Drop term-time holiday ban, urges petition

A 126,000-signature petition demanding the government reverse a ban on schoolchildren in England taking holidays during term-time is being delivered to the DfE. This is from the BBC

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.

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.

“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.”

More at:  Drop term-time holiday ban, urges petition

What do you think? Should parents be allowed to take children on term time time holidays or not? Let us know in our poll here, in the comments or on twitter… 

Delay formal education until age seven, says Rowan Williams
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Categories: Parenting.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Morals of holiday companies who up prices in schl hols ought to be questioned and DfE solution of changing term dates daft

  2. redbaronski

    5N_Afzal SchoolsImprove why remove head’s discretionar; why sanction so severely? Deeply misguided changes turns parents into criminals

  3. redbaronski

    5N_Afzal SchoolsImprove why remove head’s discretion; why sanction so severely? Deeply misguided changed make criminals of parents.

  4. MinoHedgehog

    SchoolsImprove Perhaps the ban shld be lifted, but parents shld consult teachers before booking and kids could do holiday mini-projects

  5. saddleworthcake

    SchoolsImprove Term time hols hugely disruptive. Difficult to deal with child who has missed the foundations of a term’s work.

  6. SchoolsImprove

    5N_Afzal UKGovChat Interesting – looks like it’s about even at the moment (was against earlier) but sample small so far too

  7. andylutwyche

    “iantindal: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ~ Similar morality to rail companies upping prices at peak travel times each day.” Agreed!

  8. andylutwyche

    “iantindal: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ~ Similar morality to rail companies upping prices at peak travel times each day.” Agreed!

  9. acet2001

    mcmillh02 SchoolsImprove School holidays should be staggered by a few weeks across the country so that travel firms can’t do this.

  10. andylutwyche

    iantindal SchoolsImprove And will make it impossible for teachers whose children’s school follow different term times to theirs

  11. 5N_Afzal

    SchoolsImprove Our sample size was very, very small too. It may also have been skewed by the fact that respondents were school governors.

  12. jacquiburkefp

    SchoolsImprove I went on hol once during term – missed long division. I still struggle with it. Education needs foundations without gaps.

  13. DrDawnie

    SchoolsImprove I’ll just book my hols during term time too then & benefit from cheaper deals. Sure parents won’t mind kids with no teacher?

  14. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove problem with letting schls decide dates is that most families have >1 children so will end up with further reduced options.

  15. morris_emma

    SchoolsImprove No, not in secondary school anyway. Flexibility on term time dates would benefit both staff and pupils for cheaper hols.

  16. SusannaDiggines

    SchoolsImprove Had to lie to get kids out for 1 day last week, ridiculous, better to tell the truth but couldn’t, not a great msg for kids

  17. ComplainingCow

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove they’ll just raise the prices of outside school not bring them down! It’s a hideous difference

  18. edujdw

    SchoolsImprove no, place pressure on holiday firms to end blatant profiteering at the expense of parents with children of school age.

  19. andylutwyche

    ComplainingCow SchoolsImprove Agreed, but nothing ever gets said about it by govt. In a sense you can’t blame people for term time hols

  20. anthonysappong

    mcmillh02 SchoolsImprove They don’t see it because as always with education matters, people always want to take the “easy” option.

  21. anthonysappong

    mcmillh02 SchoolsImprove lifting ban is easy, stopping inflation of prices in holidays will affect some “big wigs” profit! Hard!

  22. andylutwyche

    Jan_Rush iantindal SchoolsImprove Fair point, doesn’t make it any better though. Perhaps people should avoid going through agents

  23. BrooksStuart

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove agree completely. Offering flexibility in dates had a huge impacts on teachers with children in other boroughs

  24. theprimaryhead

    SchoolsImprove No. School is important, you need to come to school. Petition against expensive holidays…that will help teachers too.

  25. BrooksStuart

    andylutwyche very true. Common sense says we should be part of the debate and discussion rather than told what will be happening to us!

  26. MissThingRae

    SchoolsImprove Yes as they do some learning on holiday. It’s amazing learning about different countries/cultures/world foods/currency

  27. Organic_Jane

    SchoolsImprove Idiotic. Analisys of under achieving children in KS2 can be linked to absence issues in KS1 (term time hols).

  28. This is untrue, The DfE’s own statistics published in 2011 states that upto 2 weeks per year missed due to holidays for kids studying at KS2 & 4 KS4 has no long time iiimpact to a childs attainment. @parentswantasay

  29. Expensive holidays is due to supply and demand and cannot be regulated. We believe that School is important however so is family time and life doesn’t always fit around the School Holidays.

  30. Thats fine. We have seen that Teachers and Head Teachers have been going on holidays during term time. It is only with pressure that some head teachers have realised that going away when kids are at schools is one rule for them that they have decided not to.

  31. Maths is important however who uses long division these days ??? Doesn’t everyone use computers these days for advanced maths calculations. Why spend time to try to figure it out yourself when there is a tool to do it much faster and more accurate available to you.

  32. In primary education children are taught the important things at least 3 times within a schol academic year therefore a holiday wouldn’t be a massive disruption to the child or the rest of the class. Isn’t the answer to let the child take homework on holiday with them like the used to do when I was at school ?

  33. We agree with both the points you raise. Parents should always follow the process that have been set out by the Local EEducation Authority to all schools. Parents should not book a hoiday and then ask for permission. Parents should apply to the school for leave of absence permission and then book. Also kids should be given things to do while on holiday.

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