Drop term-time holiday ban, urges petition

 
Children on beach A petition by parents is demanding the government reverse its term-time holiday ban on schoolchildren

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A petition demanding the government reverse a ban on schoolchildren in England taking holidays during term-time will be delivered later.

The 126,000-signature document will be given to the Department for Education.

Campaigners say many families cannot afford the higher cost of a break during the school holidays.

The DfE said it was giving schools more freedom to set term dates - potentially meaning parents could book cheaper holidays.

'Educational'

Until last month, heads could grant up to 10 days' leave a year for family holidays in "special circumstances".

Since 1 September, head teachers have no longer been able to grant any absence outside school holidays except under "exceptional circumstances".

The reference to the 10-day limit has been removed from the regulations.

A petition against the ban, started by a parent and hosted on the 38-Degrees Campaigns By You website, had attracted 126,275 signatures by Tuesday evening.

The petition says the ban will "adversely affect" families who cannot afford the higher prices charged to holidaymakers during the school holidays.

"Also not all businesses can allow their staff to be off all at the same time", says the petition.

"All children who have a good attendance record should be allowed the opportunity to enjoy quality time with their parents on an annual holiday of up to 10 days once per year."

Craig Langman, the parent who started the petition, told BBC News his six-year-old son still recalls a holiday the family took to Rome during term-time two years ago and has done school projects based on the trip.

"It was probably more educational than being in school to be honest.

'Blanket ban'

"He still remembers the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum."

Mr Langman says the cost of breaks during the school holidays can be three times as much as during term-time.

"I am not asking kids to have a guaranteed extra two weeks on top of their existing 10 weeks' holiday each year - but this blanket ban on term-time holidays with the threat of a fine is almost killing families."

He argues that the decision as to whether to grant a request for extra days off school should remain with head teachers.

"I feel that most MPs in the government had holidays with their parents when they were younger so why do they think they have the power to stop our children's generation from enjoying the same lifestyle," says Mr Langman.

"Soon only rich kids would be able to go on holiday and that's unfair on everyone else."

A DfE spokesperson said: "If children aren't in school they lose out on valuable learning time and have to waste more time catching up. That's why children shouldn't be taken out of school during term time unless absolutely necessary.

"We are giving all schools the freedom to set their own term dates, for example David Young Community Academy in Leeds operates a seven-term year starting in June. This means that parents and teachers can benefit from cheaper holidays at the end of September.

"We want schools to consider changes to term dates that will work for their pupils and their families."

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1002.

    Still can't believe that some parents believe that their children are going to do better overall if they spend an extra 5 days at school over the course of a year as opposed to spending it in a foreign country. Delusional.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1001.

    Simple way to solve the problem: add two weeks onto the school year and then allow each child up to 2 weeks term-time holiday. That way you keep the existing minimum time in school and allow flexibility. I know that would mean a paltry 12 weeks paid hols a year for the teachers, but I am sure they will see the benefits.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 991.

    I agree most people would have to re-think their holidays - but why are we still living in the dark ages of a 6 week break in the school year - put aside being able to go on holiday this is an issue to most working parents - get an extra term in here and this will pick up any missed schooling. holidays are essential to the family unit.

  • rate this
    +79

    Comment number 60.

    Most people can afford a holiday in the school holidays, you just have to rethink what you class as a holiday.

    Yes package holidays / skiing trips are expensive, so why not buy a tent and go on a camping holiday within the UK or on the continent.

    You can make holidays cheap, they may just be different to what you originally expected.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 45.

    The fact that parents still take their kids on holiday during term time because its still loads cheaper even with the fines shows just how much travel companies rip them off.

    I don't have kids and would prefer to travel without youngsters around but I signed this petition because I hate seeing people held over a barrel and occasionally holidays can be more educational than school.

 

Comments 5 of 9

 

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