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Blanket ban on term time holidays “unworkable”

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The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for a “common sense approach” to be applied to term time holidays for families in England taking their children out of school for holidays.

The move comes after it was revealed that the number of fines issued for term-time holidays has almost trebled in the last two years. Councils issued a total of 86,010 fines were issued in the 2014-2015 academic year, compared to 32,512 in 2012-2013.

Case dismissed from courtjon platt term time holidays

Just last week, one father in the Isle of Wight had his case dismissed by the court after refusing to pay a fine for taking his child on holiday. Jon Platt (pictured) had taken his six-year-old daughter out of school for a trip to Florida and was handed a £120 fine. The Council took him to court after he refused to pay. However, Mr Platt argued that the law only stated parents had to ensure their children attend school “regularly” and that there was no official regulation on taking them out of school for holidays. Magistrates agreed with him and said he had no case to answer.

Punishment for term time holidays

Strict new rules were put in place in 2013 to discourage parents from taking their children on trips during term time. Parents are only granted permission for absence in exceptional circumstances and can be issued a £60 fine, rising to £120 if not paid early, for taking their children out of school. If prosecuted, parents can face a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or even a three-month prison sentence.

Pros and cons

However, the LGA argues that many families struggle to meet the cost of taking holidays outside of term time and that the current system “does not always favour families.”

Councillor Roy Perry told the BBC that family holidays can provide “social and emotional benefits which are of lasting value and support to children.” He continued, “It should not be something for which they are unduly punished.”

The government’s schools minister Nick Gibb disagrees. He argued: “Our data shows that just a week off per year leading up to the GCSE courses can reduce the chances of that child getting good GCSEs by about a quarter.”

Discretion

Campaigners for change want the rules returned to what they were before 2013. This would mean headteachers would have the option of granting permission for up to 10 days absence at their own discretion.

 

 

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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