PLANS to create six-term school years are being challenged by a Kent teachers' union and could result in a strike.

Following consultation last year with parents by Kent County Council (KCC), the new term system should come into effect in 2005 but the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) say parents do not realise the impact this will have.

If the plans go ahead to change the school year, pupils will have a two-week half term in October, an Easter break fixed at the same time each year and a shorter summer holiday.

But Allan Craig, the union's national executive member for Kent and Medway, says 97 per cent of his members are against the pattern of the school year changing.

He added: "The consultation KCC ran was totally flawed.

"It didn't list pros and cons, just giving two or three ideas why it might not be a bad idea.

"Parents don't understand the full implications of it.

"It might sound good but, if you're a working single parent, your childcare costs will rise."

A KCC spokesman said it stands by the positive response it got from the consultation and does not intend to change the school year until neighbouring councils do the same.

But Allan Craig added, if KCC goes ahead with the plans, the NASUWT would declare a dispute which could lead to industrial action of some kind.