School-Term Holidays Controversy

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MPs to debate issue after 120,000 parents sign petition


A growing number of families are accepting school fines in favour of cheaper holidays.


MPs will debate in Parliament the orders to fine parents for taking their children on holiday during term time.


The debate set to take place in Westminster is fuelled by the success of an e-petition, which saw almost 120,000 signatures in just over a month.


The petition called for the Government to permit parents to take their children out of school during the school term for up to two weeks per academic year.


In Birmingham, where fines are set at £100 per parent, per child, the number of parents who received fines for taking their children out of the classroom to fly out to the sun amounted to 140, with numbers having more than doubled in the last 12 months.


A Midland dad is currently running a separate campaign, making a bid for the Government to change rules on absenteeism in term time.


Nuneaton man and chairman of Parents Want A Say, Craig Langman, said: “In the last week we have seen a recent surge in momentum on the issue of term-time holiday rules following the successful case of John Platt, who overturned a court fine after arguing that his daughter’s unauthorised absence did not mean she failed to attend school regularly. Many think this case will open the floodgates and set a precedent for cases to come.


“Government inference without due consideration to the families it will affect is unacceptable.


“The responsibility of making decisions about our children should be put back into the hands of the parents.


“All children who have a good attendance record should be allowed to enjoy and benefit from experiencing time abroad with their parents on an annual holiday of up to 10 days per year.”


A Government spokesman said: “The Government acknowledges that family holidays can be enriching experiences and we are not preventing parents from taking their children on holiday.


“This is about all pupils of compulsory school age being in school when they are required to be, and confining absence from school to unavoidable causes. There is clear evidence that absence from school is linked to lower levels of attainment.”


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