Summer holidays: Are they too long?

July 22, 2019

School’s out for summer! But with six weeks of free time before the new term, nearly two-thirds of parents said they think the school holidays should be shorter. Find out why here…

Father and son on the beach

We surveyed 2,000 parents to find out how they feel about the summer holidays. The results were clear: 61% think they should be shorter.

So what are the reasons? 71% of parents think that their child’s academic ability drops over the summer holidays and four in ten (40%) believe children forget what they learnt during the school year. Don’t worry – help is at hand! We’ve put together a jam-packed programme of free events and activities this summer to help children keep learning. Get involved today!


As well as the worry of keeping children engaged with learning, half (50%) of parents said they struggle to get time off over the summer holidays and 46% said childcare for this extended period of time is challenging. Finances are also strained as over a third (35%) struggle to find and pay for childcare, and 39% find it hard to pay for family holidays as they are so expensive.

Keeping children entertained is another battle with 43% finding it difficult to keep their children busy and 59% of parents saying their children get bored over the holidays.

Reading is the most popular educational source of entertainment with just over half (52%) of parents saying they read together. Museum visits and using online resources are also ways learning is kept in summer routines for 47% of parents.

Top methods to help your child’s learning over the summer break according to parents:

  1. Reading together (52%)
  2. Museum visits (48%)
  3. Online resources & games (47%)
  4. Arts & crafts (45%)
  5. Baking (40%)

Here are some top tips to prevent children from getting bored – and sneak learning into everyday activities:

  • Travel in style. On the way to a favourite day out? This can be an exciting opportunity to discover how to use a map to plan a route, review timetables and cost up the tickets.
  • Enjoy a lazy afternoon. Watching films can be a chance to develop important skills. Try practising their comprehension skills and challenge their imaginations by discussing alternative endings, why the film was made, the motives of main characters etc.
  • Discover audiobooks. Although children aren’t directly decoding words by reading the text themselves, audiobooks can make reluctant readers gain confidence in comprehending stories whilst developing their memory, concentration and imagination.

The subjects parents felt were most important over the summer were reading (66%), writing (58%) and maths (54%). But the latter was also the subject they find hardest to help with according to 43% of parents, followed by science (25%) and writing (24%).

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “Six weeks is a long break from learning so it’s understandable that parents are concerned. It’s reassuring to see that the majority of parents recognise this and believe that reading, writing and maths should be kept in routines in some way. It’s great that so many families make the most of online resources and enjoy cultural, educational days out like trips to museums. These are perfect ways to keep children entertained and to learn new things in a fun way as a family over summer.”

The summer holidays can be a great time to consolidate topics children have learned over the past year and start building up their confidence ahead of the new term. That’s where we come in! Try Explore Learning for free today to see your child develop a love of learning.

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