I love this picture because like many mums and dads it perfectly sums up my life. As a family we really do need a longer weekend with more time to spend with each other that isn’t taken up by domestic duties, homework and stopping the house from falling down.
It’s one reason why Michael Gove’s ‘suggestion’ that less holidays and a longer school day is a rubbish idea for families. Yes, it would lower childcare costs and be a bit more helpful to some working parents but it would give kids even less time with their families. Plus, despite what Gove says there is no correlation between hours spent at school and educational standards. Asian countries do better because they tend to have a tuition culture that means they spend longs hours studying outside of school, and Scandinavian countries have a much shorter school day and they still do much better than us.
All in all I think it’s hard enough to find time as a family these days, especially as many parents are on shift patterns and many have to work weekends. Knowing there is a bit of time after school (they may finish at 3.15/3.30 but who gets home before 4?) and at weekends and in the holidays is good for families. It helps children to have some down time, and also not get exhausted, tired and fractious by the end of the school year.
If he wants to help working families perhaps he could help make childcare more affordable and do something about our long working hours and the fact there are not enough nursery spaces to go round.
But what do you think? Would you prefer to see a longer school day and shorter holidays? What can the government really do to help working families?