This month, new rules have come into place that means taking your kids out of school for a holiday will be very difficult. In term time, families can often find much cheaper holidays than they would in the summer, and it isn’t unusual for parents to take their children out of school for a week to go on a family holiday. Read on to find out how the stricter rules on term-time holidays will affect you and your family:
Amendments have been made to The Education (pupil registration) (England) Regulations 2006, so now that the majority of schools have gone back to start another year these new rules apply.
Before, the legislation said head teachers could “grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in special circumstances” – 10 school days leave were allowed to be granted per year. Head teachers were also allowed to grant leave of more than 10 days under “exceptional circumstances”.
The amendments have removed references to any family holidays and extended leave. It now says, “head teachers may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances”. There are also fines for failing to ensure children’s regular attendance at school.
Now parents have a lot more to worry about than the long taxi ride from Bodrum airport when booking a holiday to Turkey – they could face hefty fines.
This extreme rule change has encouraged the boss of a large UK travel company to protest. The managing director of online company Travelzoo, Richard Singer, has set up an e-petition to parliament that he encourages all parents who may want to take their children on a family holiday to sign.
Mr Singer calls the new rule changes, “the parent trap” of government legislation. He said, “families, through no fault of their own, can’t enjoy or afford to take a yearly summer holiday together because of the combined impact of restrictive legislation, increasing taxation on travel through air passenger duty and the annual price hikes during school holiday dates”.
Mr Singer has asked for the help of Travelzoo’s 3.2 million UK subscribers to help the petition get 100,000 signatures – the amount that will amount to a debate in the Commons. The petition has 27,600 signatures already, and is open until July next year. To sign the petition yourself, here’s the link; http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/53002.
Hopefully the petition will get more than the required amount of signatures and get noticed by the government. Family holidays are expensive enough as it is without having to pay extra fines for attendance, and without having to book the holiday in the summer holidays where there is a massive price increase. One holiday per year is unlikely to hinder a child’s learning, so long as they catch up when they get back. This new “parent trap” legislation is very unfair on mums and dads, and stops families from having a relaxing holiday away together where they can enjoy quality time in each other’s company. Sign the petition if you agree!