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Do you take holidays in term time?

Schools get tough on unauthorised absences

Posted: 17 December 2012
by Emma Daly

holidays in term time
Will your air miles have to wait?

The cost of holidays and flights soar the moment the school terms ends, so it is, of course, tempting for parents to take their child out of school for a few sneaky days. However, the latest advice is, do so at your peril, as headteachers are getting tough.

Family holidays in term time account for 9.5 per cent of all school absences, but earlier this year, Charlie Taylor, the Government’s educational adviser, issued a warning that “primary schools will allow far fewer term-time holidays.” Only term-time holidays that fall into the “exceptional circumstances” category will be considered and that will be down to the headteacher’s discretion, and playing the “it’s educational” card may not curry favour. “The educational value of an excursion does not necessarily diminish if it is taken during school holidays,” says a spokesman for the National Association Of Head Teachers. Regulations state that children may take up to ten days off during term time for a family holiday, and absences actually dropped from 6 to 5.8 per cent last year.

So why the need for a heavy-handed approach? “The roots of poor attendance are in primary schools,” says Taylor. “The youngest children don’t play truant; they are off because their parents allow them to be off. This focus on unauthorised absence deflects attention from the fact that all absence is bad for children’s education.”

Altering school-term schedules at a local level could help lower the national summer holiday demand that hikes prices up, but it seems that, for now, parents must continue to whisper, “Please Sir, can I go to Sorrento?”

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education, resources, holidays, term time, school, holiday, leave, absence

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