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Sun, sea and DfE

1 November 2013

This week a petition signed by 126,000 people was delivered to the Department for Education demanding a blanket ban on term-time holidays be relaxed.

As of last month, parents taking their children out of school in anything other than ‘exceptional circumstances’ could be faced with fines of up to £120 per child.

Discontent at the ruling is driven by soaring costs of breaks during school holidays. The ban, say some, could result in only privileged children being able to enjoy holidays whilst others miss out. Alternatively, some parents may decide that, despite a fine, a term-time holiday is still more financially viable nonetheless.

To alleviate the headache, the DfE is offering schools the power to set their own term dates. Yet how this reconciles with the Conservative’s ‘family first’ agenda, when it is plausible that families could have children in different schools with different terms making it impossible to find shared holiday time, remains to be seen. Ultimately, some flexibility within ‘exceptional circumstances’ may be a fair compromise for all.

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