Londoners divided over whether parents should be able to take children out of school for holidays

The Evening Standard is reporting a London wide poll that suggests opinions are divided in the capital  – sometimes along lines of age and sex – over whether parents should have the right to take younger children on holiday during school term time…

More than half — 54 per cent — think primary schools should allow them to whisk their children out of lessons for a family holiday, YouGov discovered.

But almost as many (51 per cent) think secondary schools should uphold a ban on families going away outside the school holidays when sunshine breaks are cheaper.

Almost a third do not think any children at all should be allowed to miss time at school for the sake of family jaunts…

The findings suggest a substantial rebellion has grown against tougher rules imposed by former Education Secretary Michael Gove. He ended a policy that allowed head teachers to grant up to 10 days holiday a year to families in “special circumstances”.

The policy has caused enormous anger among parents, while a London banker recently lodged a legal test case to challenge the law. James Haymore argued that his human rights were breached by attempts to fine him for taking his children to America for a memorial service.

Official government guidance states that permission must be obtained in advance from a headteacher and only in “exceptional circumstances”.

Today’s survey revealed intriguing differences in the responses according to age, sex and political party support. Women are much more likely to support taking only primary age pupils away in term time: some 24 per cent of women said yes compared with just 14 per cent of men. Men were more likely to support taking only secondary school kids away — four per cent of them said yes, compared with one per cent of women.

Younger adults aged 18 to 24 were the least in favour of missing term time. People in the 25 to 39 age group were the most in favour, which suggests that people change their mind once they have children of their own.

Liberal Democrat supporters were the most in favour of the rules, with 48 per cent calling for a complete ban on term-time holidays. Ukip supporters were most likely to say parents should do as they please. Only 16 per cent of them backed a ban.

Nicola Wildash of YouGov said: “People treat missing primary school and secondary school differently. Londoners think that older children will suffer more from missing a week of lessons…”

More at: Most Londoners think parents should be able to take children out of school for holidays, poll shows


While passions obviously run high for many over term time holidays, the polls suggests, amongst Londoners at least, that there is little consensus over the issue. Any particular insights from the results? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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