Term time school holidays – the facts

Term time school holidays – the facts

Can you take kids on holiday during term time?

Almost 64,000 fines were issued for unauthorised absences between September 2013 and August 2014 so why do we continue to take our children on holiday during term time? The answer is simple – it is cheaper.

Even if you book you book your cheap term time holiday AND pay a fine, it can still work out cheaper than booking a holiday during the summer break.

The government says rules around term time holidays are needed because missing lessons can harm pupils’ chances of getting good qualifications.

What did the old guidelines say?

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 said head teachers could grant leave of absence of up to 10 days for the purposes of a family holiday during term time in “special circumstances”.

Head teachers could also grant extended leave for more than 10 days in “exceptional circumstances”.

The government said it had long recognised schools were experiencing problems with parents using this threshold as a right, rather than as a rough guide for a particular sort of situation.

What changes have been made?

All references to family holidays were removed from the regulations and head teachers could not grant any leave of absence to pupils during term time without “exceptional circumstances”.

This new rule came into force in September 2013.

They also highlighted and tightened the procedure for local education authorities fining parents for unauthorised pupil absences.

Under the 2006 guidelines, parents could be fined £60 for the unauthorised absence of a child, if it was paid within 28 days, rising to £120 if it was paid within 29 to 42 days.

In September 2013, the timescale for payment was reduced to 21 days at £60 and 28 days at £120 respectively.

The fines were to be levied by local authorities for absences in maintained schools, and by academies where absences were from academies.

What do parents think?

We have had this discussion on my Facebook page a while ago and a lot of people got involved.

Many parents said it is ok to take their children on holiday when they liked. after all they were ‘their’ children.

Others were saying they can see the need for these rules as teachers would be stretched if they had to keep doing ‘catch up work’ with pupils who had been on holiday and missed some work.

However most people agreed that the real blame lay with the travel agents. If prices were at an affordable price all year round then this issue would no longer be a problem.

Where do you stand on this? What could be done to correct the problem?

I will admit I have taken my children out of school for a holiday. We went away on a UK break and I made sure we fitted in some ‘educational visits’ between all the fun.

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