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Term-time holidays - please sign my e-petition.

(47 Posts)
pinarollo Tue 16-Aug-11 15:59:08

This is a topic that comes up again and again. It's largely too late for me - I've stuck to the rules but it has made family holidays so difficult - and looking back, the ones we have had have been some of the most precious times.

I have thought that the key to getting it changed is moderate change made in conjunction with schools and parents. I have proposed a sensible alteration to term-time holidays rules.

If you would like to see term time holiday rules relaxed a little within sensible limits, please look at my e-petition but please also send the link to as many people you know who may be inclined to support this.



mrz Tue 16-Aug-11 19:01:17

There are already sensible limits of two weeks (if the child has good attendance)

jollymollie Tue 16-Aug-11 19:05:37

there are no sensible limits at my school. My children have 100% attendance but the head will only authorise 3 days per year.

mrz Tue 16-Aug-11 19:06:36

The head is imposing his own limits not following guidance

mrz Tue 16-Aug-11 19:15:10

Education Act of 1996
Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
DCSF Guidance on Keeping Pupil Registers
DCSF Guidance on Education-Related Parenting Contracts, Parenting Orders and Penalty Notices
Nationally, government policy is to encourage schools to minimise the amount of education lost through term time holidays.
Regulation 7 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 gives headteachers discretionary power to grant leave of absence for a term time holiday when:
an application is made in advance by the parent with whom the pupil normally resides; and
b) the headteacher considers that there are special circumstances

DCSF guidance clearly states that time off for family holidays is not a right and recommends headteachers use their discretion to grant leave sparingly. The guidance also advises that each application is considered on a case by case basis (‘blanket’ policies are unacceptable) within the context of the school’s published attendance policy.

Guidance for Making a Decision
Headteachers may agree up to 10 days term time leave for special circumstances. While individual judgements will have to be made about what constitutes ‘special circumstances,’ examples could include:

parents whose employment prevents them from taking holidays in school holiday times

families needing to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis

As a rule, requests made for reasons such as availability of inexpensive holidays, availability of desired accommodation, or poor weather experienced during school holiday periods should not be authorised.

Only in very exceptional circumstances should headteachers grant more than 10 days leave. This is called extended leave of absence and while there is no prescribed time limit, the school should consult with their EWO and should not grant more than one term’s leave.

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 16-Aug-11 19:27:44

Education is compulsory; holidays are a privilege.

Kbear Tue 16-Aug-11 19:27:49

So this talk of fining people etc is not legal?

My husband has a job where he is told when to take his holiday - this rule causes us problems all the time. His holiday fell within the school hols this year but won't next year or the year after.

witch000 Tue 16-Aug-11 20:57:58

Done smile

pinarollo Tue 16-Aug-11 22:03:47

I am very aware of the legal framework - as above. What has changed is Heads' interpretation of 'special circumstances'. Heads and other teachers actually seem very sympathetic and my impression is that there is perhaps something in the central guidance, various attendance targets or the OFSTED system that has lead to this change of interpretation over the last few years.

I agree with Kbear above - it seems to get forgotten that many people have to share holidays out at work and are not simply free to choose to take them in the school holidays just because they have children.

Thanks for the support - family holidays are precious precious time, just as education is...we just need to get a sensible balance.

The e-petition site isn't great, but please, if you support this petition, which emphasises sensible limits, controls and caveats, do sign up and get everyone you know who supports to do so so it gets off the ground.

mrz Wed 17-Aug-11 08:03:01

I disagree pinarollo, many heads are still happy to grant 10 days for children to have a family holiday. Yes schools have targets but if a child has otherwise good attendance no reasonable head will refuse.

whenIgetto3 Wed 17-Aug-11 09:26:17

I agree with mrz with 4DC and a DH with a job that requires us to move every 2 years I think (may have lost count here) we have been in 6 different schools, with 4 different LAs and all the headteachers have granted us leave during term time as my DH has often been away for the whole of the school summer holidays. Granted we do try to tag it onto the start of a school holiday, but we have also taken 2 separate breaks in 1 year before. Most heads will give time off if you have a genuine reason for needing it.

whenIgetto3 Wed 17-Aug-11 09:32:35

Also you petition doesn't actually refer to what changes you would like and what recent changes have been made, it is not that well written really as the 10 days are already available if your school is following guidelines set by the government. Rather than an issue with the current regulations you have an issue with the current school/ LA that you are with. You can always take unauthorised absence and no reasonable LA will fine you if you have good attendance and are not over the 10 days.

EssentialFattyAcid Wed 17-Aug-11 10:01:42


pinarollo Wed 17-Aug-11 17:30:24

'We request the DfE to alter current regulations and targets to allow a maximum of 10 days school leave per year with conditions'

This seems very clear to me, 'and targets' being the words that are perhaps being missed.

Some of the above replies must have been from people who were quite lucky as many people I have spoken to have recognised the clampdown on heads agreeing to term-time holidays. I know cases where children with an exemplary attendance record have been refused (sometimes with apologetic teachers saying they are simply following a policy). I also know of a friend who made the difficult decision to go without authorisation (within the 10-day limit, excellent attendence, no exams etc etc) and were threatened with truancy action.

A very quick Google search will show that, although the technical regulations did not change, the pressure on schools (perhaps via targets) to implement it in a tougher way did certainly change in many areas. This has affected many families I know and I'm certain it is not just our area.

I don't think it was the head or the school governors as most I have spoken to have been very sympathetic and have hinted at pressure from above (hence the petition directly to the source of that pressure!)

Shitter Wed 17-Aug-11 17:38:02

i am signing, without a second thought.

mrz Wed 17-Aug-11 17:40:02

'We request the DfE to alter current regulations and targets to allow a maximum of 10 days school leave per year with conditions'

but that is exactly what exists hmm

mrz Wed 17-Aug-11 17:41:42

"I don't think it was the head or the school governors"

but that is exactly who makes the decision...

Funk Wed 17-Aug-11 17:56:19

If a pupil wrote the above petition I'd definitely tell him he couldn't have time off until he corrected all the errors in it. smile

swingingcat Wed 17-Aug-11 17:57:31

My DH is Army and if he's away on a tour of duty his R&R days normally fall in term time, my 3DC are all senior school age so we tend to just go without a holiday, not ideal but then life isn't ideal!

yousankmybattleship Wed 17-Aug-11 18:05:30

If anyone has a petition to say that parents should support teachers by taking holidays at the proper times I'll gladly sign that.

mrz Wed 17-Aug-11 18:09:01

swingingcat service families are covered in special circumstances

Special circumstances and exceptional circumstances

Special circumstances
Schools may agree up to 10 days holiday leave.

For example:
for service personnel and other employees who are prevented from taking holidays outside term-time if the holiday will have minimal disruption to the pupil's education;

pinarollo Wed 17-Aug-11 18:38:55

mrz, I suspect you are connected to education in some way. Without a doubt there was central pressure at some point in the last few years over the interpretation of the rules in school holidays. This seemed to link term-time holidays to the truancy problem - linking authorised and unauthorised absence in some way. This resulted in changes to heads decisions on term-time holiday requests in some areas. My information suggests this was target related - hence my petition.
It's a simple request. Rubbish and belittle the request if you will but it's a very important issue for my family and I know many others.
I hope others will read the comments above and support the petition.

Ragwort Wed 17-Aug-11 18:43:12

Having just returned from a 'family holiday' I would have no hesitation in banning all holidays grin - please explain to me exactly what is meant by 'precious times'.

whenIgetto3 Wed 17-Aug-11 18:50:42

swingingcat yes we dread when they get to senior school and as a concerned parent I would not allow them out during term time meaning if DH is away on tour we get a family holiday without him.

Being a service family and having moved a lot since having children I know people all over the country and can honestly say I have never come across one that has been disallowed family holiday during term time. I have known some who have initially had it refused then quoted the regulations at the school and asked for written reasons why their holiday was not approved and this has resulted in a sudden change of heart by the school and holiday being granted.

I know holiday in term time is discouraged and if you really do need to take it then maybe you need to put your reasons why in your initial letter asking for it, quote the regulations and then it will most likely be granted. Most heads probably refuse thinking it will discourage it but if you argue you will probably win quite quickly.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 17-Aug-11 18:52:24

Pinarollo - I agree with mrsz -your petition is badly written, sorry.

The current law is a maximum of 10 days absence. Your issue is the way some LAs/Heads/Governing Bodies interprete the law eg Schools should not have a blanket policy; that is considered bad practice. They should look at individual family circumstances and the reality is that many don't. Exceptional circumstances to one head is nothing of the sort to another, even within the same LA the law is interpreted differently. This is what needs addressing.

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