As August turned to September, the weather has definitely taken an autumnal turn and the Summer holidays are long forgotten as we go into “back to school” mode. Even if you don’t have any connections to school-age children, the calendar continues to revolve around the 3 term system.
My quote actually comes from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and it does raise a good point; who came up with the new academic year starting in the Autumn? Oxford and Cambridge certainly have their idiosyncrasies and special terminology as we’ve discussed before in this blog. While the Autumn term is known as the Michaelmas term in Oxford, it follows the standard UK convention of making a fresh start in September.
Have you ever wondered why Autumn was chosen as the starting point for studies? It would appear to be bound up with the requirements of farming. Agriculture is particularly labour-intensive in the Summer, culminating in the harvest. It was a case of all hands on deck, with children representing a significant part of the workforce. It therefore made sense to postpone the school start until the children were available.
Nowadays we tend to assume that 1st January is the obvious place to make a fresh start, but it must be remembered that this only became the start of the year with the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. In fact, 13 September 1752 did not exist in England, as this was one of the 11 days which was stolen when the Gregorian system was adopted!
Prior to 1752, England used the Julian calendar, and the year started on 25 March – Lady Day. This is one of the quarter days which regulated business affairs, and is the reason for the tax year starting in April. All of the quarter days fall on religious festivals, with Michaelmas (giving its name to the Oxbridge term) – the feast of St Michael – falling on 29 September.
Other calendars don’t start on 1 January either. The Chinese New Year falls in late January/February and the Hebrew calendar starts in September. In other countries the school year does not start in September; in Australia the main summer holiday coincides with Christmas, so it makes sense to start afresh after the long break.
Why don’t we start the academic year in January then? Surely agriculture does not influence our timetables to such a great extent. The consensus appears to be that a long break would be taken in the Summer months whenever the academic year started, and there would be a danger that all the learning from the start of the year would be forgotten.
What has all this got to do with Computer Troubleshooters?
You would think that companies need computers to work and support their business activities through the year, and of course we are here to keep our clients’ IT up-and-running. However, any big decisions concerning the undertaking of a service contract or agreeing to a project such as the migration from server-based emails to Office 365 tend to be put on hold over the Summer as the key decision-makers take their annual break.
As we flipped our calendar to September, we felt the change in tempo immediately. New staff members are in need of computer equipment, and the green light has been given on a number of IT projects. We find that Autumn is a very productive time for business, and you deserve a fully-functioning IT setup which allows your business to prosper and thrive.
Ready to sign up for a service contract or IT project? Contact us on 01732 300064 – We’re ready when you are!
Get the new (school) year off to a great start with the IT infrastructure to support your ambitions!