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In theory it sounded like a good idea: banning parents from disrupting their children’s education by taking a holiday during term time.
But life isn’t that simple.
In the year since the ban on school holidays was introduced we’ve seen parents threatened with fines for taking their children to funerals, head teachers accused of hypocrisy for holidaying in term time and a 38 Degrees petition for the reversal of the ban signed by over 200,000 people.
The Local Government Association said the rules do not reflect the complexities of family life and it is absolutely right.
Most parents point out the price of a holiday outside of term time sky rockets even for the most basic of breaks at a time when family budgets are already being squeezed immediately pricing them out of trips.
Even a simple day out to a theme park can cost in excess of £100 for a family of four particularly when you factor in petrol, food and parking.
Some argue it can even be cheaper to take the £60 penalty notice per child than pay for a holiday in the school holidays – seeing it as an extra tax than a fine.
It is not just about money, holidays provide not only much-needed family time but are also educationally valuable as well.
Work, school, clubs and life in general means we are spending less and less time together as families.
For many families, a holiday is probably the only time they get to spend together for an extended period away from any distractions.
That some may miss out because their parents busiest times at work may be during school holidays is a crying shame.
Foreign travel can also open children’s eyes to other cultures and languages and the experiences are invaluable.
The ban will not have affected those who were abusing the previous rules by booking three or more holidays a year in term time and could easily afford a two week break in the school holidays.
And there were already sanctions in place for parents whose children were continually away from schools.
So it is time to inject some common sense into the ban.
Firstly, scrap the blanket ban.
Instead, let it be at the head teacher’s discretion once again and perhaps instead only allow one week during a school year (not around exam time) except in exceptional circumstances.
Ask parents to detail the educational benefits of the break and explain how they would be responsible for making sure the children were up to date with the work on their return.
Ultimately, we need to stop removing responsibility from parents for their children’s well being and up bringing.
Rather than a blanket ban, we should trust teachers to be able to make a call on whether a few days away from the classroom will have a lasting effect on that child.
We shouldn’t be fining parents for legitimately wanting to be with their children whether it is for a wedding, funeral or once in a lifetime trip and we should not let teachers bear the brunt of disgruntled parents because of Government legislation.