Parents voice concerns about new school calendar

Parents voice concerns about new school calendar
Children lined up at a primary school in Helecine, Monday 06 December 2021. BELGA PHOTO/ERIC LALMAND

The reform of the calendar for Francophone schools in Belgium has split opinion since first proposed. The new schedule will see seven-week teaching blocs followed by two weeks of holidays.

Not everyone is pleased by this development, with 52% of parents in Wallonia saying the reform (that enters into force on August 29) will not bring any benefits to their child.

An opinion survey conducted by the Walloon family allowance fund Camille shows that six in 10 parents believe that the old school calendar "worked very well"; 43% now fear having to find more ways to entertain their children outside of school.

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Almost four in 10 parents point to the non-alignment of holidays with other communities – the changes do not apply in the Dutch system. Parents regret the fact that children won’t be able to enjoy as much of the summer in the future.

While they feel that the changes will not benefit their child, parents also fear the consequences of the new calendar for themselves: 56% think that this new organisation is "bad news" for parents. They have particular concerns related to childcare.

Two in three families say that the reform will have an impact on their budget, mainly due to an increase in the cost of out-of-school activities or the prices of holidays which could increase, according to the study conducted last May among 5,076 parents with children aged 3 to 18.

Last spring, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation approved a new school calendar based on a shortening of the summer holidays to seven weeks. The holidays of All Saints and Carnival will be reduced from two weeks to one. The reform will apply from 29 August this year.

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