The Guardian is reporting that MPs have argues the ban on term-time holidays is “blatantly unfair” and is undermining the importance of family life.
Taking part in a debate on the strict measures that outlaw term-time absence other than in “exceptional” circumstances, MPs called for an immediate review of the policy, claiming that family life was being pitted against the classroom…
Leading the debate, Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: “Education is clearly vitally important. But it is not the only important thing in a child’s upbringing. While I support the aim of getting children to attend school regularly I fundamentally disagree that telling parents when they can and cannot take their children on holiday is the job of the state.”
“Every child is unique and it should be for parents to decide what is right and best.”
Double said the restrictions meant people who work in tourist areas were unable to take family holidays, as were lower- and even middle-income families who could not afford to go on holiday during peak periods. Families who once relied on charities for their holiday, often in September when prices were lower, had also lost out. “The message this policy sends out is that being in the classroom is more important than being with your family,” he said. “Something I fundamentally cannot support.”
The parliamentary debate was triggered after a petition on the issue gathered more than 120,000 signatures in a month.
…A DfE spokesperson said it was a myth that missing school even for a short time was harmless to a child’s education. “Our evidence shows missing the equivalent of just one week a year from school can mean a child is significantly less likely to achieve good GCSE grades, having a lasting effect on their life chances.
“Heads and teachers are now firmly back in charge of their classrooms, and most recent figures show we have made real progress – with 200,000 fewer pupils regularly missing school compared with five years ago…”
There seems to be no sign of the arguments over term time holidays quietening down. As we see elsewhere today, one suggestion is for all parents to have the option of 5 days of term-time holiday each year.
How do you think we can find a sensible way forward between the various positions held on this?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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