Schools in Surrey will not follow the government proposals for a six-term year, after Surrey County Council decided to retain a modified three-term calendar for all pupils.

Following one of the largest public consultation exercises in Surrey in recent years, the council’s policy-making executive decided to follow the public’s view that the government’s scheme should be discarded.

This scheme will see a switch to four, six-week, and two seven-week terms - with a fortnight’s break in October.

From September 2005, the council said it was planning to bring in a fixed two-week holiday in April, to replace the Easter break, but will not be extending the half-term breaks or shortening Summer holidays.

In some years, this means that the key Christian festival of Easter will fall as a long weekend during term-time.

The decision was made following a six-week consultation period, in which parents, schools staff, governors and businesses were asked to choose which one of three options they would prefer.

Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We received in excess of 21,250 responses to the consultation document, and 41.3 per cent of those who responded were in favour of introducing a fixed Spring break. It was also the option most favoured by school staff.

“The holiday in early April will even out the length of the Spring and Summer terms, which will enable schools to plan curriculum activities more effectively. The total number of school days will not change.

“The six-term option also included a fixed Spring break, bringing the total in favour to 74.2 per cent, and proving that the clear mandate from residents is for a move away from the traditional pattern of the school calendar.” The six-term option went a stage further than fixing the date of the Spring holiday, and proposed reducing the length of the Summer holiday and increasing the break in October to two weeks.

The council will now contact its 14 neighbouring local education authorities to inform them of its decision, hoping that others will also adopt the fixed Spring break.

Schools in Spelthorne and Runnymede must follow the Surrey model because the county council is the education controlling body of all of the boroughs.

But Sunbury Common Cllr, Ian Beardsmore, added: “If the surrounding boroughs follow the government’s proposals, parents who have children in schools in different authority areas [with one child going to school in Hounslow and another in Spelthorne] could face difficulties, because each local education authority sets its own terms and holiday dates, and I don’t know how parents could deal with the situation when planning their own holidays.”