Council chiefs have shelved plans to bring the summer holidays forward by one week in schools across Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council’s educational operational delivery committee had been asked to make the changes at its meeting yesterday.
Aberdeen is one of only six local authorities in Scotland where the summer term continues into July – with the school year ending on the first Friday of the month.
During the debate, councillors were asked to consider the changes, but in an eleventh hour U-turn, council chiefs changed their recommendations.
The current holiday pattern will continue for the 2020-21 school year, with further consultation taking place.
The local authority had just concluded a four-week consultation on alternative holiday patterns which garnered 4,120 responses.
Officers said, based on the feedback, the status quo appears to be the preferred way forward for most respondents.
Catriona Mackenzie, SNP education spokeswoman, had asked officers on the work undertaken to engage pupils in the consultation.
SNP opposition members had looked to table an amendment to the original officer recommendations to change the holiday pattern – until the U-turn.
Louise Bruce, parent representative for primary schools on the committee, had raised concerns the consultation was not being listened to.
Before the change in recommendations, she said: “The city-wide parent council forum had concerns when we met on Monday night that the viewpoints we put across as group have not been listened to.
“I understand the reasons behind why the council wants the changes to be made as soon as possible. As far as we are concerned, changes shouldn’t be made unless it is the right way forward for everyone.
“We shouldn’t be making changes for changes’ sake. It should be noted that this is going against the views of the parents’ body.”
In a report to councillors, it said there was pressure on teaching staff to provide evidence to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) of the performance of students in exceptional and special circumstances.
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It said: “This in effect means that some staff have to be in school during the second week of August, which can be during the holidays in those local authorities where the holidays run until the start of the third week.
“An obvious change is to retain a six-week summer holiday, but finish and return one week earlier.
“This would also allow for mitigation of criticism of having the September ‘long weekend’ too close to the start of the new school session in August.”
Councillors agreed to report back to the committee on the new consultation in November.
Aberdeenshire Council is also considering changing school holidays and has launched a public consultation.
A report on the results of the consultation will be brought before the education and children’s services committee on May 30 to seek approval on a set of term dates from August next year to July 2025 inclusive.