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holidays in term time parents win a victory over the lea

(216 Posts)
zippitippitoes Tue 23-May-06 12:29:53

......... story here

"When they returned home to Park Farm, Peterborough, from the visit to Cape Town to see Mrs Donaldson's family last Christmas, the local education authority ordered them to pay a £50 fine for each child. The penalty doubled after the fine was not paid within 42 days.

When that was not paid, they were ordered to appear before Peterborough magistrates, charged with failure to ensure their children's regular attendance at school. However, the couple were given an unconditional discharge, with no fine and no costs."

UglySister Tue 23-May-06 12:34:38

Good. I think it´s outrageous to refuse leave to schoolchildren, certainly for 2 weeks, although 18 days is maybe a bit excessive. IMO children are not only educated in school and holidays are very important for family bonding. People who can´t afford the peak rate hoiday prices shouldn´t be penalized against.

SaintGeorge Tue 23-May-06 12:46:10

Sorry, I disagree. Although in this case the parents did get extra tuition for their kids and a trip to Cape Town is a bit more than your usual package holiday, I think it sets a bad precedent.

They requested leave and were refused on the grounds that it exceeded the legal allowance. They could have taken a shorter trip but instead they went ahead and took their kids anyway. They should at least have paid a fine for the days over and above the 10 days allowance.

The government needs to be tackling the rip off holiday companies, but in the meantime there are rules and reasons for them.

tissy Tue 23-May-06 12:48:54

well I think the fact that the parents were let off sends out all the wrong messages. What is the point of having a law if the magistrates won't uphold it? There seems to be no doubt that they did fail to ensure their children's attendance at school for that period, whatever the educational content of the trip.

If this family get away with it, then there will be a free-for-all, and my child's education will be disrupted by other children who have had holidays in term time coming back to class and holding everyone up while they re-cap.

And whilst I have some sympathy for a family who have tried to get the maximum educational value out of their holiday (if that is indeed the case) I CERTAINLY wouldn't agree with kids getting term time holidays just because they are cheaper!

tissy Tue 23-May-06 12:58:16

Actually, US, you've made me think about my brother, who is a teacher with 4 kids. They can't afford holidays out of the UK, so do you know what? They don't go! I haven't seen any lack of bonding in their family. You can have as much fun in the UK as anywhere else if you put your mind to it!

belleofball Tue 23-May-06 13:12:13

I totally agree that it sets a bad precedent,they can not now fine anyone surely?
It is the price of summer holidays that have got to be tackled.
why should poorer families have to go without a holiday?
We took the children out of school 2yrs ago the week before everyone got a letter about fines Etc. we were waiting for repercussions(we didn't get fined) but said it would still be cheaper for us than going in August!

joelalie Tue 23-May-06 13:14:39

I agree Tissy.

Education is either worth having or it isn't. 18 days is a hell of a long time to take off school. Of course education never stops, in or out of school, it just happens that formal education happens to be provided in a certain place at a certain time and children being educated should be there. If they don't hold with that why are they using the education system at all. The fine seems relatively small in the scheme of things.

SueW Tue 23-May-06 13:22:24

One point - an 18 day trip is not 18 days out of school though. It may be 12 or max 15 surely?

And is 10 days a legal limit or a govt guideline? Must be huge differences in terms of the law. After all, parents are actually only legally required to educate their children, not to send them to school so these parents who did educate their children - provided extra paid-for tuition - surely were not eligible for any fine under the law?

oliveoil Tue 23-May-06 13:23:32

ooooh goody, another holiday in termtime thread

<<settles in>>

SaintGeorge Tue 23-May-06 13:25:23

The kids will be on the school roll and therefore are school educated. They took them out of that education for a length of time over and above the agreed allowance. The magistrates in this case have made a mockery of the rules.

SueW Tue 23-May-06 13:26:12

But is 10 days a govt guideline or a limit set by the law?

SaintGeorge Tue 23-May-06 13:27:02

Government guideline - backed up legally by local authority rules I believe.

Hang on I will try to check.

BeetrootOldDeer Tue 23-May-06 13:28:21

good for them...bloody nanny state!

littlerach Tue 23-May-06 13:30:01

I wonder, does it make a difference that they were going to visit their family? Not just an annual family holiday, as it were?

poppadum Tue 23-May-06 13:34:10

Well, the link doesn't work for me, but I think the point everyone has missed is that they were visiting "family" (grandparents_perhaps) in Cape Town. Doesn't that make a difference?

poppadum Tue 23-May-06 13:34:57

crossposted with littlerach!

Caligula Tue 23-May-06 13:35:30

<Passes Oliveoil the popcorn>

But this family did provide education. They got extra tuition. Their case didn't come under the legal rules, it came under relationship with school rules.

There's obviously some reason the mag's felt they were justified in not paying fines - I suspect it's something technical like the LEA's failure to communicate.

coppertop Tue 23-May-06 13:35:34

Hmmm. According to the local newspaper the father claimed that he had offered to pay the fine but that no-one gave him any information about it. In the link in the OP it only says that he called to "discuss" the fine. The local newspaper quotes the parents as saying that they went to SA to visit the mother's family as the children had never met them before. It doesn't explain why they didn't go during the school holidays and there is no mention of it being because of cheaper prices etc.

littlerach Tue 23-May-06 13:40:07

But if it was Xmas, then surely it would have been during hol time?

Blu Tue 23-May-06 13:40:55

I think the 'family bonding' in this case refers to the fact that the mothers family are in S Africa.

That's a bit of a problem for us - DPs family are a very expensive scheduled flight away, in a country known for expensive hols - so flights in school holidays really are unaffordable for us (could cost us £6k). But I don't want to take DS out of school.

MamaMaiasaura Tue 23-May-06 13:41:12

I am taking my ds out of school in term time next school year. this is for several reasons. Firstly dont finish my nurse training till september & secondly cant afford the expensive holinday. Re could holiday in UK it is just as expensive!

Def hol companie need to be more strictly reg in terms of prices.

Ex-p is taking ds out of school for 2 days in JUne.

These are the first times ds been taken out of school.

As hi is only in infants and managing the work load i dont see a huge issue. He is on time ofr school everyday, does his work at home too. ONly thing i am concerned about is how quickly friendships can change when a child is absent.

Blu Tue 23-May-06 13:42:07

SueW - I think they took 18 days off school -and tacked on to a Christmas hol - so it was a long time away.

MamaMaiasaura Tue 23-May-06 13:42:14

<<munching maltesers and now fel ick>>

Twiglett Tue 23-May-06 13:43:41

that's not reasons awen .. that's excuses

<<sorry you feel 'ick .. try a big drink of water>>

SaintGeorge Tue 23-May-06 13:44:32

The case as it is reported sets a bad precedent IMO.

Got bored searching Google, way too many dead ends or me not using the right keywords.

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