Principal praised by parents for introducing extra holidays to help improve students’ mental health.

Simon Cox, who is the principal at Woodlands School in Basildon, UK, said the extra holiday time will prove a huge benefit to ‘deprived’ families who often can’t afford the prices of activities and travel which are increased during the current holiday periods.

With the extra week, eligible students will be able to spend ‘enriching’ time with their families away from the classroom.

“We’ve decided to create a week at the end of every school year where families, if they meet the criteria and complete the forms, can take their children away for an enrichment activity and a holiday,” Cox told UK TV program This Morning.

“It is around the mental health. We have so many deprived families in our area and in our community that really this is about spending time with your family and away from the stresses of living,” the principal said.

“Over 500,000 young people were referred to the NHS for mental health issues last year”

The principal explained that the activities parents plan for ‘enrichment week’ have to be beneficial for the child.

“It has to be spiritual, moral, social, cultural. Parents need to list the activities they do when away,” he said.

“When you come back for the second week, [students] present to peers what [they’ve] done, what [they’ve] learned.”

The principal’s decision received an inundation of positive responses, praising the school for adopting modern strategies for helping young people.

Would you like to see this at your school?

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  • There is a private school in SA that gives the pupils an extra week in the July holidays. It creates a problem for single parents who work to support their family rather than live on Centrelink payments. In some cases both parents work to keep a roof over their heads, pay for extra curricular activities and gaps in medical expenses. Some medical gaps are huge. I know a shool boy who has been having special allergy tests the gap for these tests are something like $500.00 each time.

    • Then seriously they are crazy spending money to send their child to a private School if their house hold budget is so tight. It really makes no sense.


  • Great idea for supporting many families.


  • Great thinking. More places need to adapt to this view.


  • Wow, what a ‘think outside the box’ kind of Principal. Mental health issues are increasing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up. This Principal should be applauded for thinking firstly of his students and their families. Good on him.


  • In an ideal world, the cash grabbing practice of “peak pricing” would be regulated, the only problem is that it is across all industries and they’re all interconnected when you really think about it so it would be virtually impossible to get the ball rolling on all of them. Great idea and well done to this man for taking the initiative for the welfare of his students.


  • Cool idea but what would be a better idea is having businesses not raise their prices just because it is holiday season then kids could have their breaks and not miss any education time

    • In Australia during the July winter holidays a my schools in the private sector have 3 Weeks off instead of only 2


  • That is such a good idea!


  • Oh wow, good on him. Great idea.


  • Yes, absolutely. I find the summer holidays quite short. It would be great to have 7-10 days more of holidays!


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