Published on Monday, February 20, 2012

Parents taking term time holidays could be fined

Parents taking children out of school during term time to go on holiday could face fines, under a crackdown by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Headteachers are likely to lose the ability to sanction up to two weeks a year of ‘authorised absence’ during term time, in a fresh drive to improve attendance rates.

The discretionary absence is intended to cover illness, bad weather and bereavements, but many heads come under pressure to grant it so that children can be taken on holidays at times when it is cheaper.

Under one option being considered, parents who continue to remove their children to take advantage of cheaper term-time holidays could receive a fine.

The proposals follow a review of school discipline and attendance by teacher and behaviour expert Charlie Taylor. It is thought 4.5million days of schooling are missed by pupils going on holidays, which are often significantly more expensive during school breaks.

A source at the Department for Education told the Daily Mail: ‘Any time out of school has the potential to damage a child’s education. That is why the Government will end the distinction between authorised and unauthorised absence.’

The Department of Education is expected to announce the measures later this month.

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  • Emergency Services and medical profession

    I very much endorse the comment above by the School Governor. So the government will be fining firemen, police officers and medical staff (who have children), all of whom cannot be off at the same time because of the nature of their job?

    By John Brownlie, Tuesday, November 15, 2016

  • Same old story...

    Its probably going to end up cheaper to pay the fine rather than take holidays during peak times. So, only those with larger family incomes can afford to travel during peak times - lesser priviledged areas of society should just shut up and book a caravan. Perhaps, some of us are capable of being responsible for our childs welfare?! I doubt my 5 year old will miss too much in 1 week away from school... I'll risk the fine thanks...

    By ged brown, Tuesday, February 28, 2012

  • Long Sighted

    My expereince is that my kids last few days at school is spent watching videos and messing about, with proper classes no longer taking place. This is the norm I know, both at state and private. There is no education they are missing because they are not getting it as teachers wind down.

    By Chris Hawkins, Monday, February 27, 2012

  • Knickers in a Knot

    Impossible to police given the myriad reasons for absences...... and thus an illogical potential policy. I get it though.....someone probably had their knickers in a knot as they watched parents take their kids out of school willy nilly and then defended these family trips by arguing that kids gain so much. Let's face it, travel per se, is not good. Sure some trips might have educational and transformative value but most trips are beach holidays or ski trips. To argue that they have value is, if not ludicrous, a bit of a stretch.

    By John Burke, Thursday, February 23, 2012

  • Soooo shortsighted

    Oh Jeff, how very shortsighted of you. So 'bureaucrats' wanting your children to get a good education are 'out of touch?' Really? Your kids can travel the world for the rest of their lives but they only get one shot at a good education. Do you really believe that risking all that for the sake of 'learning more' on a holiday is a good plan? Surely not! Parents who say "my child will catch up" really are living in cloud cookoo land, that just doesn't happen and has been proven over & over. Your children won't thank you later in life if you allow their education to suffer, they are likely to pay for that error for life. Those 1 or 2 weeks out may be the diffference between passing or failing crucial exams (I speak from experience). For goodness sake, look at the bigger picture!

    By Keith Standen, Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • Ridiculous

    My wife and I took our kids on holiday during term time to places like Italy, India, Japan etc. I am damn sure they learnt more on those holidays than they would have done staying in school for the same periods. At some point we have to say that bureaucrats and the like are out of touch with reality. This is one of them

    By Jeff Barlow, Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • School Holidays

    Many tour operators, including us, (we specialise in single parent holidays) are often blamed for the higher summer prices but we are also 'victims' as it's the hotels and airlines that up the prices not us. The other reason prices increase and not always appreciated is that the UK are also in competition with the rest of Europe whose schools are also on holiday,(we've all met Germans, French, Italians etc in our holiday hotel),so demand is very high anyway. It's supply & demand again, why would any hotel give the UK cheaper rates when they can fill their properties at full price from the rest of Europe who already pay higher more realistic prices, (ever wondered why in some resorts, Germans, French, Russians etc receive better service than we Brits).

    By Keith Standen, Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • Fines for Parents?

    This government cannot make up its mind! They advocate 'localism', which is leaving decisions to the local level. Then they turn around and want to impose restrictions like these at the national level? Grow up Mr Gove!

    By Richard Mandunya, Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • Ridiculous

    I am a long standing School Governor and also a parent and think it is wrong that the Government is trying to intervene in this way. Children gain far more from going on a family holiday for 1/2 weeks every year than missing school for that period. Parents usually pick the last week of a term where less work is done in schools anyway... Supply and demand would mean prices being even higher during school holidays, which then affects teacher's ability to afford to go away, meaning they don't get the holidays/breaks they need to improve the learning of children, thereby losing any benefit.

    By Alan Sinfield, Monday, February 20, 2012

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