School terms and family holidays

The government is minded to alter the law after a recent court judgement to make it more difficult for a child to miss school to go on a family holiday. I would welcome constituents’ opinions on this before I talk to Ministers about their response.

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16 Comments

  1. Simon crute
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    My children go to school in Wokingham.
    I think it sound be totally up to the parents if they take holiday during term time. As long as attendance is good. And the child is meeting expectations, the government should not interfere

  2. sarah griffiths
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Sorry not a constituent but … I feel if a large number of children in a class are away for different lengths of time at different times how can the teacher keep track – of what has been covered when, and with which pupil? Stress on teacher and reduced effective teaching all round.

  3. Phil Kitch
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    It is an abuse of power and infringes upon civil liberty.No parent wishes to hinder their own children’s education.Or be so flippant going on jollies.
    This isn’t North Korea, this is 21st century Britain. It should be quite reasonable (as long as does not conflict with exams) that a parent /guardian should be able to request removing their children for 1/2 weeks inside term time to enjoy a family holiday.

    Not every parent has such resources to enjoy a yearly holiday, nor afford to book one peak times(school holidays). For many , it may be the only holiday they can take.

    My children have only ever had 3 holidays in the UK, in their life.

    Issuing fines to parents that take their children when schools decline requests is outlandish.The education system has had 13 years of Labour’s illiberal interference.
    In office , conservatives have done little to repeal draconian measures implemented .

    When you talk to ministers it may be prudent to mention that labeling 6 yr old children as racists and having their names recorded ,that will follow them through education system into adult life…is also an abuse.

    My 6 yr old was recorded as a racist for saying chocolate face…now 8 he is the only friend to an Asian child in the whole school.The irony of it is underwhelming.

    I digressed, apologies…but there is quite a lot of Labour’s illiberalism that needs eradicating .

  4. Aaron Shone
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    There is a large difference between truancy, and taking time out of school to go on holiday. My children go to school in wokingham, and I have to say schools are the most family unfriendly institutions I have ever experianced. Start and finish times are unreasonable, minimal notice is given for importaint school events like parents evening and on top of this is the now overturned ridiculous law on holidays. My view is the decision should be left to the headteacher, who can then strike a pragmatic balence between the needs of the family and the needs of the childs education. I would hate for my children to miss family weddings, or experience wonderful holidays, because of some over zealous desire to ensure all children have 100% attendance.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Just a simple comment, but some parents are in jobs where taking holidays in School Holiday periods is difficult, and whilst this may be a minority, they should still be able to have a family holiday.

    Parents should use common sense and a balanced judgement on holidays.

  6. Peter
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Should simply implement an allowance. Up to 10 days family holiday absence from reception to Year 6. 5 days for Years 7 to 9. And no holiday absence allowed in 10 & 11 due to disruption to lessons impacting others. Simple. Fair. Fine those that exceed these limits.

    • Ann Tigerstedt
      Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      I wrote a similar response to this Peter. Very sensible

    • RJO
      Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Perfect. So it’ll never happen ?

  7. They Work for Us?
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    There were two factors in this case. The actual law that only expected satisfactory attendance, did not define what is but did not empower local authorities to fine parents on the local authorities judgement on what was and what not satisfactory attendance. In fact the local authority seemed to say “taking you children out of school in term time, that’ll be a fine then”. They wanted to act in their perceived spirit of the law and not on the actual law.
    All of this could be solved by a legislation. The spirit of which would be:

    Parents you will send your children to school and will be deemed to have entered into a contract with the school to support the school’s discipline, rules and regulations. No particular school HAS to accept to teach your children.
    Breach of the contract to support the school will result in you being required towithdraw your child and will require you to find another school place in a school that will have you and which you are willing to support.

  8. Ray Perkins
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    This is a needless conflict. Reduce school holidays by 2 weeks, allow children to have up to two weeks off in term time. There is a common sense solution.

  9. Ann Tigerstedt
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I am a constituent from Emmbrook and I feel strongly that children up to and including year 9 (approx 14 years) kids should be able to take up to 10 days planned absence per academic year out of school for agreed holidays etc. From year 10 children begin their GCSE curriculum, so from then on I think it is reasonable to require full attendance as they will miss content that they could be examined on in their GCSEs which could affect their future progress.

  10. Iain gill
    Posted May 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    1 firstly a level playing field with those sending children to fee paying schools where terms are shorter and parents can take their kids on holiday when they like no problem

    2 parents mostly know better than the public sector, last week of school year is mostly just playing games and the schools are open about that, what’s the big deal missing a few days of that

    3 give some buying power to parents in the relationship with schools it’s the only way to drive improvement

    4 stop blaming parents, it’s mostly rubbish schools that’s the problem

  11. Antisthenes
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    The French apart from the summer holidays have a staggered system not all the schools are on holiday at the same time so demand on holiday destinations is more even. Not a perfect solution but a start. Perhaps good attendance should allow more leeway in taking children out of school in term time. Also teachers should bear in mind that they are there for the pupils not for themselves and find more flexible ways of approaching this problem and the many others.

  12. Peejos
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The main claim behind such legislation is that by being absent for a holiday during term time will jeopardise the child’s life because of a gap in their education.

    Now if a child brings an infection into the school which affects several other pupils for a week or more, the same thing must happen.

    If there is a significant number of immigrant children in a class who cannot understand English adequately, then clearly the pace of teaching and learning will be slowed down.

    In logic should not the parents of such children be fined for exactly that same perceived problem: that the education of a number of children has been impaired and it is claimed will affect them for life?

  13. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I posted this question on Earley residents discussion board on facebook, 96 comments so far and still a hot topic, Summary I think is leave it to the Schools and the Parents.

  14. iain gill
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    i would also say my father took me out for 2 weeks hols in the final year of junior school many years ago, he did go and see the head about it who was more than happy, and as they say it did not do me any harm

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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