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Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Government fines for term-time holidays branded 'counterproductive'

The Government's policy on fining parents for taking holidays during term time has been branded counterproductive, as the Lib Dems vow to reverse it.

Travelzoo has said that it is still cheaper to pay the fine than go on holiday out of term time, adding a YouGov survey said the new policy was affecting relations between teachers and parents.

The criticism comes as the Liberal Democrats pledged at their conference in Bournemouth to allow children to take up to 10 days' holiday during term time, saying it was vitally important for families to take a break together.

Louise Hodges at Travelzoo said: "The current policy, which involves fining parents who take their child/ren on holiday during term time is counterproductive.

"Generally paying the fine - which is charged per child for each unauthorised period of absence - is cheaper for parents than booking a holiday out of term time. 

"Shockingly nearly three quarters of teachers admit they have found parents are lying about reasons for children not being in school  - this is a direct result of the removal of the ten days discretionary leave under Michael Gove's policies."

Nearly half (49%) of teachers involved in a recent YouGov survey said fining parents for unauthorised absences is having a negative effect on teachers relationship with pupils' families and over half (52%) think head teachers should be given back the powers to grant discretionary absences.

She added: "While there is no quick fix, allowing schools to stagger their holiday dates and giving parents the ability - on a case by case basis - to take their child out of school during term time, would help families deal with the Parent Trap of unaffordable holidays and restrictions on when they can spend time together on holiday."

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