Call to push back summer holidays
QUEENSLAND school holidays could face a shake-up in a bid to tackle the high costs of airconditioning classrooms.
The Queensland Teachers' Union has proposed changing the start and end date of school terms to keep students and teachers out of classrooms during the hottest parts of the year.
It says it would also help keep airconditioning bills down.
It has proposed having end-of-year school holidays start closer to Christmas.
The move would mirror other states including NSW's "western division" which started on February 5 this year, with Christmas holidays to begin on December 22.
While the union has not yet discussed the idea with its members, President Kevin Bates said all options should be explored when creating a better learning environment.
"This might be another way of dealing with some of those issues that might impact on children's learning," Mr Bates said.
"We need to explore all of the options available for creating a better learning environment for students and for our members."
However, Education Minister Grace Grace said yesterday the government had no plans to change the calendar.
Scorching temperatures threw some Queensland schools into chaos earlier this year when some classrooms recorded temperatures around 40C degrees.
Queensland public schools started on January 22 this year and will finish on December 14.
However both the ACT and Tasmania started on February 5 and will finish closer to Christmas.
It comes after the State Opposition announced it would aircondition every public school if elected.
Mr Bates said some schools were already looking at alternatives to avoid the heat, like starting and finishing the day earlier.
"There will be a view that (with) the way things are going, February isn't much better than January so there may be a view that we're not going to gain a lot, we just need airconditioning," he said.
"There's an opportunity there for that to be part of the conversations going forward.
"There are various models out there but it's then about the extent to which we could capitalise on that in Queensland in terms of it being for purposes of accommodating this increased heat.
"I'm not suggesting this but there are other parts of the world that have their big holidays in summer that don't have that same sort of heat we have.
"There is potentially a much bigger question than just putting airconditioning in."
Minister Grace said the Government's Our Cooler Schools policy ensured classrooms were cooled in the hottest parts of the state.
"This year, we've allocated $21 million for airconditioning in Queensland state schools and we will continue to work with school communities and P & Cs to assist with airconditioning and classroom cooling measures," she said.