Let parents take kids out of school to beat half term holiday costs, LGA says

The Independent is reporting that local council leaders have urged the Government to let up on its attempts to stop parents taking their children out of school during term time…

Up until September 2013, head teachers were allowed to grant 10 days holiday a year during term-time, but regulations have been changed so leave can only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”, with local authorities obliged to fine parents if their child’s absence is unauthorised.

Leaders of the Local Government Association argue head teachers should be allowed to take a “common sense” approach, particularly in view of the rising cost of taking a holiday during half term breaks and holiday periods.

With the October half term break starting next Monday in most schools, it points out a family of four heading to Cyprus could be hit with fares that are £1,564 higher than if they went on their holiday two weeks later.

Airlines also ratchet up their prices in the holidays, it adds, so that a slight to Orlando, Florida, from London’s Heathrow is £181 more expensive per person next week than two weeks later,

The LGA added: “While councils fully support the Department for Education’s stance on every child being in school every day, there are occasions such as religious festivals, weddings, funerals or perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity whereby parental requests should be given individual consideration.

“The LGA is therefore calling for it to be at the discretion of head teachers, not central government, to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.”

David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people’s board, added: “An outright ban is too simplistic and doesn’t recognise that family life and circumstances aren’t always so black and white. We should have a system where family holidays are just for the rich or indeed children aren’t able to take time off in light of family bereavement…

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “We have been clear that all head teachers are free to grant pupils leave in exceptional circumstances. It is up to them to decide whether to grant time off and how much to grant. This appears to be exactly what the LGA is calling for.”

Head teachers’ leaders, however, argued that they did have enough flexibility under the present system, adding that “exceptional circumstances” should be “extraordinary and rare”…

More at: Let parents take kids out of school to beat half term holiday costs, LGA says

 

This seems an odd intervention from the LGA that both the DfE and school leaders seem opposed to. Can you see merit in an approach that would give greater discretion to heads to decide on individual cases? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. kierstyanne

    SchoolsImprove also can we teachers have a week? I’d gladly do a week staff training in the holidays for a holiday away.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove A news report the other day suggested that holiday companies are increasing the difference between term time & holiday costs

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Why can’t holiday firm prices not be regulated to stop huge rises? Apparently it’s not possible, but I can’t believe that.

  4. 5N_Afzal

    I completely agree with DfE, Brian Lightman and Christine Blower. There is no “ban” on term time absence. The law allows each case to be looked at individually and a decision made depending on the merit of the case. Even under the old system it wasn’t an automatic right to take a 10 day term time holiday. It’s just been made tighter and “special” replaced by exceptional which is as should be. Latest figures show that this has resulted in reduced persistent absenteeism. Surely, that’s a good thing?

  5. MikesuziNZ

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Tax rebates for cheaper holidays during school breaks. If prices go up then increase taxes.

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