As a father, this story caught my eye. Going on holiday during term time has always been a source of friction between parents and educational authorities, and some of it could be diffused with the application of some basic common sense.
1. Prices in the summer holidays (as an example) are considerably greater than during the summer term. This analysis by The Guardian in 2014 highlights the difference in prices – many holiday prices are between 20%-30% higher than during term time, with only a couple of places increasing their prices by a small margin (and one or two places had price increases of over 90%!).
Any family is going to struggle with such increases in price, hence why some parents will take their children out of school for a week or two so they can have a break.
Arguments Against Term Time Holidays
Educational authorities argue that missing school can have a detrimental effect on a child’s education. Obviously frequently missing lessons will hamper education, and if the child is an older one who is studying for exams (GCSEs for example) then it would be a bad idea to disrupt their preparations. What, if any, disruption takes place to a child’s chances of good qualifications if they have a week off whilst in Year 9?
One of the details from the BBC article is the vagueness of rules around what constitutes regular absence. In the specific case mentioned, the child’s attendance was above the 90% threshold, thus truancy arguments were not applicable. A local court even made the point about regular absence, something the school in question is now challenging.
EDIT: I started writing this post in the morning, prior to the case being heard at the High Court. The Court ruled in the father’s favour, siding with the magistrates who made the original judgement. The government may now look at changing the law, and I, like many other parents, am grateful for this!
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