since Covid hit."
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said of the term dates: "We try to align them with neighbouring councils. This isn’t always possible and alignment with one council can mean a difference with another.
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"In addition, some schools choose different dates, so we have an example in the north of the county where a school in a trust that straddles the border has chosen different dates as is their right.”
Norfolk County Council said that it worked hard to discuss term dates with Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to keep dates consistent, with only minor variations.