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 1044.

    How I wish every day at school was educationally vital. Unfortunately the learnings missed at school over a two week break can be quickly caught up.

    The 10 day guideline worked. A once in a lifetime trip to Florida is probably worth 6 months of school in older primary child's development.

    There is a hidden agenda to stop parents with means helping their kids
    get ahead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1043.

    Individual schools designed for the needs of each pupil, perhaps with a butler and holiday planner thrown in seems to be the way forward.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1042.

    My child is in year 6 & so far she has been doing practise SATS every week since the beginning of September, so she is hardly learning anything new. I wouldn't hesitate to take her out of school every 2 or 3 years for a family holiday & it's not about the cost, as a business owner I can only take holidays during my quiet period which just happens to be in October.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1041.

    Surely the DoE not allowing holiday leave during term-time should be reconsidered as parents continually take their children out of school because it is significantly cheaper than taking a holiday out of term time. Can there not be a law enforced upon travel companies that takes into consideration this -yet another- flaw in the education system and set a limit for the cost of holidays out of term?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1040.

    There are already enough ignorant, badly educated parents. And now they're determined to produce ignorant children, by taking them away from their studies.

    You should need to apply for a licence to become a parent, seriously. Some people are just not up to it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1039.


    "This ban means that we can no longer afford to take an overseas holiday. "

    Simple: just get a job with a salary commensurate with your aspirations for your daughter's holiday experiences. A spokesperson for the DfE, for example sounds both easy and lucrative Alternatively a camping holiday in Wales would be equally rewarding as Italy for strange customs and culture...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1038.

    1030. Dave

    "there is nothing more important than education"

    I took my daughter out for a few days this year to go skiing. We spoke a lot of French,she got Level 4 skiing from the ESF (counts towards her GCSE in PE apparently) and she researched for a Geography project on Avalanche control. Oh and we drank with someone who told us all about Roles Royce commercial jet engines and their maintenance

  • rate this

    Comment number 1037.

    Schools operate to a set term time table and it should not be interfered with by parents wanting to go on cheaper holidays with their children,the parents would be hoping mad if the schools suddenly decided to close for 2 weeks during a school term so what gives parents the right to take their kids away from school when they choose.
    We need to be firm and consistent and stop all term time absences

  • rate this

    Comment number 1036.

    Instead of blaming the teachers, what about pointing the finger at the shareholders of holiday companies who are happy to increase prices during the school holidays to improve their dividend? Is that more important than a child's education? It's not just families that suffer, its everyone who chooses to take a holiday during that time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1035.

    Everyone who is arguing that holidays are more educational than being at school should be petitioning the government to improve the educational system (remove standardised approaches, league tables, increase flexibility etc) so that isn't the case. Nothing will change though as better education would result in people thinking for themselves, which isn't good for the ruling class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1034.

    Amazing how people want to blame teachers for government legislation! It's a bit like blaming car manufacturers for speeding laws or doctors for sickness. The legislation was brought in by the government, blame them!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1033.

    All parents saying that week away not hurt their children's education I ask you how can you be sure?how do you know they are not missing an essential part?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1032.

    Go to Eton,spend Christmas on your yacht island hopping in the Caribbean, spring holiday skiing in Kitzbuhel, summer working as an activist for your political party of choice and autumn break climbing Kilimanjaro. Then there's always tutors to coach you if you're a bit thick. Next stop Prime Minister......

  • rate this

    Comment number 1031.


    Still can't believe that some parents believe that their children are going to do better overall if they spend an extra 5 days at school over the course of a year as opposed to spending it in a foreign country. Delusional.


    I wonder how many of the children you speak about actually know where the foreign country they are in is? Perhaps, if they were at school they may know!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1030.

    I really hope that that these rules are enforced, parents must keep there children in school and not be allowed to flout the law because it suits them, there is nothing more important than education.
    And the bonus to me, (as my kids have now grown up) is I can go on holiday when there are no kids about, BLISS

  • rate this

    Comment number 1029.

    the question should be why do the holiday companies rip off families.

    A holiday that costs 1000 in the holidays would be 300-400.

    Total rip off but the rich Tories don't care as they will be sunning off in there villas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1028.

    So...when the teachers go on strike for a day is everyone up in arms about their precious little darlings missing a whole day of vitally important education? Same old double standards here I'm afraid. Just down to what suits the parents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1027.

    1013. DB

    Camping is so much cheaper been with 3 adults 2 children per night from £20 to £100+ depending when, where you go and pitch size

    1016. Chaplin

    I went to public school and only broke up 1 week before state schools and even then holidays are at summer rate and not much difference can only be a couple of days different and then can start earlier

  • rate this

    Comment number 1026.

    I agree that the odd holiday here and there is ok due to the holiday companies excessive charges during term times. However, regarding comments that holidays abroad should not be expected or indeed hotel accommodation-In my day we had outside toilets and hop picking was seen as a holiday, all very good undoubtedly, but to deny progress and a better standard of living ... I shall say no more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1025.

    "The child could walk out of school if they wanted, I would like to see if anyone actually captive could do that That took less time to defunct than your original statement."
    True, but their parents feel the wrath of the state, do they not?


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