To wonder what the new laws regarding school absence will have on the tourist industry?

(101 Posts)
LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 16:05:50

I really don't want this to turn into a debate on the rights and wrongs of taking one's children out of school for holidays(yeah, i know IABU and niave) , I am interested in how it will affect holiday providers, principally here, but also abroad.

At the moment, holiday companies charge a premium for school holidays - i can't see that changing, in fact, i can actually see the prices rising. I do not think that there will be a change in the numbers of folk taking holidays in school holidays as places are already full so there is no incentive for holiday companies to make reductions.

At the moment, people, for various reasons take advantage of the cheaper holidays out of school times. So now, people will either find the extra money for their holidays or not go - maybe camping will see an increase?

How are the holiday companies going to market their non-peak holidays now, considering that a large proportion of families with school age children still take these at the moment? Will they aim at a different market sector? Try and market abroad?

The discounted holidays by the Sun and that "other" paper generally only offer term time breaks, will they no longer offer them?

Will this affect you? what will you do? pay the extra or simply not go?

We went away for one night and will maybe try for another night or two away in a hotel rather than a holiday this year. DP is self employed and this makes it difficult to plan but we would possibly have taken a week in a caravan park during school time before. DD will be in year four in september so we probably wouldnt have chosen to take her out of school anyway so not necessarily affected by the change in law.

FannyFifer Sat 03-Aug-13 16:07:56

What new laws?

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 16:12:23

I'm not sure a 'large proportion' do any more to be honest.

Most schools around here have had a no holiday policy for years

Those who lie and pretend their kids are ill, or a close family member has died abroad, will probably still continue to do so.

Those who would rather pay the fine than save longer to go in school hols, will probably still continue to do so.

I can't see it affecting them much at all.

EarlyIntheMorning Sat 03-Aug-13 16:14:07

Yes, what new laws please?

SelectAUserName Sat 03-Aug-13 16:14:57

What Worra said.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 16:16:35

Hasn't it been made that schools have to adhere to this more stringently? So no opportunity for discretion? maybe i was dreaming it confused

We had a letter from school at the end of this term stating that NO absence would be authorised wheras before it was down to the discretion of the governers. To be fair the answer was always no, but i think the school now have a duty to report any unauthorised absence rather than it just being marked as unauthorised on the register

Rufus43 Sat 03-Aug-13 16:16:52

We don't tend to take the children on holiday in term time. In the last three years they have only had one three day term time break

This is because the 14 year old has been in senior school for those years. If they were all in primary school I would not worry about taking them out for a week

In two years time we will be taking the two youngest out for one week in term time law or no law. But that's the only term time holiday we are planning for the next 6 years

I'm not sure it will affect the holiday companies for the next year or two until the fines start coming through

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 16:17:20

Worra, i take your point but surely with £100 a day fines it would be cheaper to go in the holidays anyway?

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 16:26:35

As far as I'm aware, it's still £60 per child...rising to £100 or something if not paid within 28 days.

What I'm unclear about is whether the £60 is per day or per 'block' of unauthorised absence.

I've googled it a lot but can't find any clarification on an official website.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 03-Aug-13 16:28:41

Dd's school insist on daily phone calls for sickness. Doable if you're holidaying in this country but not from abroad.

AlphaBetaOoda Sat 03-Aug-13 16:32:12

It's £60 per child per parent isn't it.

McBalls Sat 03-Aug-13 16:32:20

"We had a letter from school at the end of this term stating that NO absence would be authorised wheras before it was down to the discretion of the governers. To be fair the answer was always no,..."

I think that pretty much chimes with what worry says.

I really don't think September will herald any major change in either families and their choices or holiday companies.

McBalls Sat 03-Aug-13 16:32:35


WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 16:32:50

I think it's doable from abroad, especially if you're holidaying in Europe.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 16:34:44

viva - thats all well and good if you can get your child on board but my child would refuse to lie (which is a good thing i suppose smile ) and also would be physically incapable of keeping it to herself if she had been/was going on holiday

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 16:34:48

All that's happened is the wording on the rule has been amended...and the word 'holiday' taken out.

It's still up to the Head's (or sometime's governor's) discretion, if exceptional circumstances can be proved.

Sirzy Sat 03-Aug-13 16:35:18

I THINK its £60 per child per day fine. Whether they are used straight away is yet to be seen I wonder if that will be mainly for 'repeat offenders'

I don't think it will make much difference to holiday prices tbh, most people already holiday during the holidays so I don't think demand will change that much really.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 03-Aug-13 16:35:59

Mmm, maybe - I'd worry about the dial tone been totally different. School secretary might be hmm if she clicked.

Will stick to camping in the summer holidays.

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 16:37:48

I think this is going to be more of a problem for employers than holiday companies.

Employers are likely to be put under more pressure to ensure employees can take their holidays, during school holiday time.

Personally I think those who can't afford to go on hols during the school holidays, need to choose a cheaper holiday or spend longer saving for it.

But that doesn't solve the problem for people that aren't allowed to take their holidays when the schools do.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 16:47:51

Thats a good point worra about the employees.

When i was a child yearly holidays were unheard of, we weren't especially poor either and we did take two six weekly breaks to australia to stay with family, however i firmly believe that was the reason i failed my 11+. It seems that the "annual holiday" seems to be an expectation rather than an exception. We certainly don't manage every year but I would say that we are in a minority where we live.

ilovesooty Sat 03-Aug-13 17:03:03

I'm sure it won't be long before this thread kicks off like the last one.

I'm rather interested in how workplaces handle holiday requests. After all if your partner works in a school you can't go away outside the holidays. Surely you have as much right to be considered for school holiday annual leave as employees with children?

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 17:03:33

We don't manage every year either LEM

Well we could if we wanted to go camping or something, but if we want a more expensive holiday, we have to save for at least another year.

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 17:04:59

That's a good point too sooty

It would be unfair to ban non parents from taking holidays in August for example, just because they don't have kids.

fledtoscotland Sat 03-Aug-13 17:08:01

I haven't heard anything from our school but I cannot get AL during peak business times and our head authorises 10 school days for parents in similar positions if employers will confirm this in writing

Viviennemary Sat 03-Aug-13 17:08:21

Can people not say their child is ill. I'm sure some will. And also I wonder if private schools will be having the same rules.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 17:21:11

Viv - i doubt it would be so much of an issue for those with kids at private school, making the jump tht they may well be more well off generally.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 03-Aug-13 17:24:16

Can someone tell me exactly how they'll be thinking of implementing this?

I mean, if I had a child of 13 who I took on holiday in term time for a week or two, phoned the school the day before we left saying child was ill and would be off school till feeling better.

What exactly can they do? I'm thinking nothing?

DontmindifIdo Sat 03-Aug-13 17:39:01

Who - I think also part of the plan would be to ask you to provide sick notes from a doctor for more than 3 days off, if you don't, then the fines will start.

At £60 per child per day, a 2 week holiday for a family with 2 DCs would cost an additional £1,200, so perhaps the holiday companies will have to lower their prices further to make it worth it for people to go out of school holidays.

For private schools, this won't apply as by the very nature of using a private school, you aren't using the state sector place - you also can do what you like if you home ed.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 17:48:26

Don't mind - that would be problematic in itself though, don't you self certify up to a certain amount of days in an employment situation? don't doctors charge for this service? genuine question. I could envisage a situation where a child may have flu, or gastric flu and need more than three days off school but wouldn't need a doctors appointment - its hard enough getting seen as it is, just to prove your child is sick enough to be off school will be more of a burden.

Im not sure what the answer is actually. Most parents are pretty sensible and make sure their children attend school. My DD had 100% attendance this year as she was fortunate enough not to get sick. I know other children who have had quite a lot of time out of school due to sickness and their education hasn't been adversly affected. I always understood this law was because lots of families don't bother to send their kids to school (My mother for instance was really bad about this and i hardly ever went to school in my secondary year).

Maybe there should be an allowance, say 5 non-sick days of absence a year - with sensible restrictions, ie - not in exam years, not allowed if too much absence due to sickness etc, not allowed at certain times of year. A friend of mine is from SA and she told me they have "mental health" days, so an allowance of days that they can use off work. Not sure about schooling though.

CleverlyConcealed Sat 03-Aug-13 17:56:39

It's £60 per parent per child per offence (the offence is failure to secure regular attendance). Not £60 per day.

Bearfrills Sat 03-Aug-13 18:00:21

See, the way I've read it is that the reference in the current law to family holidays is being removed but the ability to grant leave for special circumstances would still exist. So people couldn't automatically assume that leave for a holiday would be definitely granted but, if the circumstances were considered exceptional or special, then it still might be given.

DH cannot take any leave whatsoever during school holidays as his employer has lots of staff on term time only shifts as part of family friendly rules, this means that those on full year shifts can't get leave in school holidays as there aren't the staff to cover. He can get maybe a day or two here and there if it was an emergency but not two weeks or even one week. I'm also restricted in my annual leave as I'm on a very small team (NHS) so we have to work around each others leave dates. Personally I'd be applying to our head teacher for a few days special leave. We took a term time holiday this year but only went away for a week and it was the very last week of term, which our head teacher said was absolutely fine.

We've booked the same dates for next year and its already been approved by the school.

I can't see these laws being very enforcible and there will e loopholes. Domestic tourism such as Butlins or Haven, Legoland, etc would suffer as they all offer term time breaks.

CleverlyConcealed Sat 03-Aug-13 18:01:16

And IME it won't make a blind bit of difference; most schools will unauthorise the absence but won't take the next step of issuing the penalty warning. Our LA doesn't even consider issuing a penalty warning unless the child's attendance is less than 85% because above that you'd have trouble justifying the offence of failure to secure regular attendance in court.

DontmindifIdo Sat 03-Aug-13 18:02:17

Most employers allow you 3 days with self cert. There's often a lot of times this is waved, unless they think it's suspect. I would definately say 2 weeks would be questionable - I honestly don't think I ever had 2 weeks off school continuously other htan when I was in hospital at 10. All other normal illnesses are done within a few days, a week max.

I can't imagine anyone believing a 13 year old had an illness that was bad enough to keep them off for 2 weeks but not bad enough for you to go to the doctors in that time...

It's unfair on DCs too, expecting them to lie to teachers/friends - keep in the shade on holiday to avoid a tan...

Hopefully it will lead to a drop in prices outside of school holidays (DS is 3, we'll get another year of cheap term time holidays so if they are even cheaper, great)

I can also see that some Med areas will shut up earlier/open later. You might get resorts effectively closing down between Easter and summer holidays, so if you do go out of season, you'll not have the same level of facilities. You'll also probably find resorts more tailored towards German/French etc tourists rather than British.

Bearfrills Sat 03-Aug-13 18:02:46

I can see it being enforced if attendance was already bad but if a child's only absence was a few days for a holiday at a non-crucial time of year then what would be the point? And what if parents could prove there was educational value to the trip, for example taking a child studying French to France for a week.

Wallison Sat 03-Aug-13 18:10:32

I'd like to see them try to fine DS's dad for me taking DS out of school during term-time, given that it's got fuck all to do with him. How on earth are they going to enforce that one?

Lora1982 Sat 03-Aug-13 18:15:56

This isnt an aibu really. Its just wanting a discussion on the impact it could have

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 18:21:49

Sorry Lora - but does it matter? hmm Its here because this is the place where people tend to say what they really think.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 03-Aug-13 18:24:19

Wallison, i think it is per parent present - so as a single parent i guess it would be the resident parent. I used to work as a cover supervisor in a school that had quite a lot of kids with problem absences and I would often come across the fine paperwork in their files when i was doing admin. So the fines certainly happen. To be fair i have only ever seen them for £50 however that was a while ago.

cooeeyonlyme Sat 03-Aug-13 18:28:34

Where i work we can only have one person off at a time and it's first come first served.
Every single school holiday for next year is booked already so it looks like my family won't be having a holiday. My OH works opposite shifts to me so we don't have to pay for childcare. So a holiday is much needed as a family.
Some people take the piss but it ruins it for others.

cooeeyonlyme Sat 03-Aug-13 18:29:52

Also what about dentist appointments etc.. because my dentist and doctors are now offering before 9am appointments.
My childs primary now insists you try and get one of them.

aldiwhore Sat 03-Aug-13 18:30:03

It won't affect us, it will just potentially cost us in fines as we will continue to take holidays when we can physically do so, and that will usually fall during term time, because that's the way my DH's work usually falls.

Right or wrong.

It will certainly affect my friend's holiday cottage business. She doesn't hike the prices up in the holidays, rather she drops them during term times to get them filled. It's quite depressing to see empty holiday homes, I think it will be very bad for local businesses in general.

We don't all fit into the academic calendar, it doesn't mean we have no respect for education.

Wallison Sat 03-Aug-13 18:30:39

Ok, ta LEMis that makes more sense then. The school do have his name but I don't think they even have his address - can't remember, tbh - so they probably wouldn't be able to chin him anyway even if they wanted to. I just thought it would be a bit unfair to slap a fine on the bugger because of my lax attitude to attendance (actually, I'm quite a stickler for it the rest of the time but I think that while my ds isn't at secondary then a week here and there is fair enough).

Wallison Sat 03-Aug-13 18:33:49

The dentist/dr appointment thing is interesting, cocolepew. I always try to get the earliest one so that we can do school/work without much disruption, but the school have asked us to go for mid-morning/mid-afternoon ones so that the kids can get signed in at am/pm registrations and then go off without it affecting attendance. Fuck that. No way am I taking a morning off work (which is what it would mean if the appt was at say 11) for a bloody dental check-up.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sat 03-Aug-13 18:40:57

This has caused anger on the Isle of Wight where I live, its an unemployment blackspot and the largest employer is the tourist trade, the jobs are normally in the season April to October and are minimum wage, after October its back on the dole with the hope that come April (or Easter what ever is sooner) you get taken on again or find another job.

The contract of employment for these states in the main that you cant take personal holidays during your term of employment.

This means that people who see families having a fun time together on Holiday are unable to take THEIR OWN children on a family break unless
they do so in term time, its no use telling a family who are on min wage
for a few months of the year and on the dole the rest of the time that they are going to have to pay a fine - they wont be able to afford it

Sirzy Sat 03-Aug-13 18:53:34

I think for run of the mill appointments (dental checks up, GP appointments etc) it is right for schools to ask for them to be done out of school hours because really there is no need for them to come out of school for it. However, for specialist appointments that simply isn't going to work - DS is starting pre school in Septmember mornings only so I asked for his appointment to be in the afternoon but his consultant only does one clinic a week on a Thursday morning so you have to take whatever appointment you are given then!

sheridand Sat 03-Aug-13 19:08:26

Sirzy: really? We live rurally, our only dentist that takes NHS patients and kids is only open one day every fortnight, during school hours. Likewise it's so difficult to get an appointment at my GP, that my sons asthma management appointment is always one afternoon in term time. My dd had such good attendence last year that her ONLY time off was her dental appointment one afternoon, and for that she lost her ruddy certificate! Arseholes.

However, i'd never take them out of school out of holidays, mainly because a) it's wrong and b) I can't afford holidays abroad anyway. It seems to me that the majority of those who do, are off away to foreign climes, whereas my holidays are camping by the coast in this country. The difference between on and off season is about 50 quid. So it's those who choose to go abroad, and have the money to do that, that are being affected.

If I were able to take my kids on a life changing holiday to the far east, i'd say it was ok to take them out of school. If I was taking them to ibitha then cos it was cheaper, no, not reasonable.

cooeeyonlyme Sat 03-Aug-13 19:09:31

Appointments at my dentists are like gold dust so you grab whatever you can.
My son has Duanne syndrome and needs to see a specialist all the time. The new headmistress now wants to know everything.
I am sick to death of having to explain my family to others, it's not right.
She even asked for a note of the doctor to prove that we weren't skiving.
It's a nanny state.

Sirzy Sat 03-Aug-13 19:12:57

Sheridand - that situation with the dentist is very unusual. Most people have dentists which are open 5 days a week which means for check ups they can be booked for out of school hours.

As most asthma nurses have one asthma clinic a week then of course appointments have to be taken during the clinic times.

Viviennemary Sat 03-Aug-13 19:21:29

I can't see it being enforced if a child's attendance is generally good. But it is a bit annoying that some kids seem to be off for no reason whatsoever other than they don't feel like going to school but yet these draconian measures are enforced on families only wanting to go on holiday.

And if everybody can only go in school holiday time the prices will go up even more. And that's hardly fair on families.

sheridand Sat 03-Aug-13 19:35:02

Nah, our dentist vists out GP surgery once a week for one afternoon only. This is fairly common in rural areas. Likewise, our asthma nurse comes in once a week at a set time. Rurally, she has to cover a huge district, and ours is in school hours. I think a lot of people don't realise what people in very rural areas have to live with. If we don't use our immediate facilities, we need to drive 29 miles.

sheridand Sat 03-Aug-13 19:36:35

Should say the dentist is open every week for one afternoon, but only every other week for non-surgical appointments ( ie: check ups as opposed to drilling!)

revealall Sat 03-Aug-13 19:44:09

I don't think it'll make much difference to the holiday business. It'll still be cheaper to pay £60 then go in summer holidays if that's the reason people are going in term time. I also understand it's up to each local authority to set up their own guidelines and you can't appeal a penalty fine.
The rules on diarrhoea and vomiting at our primary are that children have to off school for 48 hours however pointless (think children throwing up after a long car trip with sweets). So if you give them lots of fruit one night have the day of after the doctors you could have 3 days off quite legitimately.

European schools have many different holidays to the UK so I wouldn't think the odd early or late booker from here makes much difference.

I should imagine skiing might be affected as the season is typically at it's best half term week rather than Christmas or Easter. However as skiing is so expensive it's not likely to worry a ski family either.

FrancesDeLaTourCoughngIntoABin Sat 03-Aug-13 19:45:33

Sirzy but schools are 5 days a week too.
And getting a doctor appointmnt is like gold dust, you get what you're given or dont go. They did a saturdag clinic in another village for a while which I used for ds but then they stopped.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sat 03-Aug-13 19:49:17

worraliberty is right as usual

Mrsdavidcaruso Sat 03-Aug-13 19:49:18

sheridand if you read my last post you will see that for some families it's not a case of wanting to go on fancy holidays abroad, you say that you take your children camping, but what if like a lot of people here you couldn't even do that as YOU or your partner actually have to work during all the school holidays. For some families even having your children at home with you for a few days without work or school getting in the way is a luxury, this will affect a lot of people here, the only alternatives to seasonal work here is non - tourist trade and there are not that many of them, or the dole queue.

Chocovore Sat 03-Aug-13 20:07:55

I think it will affect our plans massively. Our boys are in the infants and up till now the Head has been happy to authorise up to 10 days absence per year. We have never taken that much - their attendance has always been 95% as I am lucky they are never ill.

We are skiiers and I just don't think we will be able to go from now on, which is a shame as the boys are so keen and really getting the hang of it. It is not the additional cost of a fine, more the fact that it will be unauthorised which I am unhappy with. The half term week is astronomical and I don't feel we can can take them out without the school's blessing, or worse still pretend they are ill.

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 20:11:26

So how does that mean you can no longer go Chocovore?

Surely it just means choosing a holiday within your budget

And not being able to go term time, will mean saving up for longer to add to your holiday budget.

So perhaps every other year?

HollyBerryBush Sat 03-Aug-13 20:12:23

It wont have an effect at all - how many people do you know that habitually do this? I can only think of one family in a school of 1,000 pupils that flaunt time off. They don't give a monkeys as they are saving in the region of 2K so what is a fine of £120 in proportion to that?

In need, people will just develop Irish grannies and the need to pop home for a funeral-cum-wake.

Chocovore Sat 03-Aug-13 20:23:24

Er no, Worra. We went this year off peak and the apartment was £725. For Feb half term next year it is over £3000! This is particularly relevant for skiiers as the season is so short, that one week in Feb is the only opportunity really and the whole of Europe has the same week off. Could never afford/justify that. The price hike is absolutely ridiculous.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 03-Aug-13 20:28:37

"Will this affect you? what will you do? pay the extra or simply not go?"

It affects me as DH can't take time off during school holidays. I have taken dcs away during school holidays a couple of times but we have only ever had one family holiday and we took the dcs out for 5 days. We can't afford the fine plus a holiday (don't tell us to save up longer, we don't have a holiday every year, or even every other year as it is, saving up longer means they will have grown up and left home) so our children won't have a family holiday again. We are talking haven/camping etc not going to florida where the fine is tiny compared to the term time savings.

cooeeyonlyme Sat 03-Aug-13 20:32:19

Where is this fine money going anyway? To benefit the school or to the government?
I don't like the idea of the government controlling family life. It's wrong.
Will David Camerons children be able to go on holiday? It will be interesting to see. Also this should happen in private schools too. One rule for all.

Chocovore Sat 03-Aug-13 20:33:34

My friends won't be able to do this either - a lot of them are school governors and won't be happy with taking unauthorised leave.

Being able to take a couple of days is helpful when you live out in the sticks as the regional airports don't have so many flights, mostly weekly, mostly mid week.

And who wants to go abroad with young children in July/Aug? It's too bloody hot everywhere. Bah.

NotAsTired Sat 03-Aug-13 20:34:48

I worked in a inner city, ethnically diverse school, in reception last academic year. Children are taken out of school to visit home countries for months at a time - we are talking around 3 months or so during the school year. 3 children in reception alone plus their older siblins.

In the last few weeks of the summer term, there were 8 children from the other reception class who were absent and 5 from my class. It's not surprising when the cost of flights shoots up at the end of term. I think absence in these kind of schools is very problematic for the head, governors, and the local authority. I don't know how it affects their stats and funding - it would be interesting to find out.

I just want to pick up a point someone made, way up thread, about private schools. Something along the lines of it would not affect the private school families because they earn more money anyway. That's not always true. Some people scrimp and save to end their children to private schools and the very act that they pay for the education means that term time absences are much more unlikely, don't you think? The one advantage that the private schools have is that their term times are much shorter, and families are likely to save money on holidays that way.

NotAsTired Sat 03-Aug-13 20:39:28

Very fact

VivClicquot Sat 03-Aug-13 20:51:18

I've seen many people on threads on here call for the government to clamp down on holiday companies and stop them from inflating their prices so dramatically during the school holidays. However, even if this were to happen (which it won't), the only thing that would happen would be the cost of trips in term time would rise to bring them into line with those during the school holidays.

It's exactly what happened with the car insurance. There was a legal challenge which ruled it unfair to discriminate against men by giving women cheaper insurance - but rather than lowering premiums for men to bring them into line, the cost simply increased for women.

rosy71 Sat 03-Aug-13 21:01:36

Are there really huge numbers of parents taking children out of school for holidays all the time? IME as a teacher and parent of school-aged children, most people holiday in school holidays. It has always been the case that children shouldn't be on holiday in term-time. Heads could grant up to 10 days in exceptional circumstances. That is still the case.

There are also lots of people with no children, grown-up children and pre-school children who take holidays too. Holidays are not exclusive to parents with children at school!

sittinginthesun Sat 03-Aug-13 21:15:17

My understanding is that the law hasn't actually changed - the Head can still authorise absence in exceptional circumstances, which will of course depend on the child and family situation.

Certainly at our school, the Head has no intention of changing attitude - holiday absence will be approved, provided attendance is generally good, and there is a valid reason for the holiday.

Our local authority have not issued any other guidance so far as we know.

revealall Sat 03-Aug-13 23:00:28

From the Dept of Education 2103 -
Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.

It goes on to state;

The local authority must publish a local code of conduct which sets out how the penalty notice scheme will work for all schools in the area.

However my local authority still has the old code of conduct on the website dated 2011. This has the bit about 10 days holiday allowed ad the old penalty fine (£50)They also have a page of disclaimer including;

("this publication") is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. You should not assume that this publication is error-free or that it will be suitable for the particular purpose which you have in mind when using it ** assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this publication or other documents which are referenced by or linked to this publication".

Er cheers then.

Runwayqueen Sat 03-Aug-13 23:28:24

Myself and bf work in the tourist industry. He is restricted to no leave in the holidays so a term time holiday is our only hope of time away. His company are willing to provide evidence of this to the lea if needed.

Thankfully dd is a June baby only just about to start preschool so as her compulsory education doesn't begin till she starts yr1 we don't have a problem for the next 2yrs. After that though if the lea won't accept letters from our employers then I guess we'll be paying the fine. Dd's grandparents live abroad and I wish to main her relationship with them

niceguy2 Sun 04-Aug-13 07:35:43

You can't force holiday companies to fix their prices. It's the law of supply and demand. Prices are higher in the summer hols because more people want to go. So it's more expensive.

Price control has no place in our economy.

As for holidays during term time. Personally I think the laws are too draconian now. Most parents are responsible and understand the importance of a good education.

We should let parents parent. Schools seem to treat parents as crazy arsed people ergo don't give a shit.

I'm sure there are parents like that and they should focus on those, not have a rule which punishes decent parents whilst the crap ones simply ignore it anyway

Hissy Sun 04-Aug-13 07:47:52

I think allowing such disorganised and frankly arrogant institutions as schools to set ANYTHING themselves that has an effect on ANYTHING outside their gates is a very dangerous idea.

Local authorities ought to set their dates for all schools in their area.

Sirzy Sun 04-Aug-13 07:49:40

Are schools being draconian in enforcing the rule that when children are enrolled in school they have to attend? Some exceptions obviously need to be in place for illness and family emergencies but children have plenty of holidays from school in which to take family holidays

niceguy2 Sun 04-Aug-13 09:35:34

Let me be clear. I don't think it's schools per se who are being draconian but they're being pushed into it by successive governments. For example, ofsted now takes into account attendance in rankings so a school can be outstanding in every way but fail to get 'outstanding' if their attendance stats are down.

But it's hard to believe that every day off education is so critical when schools send my kids home half day early cos it's the end of term. or they get a whole day off just cos it's parents meeting day. Or they spend a week on 'rewards' and go laser questing or bowling. Even a trip to the shipping centre!

Can you imagine if I wrote into school and said 'dear sir. my child had behaved well at home, got good grades at school so I'd like to take them shipping for a day as a 'reward''

And don't get me started on inset days cos I know teachers week claim it's their good given right and that somehow doesn't damage my child's education but me taking a day off somehow manually would.

sweetestcup Sun 04-Aug-13 09:55:23

Im taking my boys out for the first time ever, they are both at primary and this is a bit of a holiday of a lifetime for us all, I don't feel as if its a big deal and I don't think the situation here in Scotland is like what you all are describing in England eg don't think we have fines. We normally drive on our holidays so this year we are going 31 August (our schools go back middle August) and flying, it would have been thousands more going in July, not just because the price of the basic holiday is more expensive but because of the ridiculously high flight supplements to fly from a Scottish airport like Glasgow, they argue its because they need more fuel because its further away, so I always wonder how that works when its not, like America for example!

funkybuddah Sun 04-Aug-13 09:59:07

I agree regarding no price control.

I hate the cries of 'the government must do something' no they mustn't, it's not their concern. They are too involved in too much while the things they should be controlling (health and well being, which covers w vast amount anyway of the country) they do appallingly at.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 04-Aug-13 10:09:38

Schools are under pressure from Ofsted to improve attendance, without good attendance they cannot be rated outstanding. The new rules arent that much of a change but are just ensuring heads only authorise in exceptional circumstances rather than grant 10 days a year.

Parents use league tables, ofsted etc when choosing a school so why would they then go against it and break the rules? Children get 13 weeks holiday and 52 weekends, plenty of time for breaks and family time without missing school. A holiday is a luxury, not a necessity. If people cant afford the costs of their preferred holiday every year they can gi every other year or downscale. If they dont want to do that they can go unauthorised and risk the fine. I think it has to be £60 a day not week though as its not a deterrant otherwise.

Sleepyhead33 Sun 04-Aug-13 10:14:34

Arrggghhhhh Inset days are days the teachers attend training when the children would be on holiday anyway. It is not extra days holiday for the children it is less 'holiday' for teachers!

Also, things like half days aren't a problem in the way a week holiday is becasue all the class are off. In reception/Y1 for example, if a child is off for 2 weeks-that could be an entire phase of learning sounds as well as entire maths units as well as all the social issues around fitting back in with their friendship groups. When the child returns to school they will not be able to move on to the next phase until they have completed the last-building blocks. So a TA will have to take that child out and get them up to speed. During this time the class will be covering new learning so the TA will also have to cover that with the absent child. This is all time that the TA should be supporting the whole class/focus groups but no, they have to give your child loads of support because they've been on holiday. I think it is really selfish to the other 29 children in a class when the parents of one child does this.

The holiday absences probably have slightly less impact the older they are but parents seem to think FSM/KS1 isn't as important when actually a week missed there is an awful lot to catch up on at a young age.

Anyway, sorry for going off topic. I don't imagine the fines will make much of a difference to holiday prices. The types of families who value cheap holidays over education always will, this won't make any difference to them and I doubt they will see the bigger picture.

Sleepyhead33 Sun 04-Aug-13 10:17:22

Oh and OFSTed/schools are under pressure to improve attendance because every piece of educational research places a huge correlation between underachievement (for more able children as well as less) and poorer attendance. They aren't just banging on about it for no reason!

LEMisdisappointed Sun 04-Aug-13 10:21:50

"the type of families who value cheap holiday over education always will, this wont make any difference to them and i doubt they will see the bigger picture"

Its not about CHEAP holidays though is it, it is for some AFFORDABLE and DOABLE (in terms of those who can't get holiday times off) holidays which i think everyone would agree, whilst they are indeed a luxury and not a necessity, they have an absolute benefit to the whole family. It is not about them being more important than education, its about a sensible balance, and that is that, in the scheme of things, depending on the time of year/stage of education, a week off isn't going to make one iota of difference!

JenaiMorris Sun 04-Aug-13 10:24:12

There aren't enough people who do this to have any impact on prices, surely confused

notyummy Sun 04-Aug-13 10:24:41

I can see both sides of the picture here. I have many friends who are teachers in both primary and secondary and can see the frustration in trying to manage children's learning if they disappear for a period of time and miss some crucial information. That said, DH is in the military and is currently in Afghanistan for 6-9 months. When he gets back he will have a period of leave and then will be posted to a new job. That leave is unlikely to be when school holidays are. We will be taking a holiday on his return because I think we need to spend some time together as a family. I will risk a fine and I am in general a law abiding citizen who is highly supportive of my daughters education- and of her teachers.

jamdonut Sun 04-Aug-13 10:51:20

but notyummy, I think your situation is exactly the type that will be given the go ahead, because he is in the forces.That is one of the special cases.

In our area, a seaside resort, many parents can't have time off work in the Summer, because they are needed ! (It is a vicious circle) It was considered that this was a special case ,and therefore, holidays in term time should be granted,to those who work in the town as part of the holiday industry. I am assuming that will not have changed.

jamdonut Sun 04-Aug-13 10:56:14

As an aside, I am currently on school holidays. My husband can only get the week before I have to go back to work off, because all the staff with children are on their holidays. It is the same all the time. We rarely get holidays off at the same time. We have hit the jackpot this year,however. He has managed to get October half-term off...amazing!!

flipchart Sun 04-Aug-13 11:18:53

How will it affect children who go home to Pakistan.

I work in children's services in a Northern city where we have a large population of Asian families. A large number of these go to see their families once every two years for between two and six weeks.
We have one child whose family live in Argentina and they go to visit for the whole of the summer and they take the last three weeks of the umber term off.

How will these type of families be affected.

For what it's worth I believe in the importance of going out to see the family and friends and get to know their roots.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sun 04-Aug-13 11:19:30

jamdonut this is the situation on the island where I live, I would imagine that in our schools 50% of the children will have parents who work in the tourist industry. For a lot of these children its not the case of their parents wanting to have a cheaper holiday but just to have days out together as a family

clam Sun 04-Aug-13 11:27:05

niceguy get your facts right about INSeT days, ffs. Teachers do not claim "they're their God-given right." As someone else has pointed out, they take place on days that the children would already have as holiday. And were taken from teachers' (unpaid) holiday in the first place.

And chocovore, don't give up on the whole idea of skiing in Feb half term. We've done this every year for the last 8 years or so, and manage to do the whole thing (flights/self-catering accom/lift passes/skihire) for around the 3K mark. It's do-able if you shop around and get in early for flights. And we pay adult prices for the kids now too.

revealall Sun 04-Aug-13 11:59:22

jamdonut there's the hypocrisy. The government does consider family holidays important because it will let forces parents take them. It doesn't say to them "holidays are not a necessity" does it.

It's not much of "deterrent" IMO because the fine comes after the holiday. Perhaps if you ask for time off and the answer is unauthorised you could be presented with a bill and some might decide it's not worth it.

I have no idea how much of fine I'm going to get for my four days off in September so it stands I'll do it and see what happens. I have no choice about dates.

clam Sun 04-Aug-13 12:04:30

What hacks me off (apart from the nature of fines in the first place - I hate this nanny-state micro-managing of adults' lives) is the postcode lottery of these fines. Some people report quite large sums per child per day per adult, yet in my school the HT is still authorising holidays for this coming term, as I've read the letters saying "have a nice time."

One rule for all - if you're going to have the bloody stupid rule in the first place. Using "hard-working decent families" as cash cows is not going to solve the real truancy issue we have in this country.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 04-Aug-13 12:39:49

"And don't get me started on inset days cos I know teachers week claim it's their good given right and that somehow doesn't damage my child's education but me taking a day off somehow manually would."

So very tired of explaining this.

Sirzy Sun 04-Aug-13 12:51:42

Clam - my understanding of the change in rules is was it was to stop that meaning that no holidays would be authorised by any headteacher taking away any power the schools have to make such decisions as some would authorise everything others nothing.

clam Sun 04-Aug-13 12:58:43

Mine too, which is why I was a bit hmm when I saw the letters.

DontmindifIdo Sun 04-Aug-13 14:55:26

Inset days - when I was a child at school (in the 80s) we had an extra week's holiday in the summer. The Blair governemnt put in an extra week of training for teachers, that was supposed to be done over the school summer holidays therefore keeping the children's holidays the same length of time, but teachers lose a week of their holiday allowance for training. So far, so acceptable for most. Then logically, because there's only so many trainers to go into schools to run the courses, they couldn't all be on the last week of the school holidays as planned, so the 5 extra days are split over the year and children have one week less summer holidays now than their parents did.

Parents now have to cover the same number of days as parents did a generation back, it's just not all in a block and if you are a teacher you have less paid holiday than you used to.

DontmindifIdo Sun 04-Aug-13 14:58:14

oh and for inset days, all the children are off at the same time, so no children are missing any teaching by the school being closed for a day. The lessons that would have been run on that day will be done on another day. If you take your DCs out for 2 weeks they have missed 2 weeks worth of lessons.

clam Sun 04-Aug-13 15:02:03

DontmindifIdo is mostly correct, although actually INSET days were originally 'invented' by Kenneth Baker in the Tory gov't of the mid-80s. There was never any understanding that they would all be in the summer holidays. I began teaching in 1986, just before they came in, and they've always been spread across the year, according to the needs of individual schools.

OddBoots Sun 04-Aug-13 15:03:56

Isn't this happening alongside schools being increasingly allowed to set their own holidays dates?

If the schools move their dates around then more of the year will be school holidays for some schools so will extend the times at which the tourist industries will be at peak.

clam Sun 04-Aug-13 15:14:52

Yes, and the prices will just go up then as well.

Karoleann Sun 04-Aug-13 15:16:49

I think local authorities should just stagger their half term weeks. There's no reason why schools in Northumberland need to have the same weeks off in Feb and may as schools in Oxfordshire.

It would make holidays easier to get as there will be less demand for the same weeks and it would also give a boost to the travel industry.

They do a similar thing in France and it works well.

OddBoots Sun 04-Aug-13 15:20:00

I don't work in tourism but as I understand it clam the pricing is based on balancing out the loss made out of the school holidays - the pricing in term time is artificially low just to fill the spaces, if the holiday prices were lower then there would be no profit at all.

CleverlyConcealed Sun 04-Aug-13 16:30:09

Just to say - the level of fine is written in law and can't be varied school to school. Parents who report large fines have either not paid the penalty warning, are on their 2nd or subsequent offence or are misinterpreting the letter they've received.

School are not having their powers reduced. The discretion to authorise still lies with the head/governors.

mummymeister Sun 04-Aug-13 16:30:11

I think this new rule will have a number of unexpected consequences. firstly I think holidays in school holiday times will become much more expensive as it is this cost that offsets the out of season losses. second I think more schools will be under pressure to vary their holidays which is great unless you have kids in 2 different schools under different systems. Third - and this is controversial - there is a religious exemption. this I think will cause massive division in some schools. I don't think it covers the " we go back to Pakistan every 2 years for 6 weeks " that someone up thread mentioned but if it did there will be lot of very pissed off parents. Fourth, I will wait and see how it pans out where we are. we are self employed in an industry where we cannot take holidays in school holidays. it therefore means we are either granted an exemption or we never go away as a family again. to me this is a bonkers rule change. either no exceptions religious or otherwise or go back to what we had before with discretion used. have said it many times before but the last 2 weeks before the summer term all 3 of my kids 2 senior one junior did absolutely nothing but quizzes and watch videos. if schools insist my kids stay in school then I am going to start insisting that they actually be taught. as I said up thread this is going to cause a shed load of problems. the schools are dreading it this is why they didn't tell anyone until the end of the summer term when they have known about it for months.

Mrsrobertduvall Sun 04-Aug-13 16:41:35

Ds's headteacher has happily authorised 5 days at the beginning of January for the past two years to go to Australia.
He will be yr 10 in September so not realistic now. He was hoping to travel there alone this year so is a bit gutted.

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