Parents see red as schools ramp up crackdown on children having term-time holidays

Petition signed by more than 126,000 people urges education ministers to think again

Education Editor

Six-year-old Jack Langman still fondly remembers the trip his family took him on to Rome a couple of years ago.

In fact, he is now using some of the information he gleaned from visiting historical sites to help him with a project on the Romans that he is doing at his primary school this term.

However, his father, Craig, saw red when he realised any similar exercise planned this term could land him with a fine.

"I signed a petition," he said, "and I just thought if I could get 20 people agreeing with me it might just make people think about it.  Instead, 20 turned to 200 to 2,0000 and then 100,000."

It had its fruits today when a petition signed by more than 126,000 people was delivered to the Department for Education urging ministers to think again about a crackdown on parents taking their children out of school during term time.  In future, it will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

"It could make all the difference between having a holiday and not having a holiday," he said.  "For five of us, the trip to Rome cost £535 for the caravan and camping site plus £120 each for air tickets from Ryanair.  If we'd gone in the middle of the summer holidays it would have cost between £3,000 and £4,000."

Mr Langman, who comes from north Warwickshire, is adamant his petition should not be seen as an attack on the importance of teachers.

"What I want to be able to get back is discussing my son's education with the school," he said.  "!If his attendance has been very good and I work with him to get back up to speed on things he might have missed, then I can't see anything wrong with it.

"If he was always absent, then I think the teachers have a right to deny him a term-time holiday."

Typical of the comments in support of the petition is one blog from Emma K which says: "My children have 100 per cent attendance on a regular basis and they can't even be rewarded with an annual holiday any more because it's unaffordable during school holidays."

Craig Langman, campaign organiser: '[Travelling in term-time] could make all the difference between having a holiday and not having one' Craig Langman, campaign organiser: '[Travelling in term-time] could make all the difference between having a holiday and not having one'
Under the Government's new rules, the decision to restrict term-time holidays to exceptional circumstances has seen previous references to school leaders granting up to 10 days leave a year for family holidays in special circumstances.  Mr Spearman wants that 10-day option restored.

However, a spokeswoman for the DfE said: "If children aren't in school they lose out on valuable learning time and have to waste more time catching up. That's why children shouldn't be taken out of schjool during term time unless absolutely necessary.

"Children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent.

"That is why we have encouraged schools to tackle poor attendance earlier and toughened the law on term time holidays.

She added that the Government was giving all schools the freedom to set their own term dates and wanted schools to consider making changes that will work for pupils and their families.

COMMENT by Richard Garner, Education Editor

I must confess to having sympathy with headteachers who refuse parents’ applications to take their children out of school during term-time for holidays.

It can create a nightmare for teachers as they strive to make sure they catch up on what they have missed when they return.

That having been said, you can see the educational value of the kind of trip Craig Langman organised for his son, Jack, when they visited Rome.

The villains of the piece, it seems to me, are the travel companies and tour operators who in danger of pricing themselves out of the market with the charges they make at peak times.

A few years ago, I reported on an agreement the Government reached with the travel companies to highlight any discounts that were on offer during the school holidays after months of ministerial pressure.

It would seem, from the words of parents today, that not enough discounts were offered.

The time may be ripe for a bit of ministerial pressure again.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas