Parents and teachers are demanding more time to debate a major shake-up of the English Schools Foundation's school year that could cut summer holidays by up to three weeks. The ESF launched an online consultation on April 1 over two options for switching next year to a four-term school year - Model C and Model B - with an extra two-week holiday in October and a shorter, earlier summer break. Model C cuts the summer holiday from seven or eight weeks to five, with the autumn term beginning three weeks earlier on August 1 and gives an extra week off at Christmas in addition to the October holiday. Model B provides a six-week summer holiday, with the autumn term starting in the second week of August but no extra leave at Christmas. A third option, Model A, retains the existing three-term school year. Parents were invited to submit their views on the calendars, which cover five school years from next year to 2015, indicating their preferred model and suggesting other ideas and alternatives, by the end of the month. The ESF's governing board would make a decision on June 16. ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said: 'We are doing this because there is very general feeling among the educational community - principals and teachers - that the first term is too long and the children, especially the younger ones, get very tired.' The foundation was also trying to give Year 12 and 13 students as much teaching time as possible on the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, for which exams began some two weeks earlier than the A-levels it had replaced. 'We have had over 200 responses so far,' she said. 'It is possible that we will extend the deadline. We will make a decision at the end of this week. But we are quite clear that a decision must be taken this term.' Mrs Du Quesnay was due to meet the parents' committee and educators' groups last night to discuss the issue. Parents' committee member Albert Yeung Tak-chung, who has two sons at Sha Tin College, said: 'I am inclined not to support the four-term year. I think we need to consider the whole issue in the Hong Kong context. You can't simply take the model from outside and import it to Hong Kong. 'Any outdoor activity is very difficult in the summer months. And if you have got two children, one in the local system and one in ESF, and their holidays do not coincide, how can you spend time together as a family? They need to give people at least six months to discuss this issue.' Sue Page, chair of ESF teachers' union APTESFS, said the proposals ignored the fact that expatriates visiting their families abroad during the summer holiday was 'an integral part of Hong Kong life'. 'This seems to be reform for reform's sake,' she said. 'Teachers are already demoralised by feeling their term has been expanded in many, many ways. We are just going to be hurtling from one period of teaching to the next.' Ms Page said that she was astonished that the proposal was being pushed through without justification or explanation and the union would demand a 'proper consultation' involving open forums and debates. But a parent with an eight-year-old son at Kennedy School said: 'A four-term year would be fantastic. My son is totally exhausted by the end of the first term. I would prefer Model C, which means we could have a longer time to spend with family in South Africa over Christmas.'