THE summer holidays have just begun, but it is a busy morning at Cadoxton Primary School, in Barry, an industrial town in Wales. It runs a summer programme for hard-up children, providing meals and activities over the holidays. As youngsters run laughing and screaming into the school cafeteria for breakfast, their parents saunter out, some visibly relieved. Just three days into the six-week school holidays one beleaguered mother says her nine-year-old daughter has already asked five times to go bowling. Without the school’s help, she says, “it would be a long and expensive six weeks”.
In the popular imagination, school summer holidays conjure up a picture of carefree youthful exploration. But many parents rely on the term-time services that schools give their offspring, such as supervision and meals. Come the holidays, they can suddenly find their schedules and budgets stretched. Researchers also say that the long break often sets back children’s learning, and that children from poorer backgrounds are disproportionately affected.
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