Drop term-time holiday ban, urges petition

Children on beach A petition by parents is demanding the government reverse its term-time holiday ban on schoolchildren

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A petition demanding the government reverse a ban on schoolchildren in England taking holidays during term-time will be delivered later.

The 126,000-signature document will be given to the Department for Education.

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.

'Blanket ban'

"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."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1024.

    1013 DB whoever thinks camping is cheap has obviously never tried it, with 2 adults & 3 kids it certainly isn't.

    Rubbish. It's all down to where you go & what you do.

    3 Adults, 2 kids (7&5) took some canoes, paddled a river and camped over night en route. A fantastic experience, the cost? Food & fuel.

    Camping equipment lasts ages, canoes were borrowed from a club.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1023.

    What about when the holiday is educational? Maybe a different kind of selfishness on the part of parents to drag their children round the ruins of ancient Greece, the natural wonders of the NW USA or for a quiet day at the Science museum because it's horrendous during school holidays and weekends, but almost certainly more educational than the missed lessons.

    Schools more worried about OFSTED?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1022.

    If you cannot afford a holiday during school holidays then perhaps you should have thought longer before having children.people want everything

  • rate this

    Comment number 1021.

    People really need to take a holiday whenever they feel like it and not to be tied to some kind of external responsibility commitment such as their work or education.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1020.

    Like how people saying educational holidays only occur in term time not during summer holidays but then there are term time holidays where the majority people go on to a resort where they are separated from locals and have British food and majority of staff speak English, nothing that cant be done in summer holidays, to be an educational holiday would be cheaper going local places than resorts

  • rate this

    Comment number 1019.

    As much as I am enjoying the teacher bashing - teachers don't get paid for the holidays. Wages are pro-rata. Striking is an execution of human rights. Training days are for exactly that - so that your children are being taught well.

    Also, schools blaming parents and parents blaming schools is totally unhelpful. Surely the blame lies in the holiday companies that exploit the system?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1018.

    Sums up this country, really. The holidays are much more important than a child's education, nowadays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1017.

    Children are not robots 2 weeks away will not harm them in an educational manor! They will spend the rest of their lives working and need some time to relax and be children!! I refuse to pay what these holiday companies are asking for just to get to Spain! Its astronomical they either take down the prices when the childern are not at school or lose business! Its a simple solution!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1016.

    Another example of rules by the rich for the rich as Public schools' holidays often start before State school holidays so they can enjoy the cheaper tariffs. Increase the duration when holidays become more expensive, but reduce the prices over this longer period, so that it is fairer for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1015.

    Strange as parents we don't get a fee paid back when teachers decide to strike or the bolier breaks during winter and schools are closed. You can't have it both ways.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1014.

    People say that you shouldn't take your kids out of school just for a holiday, but what about if that holiday is a visit to their relatives abroad? My in-laws are in Thailand, we can't just hop in the car to visit. Perhaps the government should cap the holiday price rises during school holidays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1013.

    whoever thinks camping is cheap has obviously never tried it, with 2 adults and 3 kids it certainly isn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1012.

    I am curious as to who normalises the editor's biases. Too oftern I find myself reading the selection of 'editor's picks' representing one point of view - other than for the token reference to the opposing view.

    It would be more helpful if the BBC gave statistics on the commentaries received.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1011.

    i find the concept that Michael Gove knows whats best for my kids better than i do to be ludicrous.

    children already have to attend school, but there was the possibility that a headteacher could exercise judgement and allow temporary exceptions on an individual basis, where a net benefit was perceived to exist.

    what was wrong with that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1010.

    'Simple way to solve the problem: add two weeks onto the school year and then allow each child up to 2 weeks term-time holiday.'

    It doesn't solve the problem. It isn't the total number of days in school. It's the topics that are covered during the weeks off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1009.

    Well I am sorry to those who think that going to see another culture is not an educating experience however I have to tell you that it certainly is! Yes education is important however so is getting to spend quality time with your children and hard working families are entitled to a break. 10 days is not much!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1008.

    Children who attend state schools should receive 190 days of education.
    Quite a lot of children miss days at school because of inclement weather, parent consultation days and early closures at the end of each term. If the Government wants to insist on parents not taking children out of school for holidays, then it should ensure that schools remain open for 190 FULL days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1007.

    As someone who works in a school this whole argument really gets to me and shows how badly those in education are treated by government and ineffectual parents!
    What about us who work in school - we cannot choose when to go on holiday - we are set by the holidays when the prices are more expensive and we do not get paid enough to afford a decent holiday.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1006.

    Of course the education of our children is important. But the reality is that a couple of weeks missed on the odd occasion for a well earned and in many cases educational family holiday is no more damaging than children having to miss school because of striking teachers, teacher training days or cold weather. I'll bet that our universities are rammed with academics who took term time holidays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1005.

    How do teachers justify going on strike during term time.
    How hypocritical!!!!!!!


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