Letter: Dilemma of taking children on term-time holiday

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The Independent Online
Sir: If the days of 'arbitrarily allocated dollops of leave' are gone, as suggested by Susan Elkin in her Viewpoint ('Never mind the exams, we are off to Florida', 10 June), why do schools carry on with this outdated tradition?

The problem for parents is not 'factory fortnights', which in my experience have always been timed by employers to coincide with school holidays. The problem is for parents who have to negotiate the time of leave with their employers (the majority, according to Ms Elkin). This procedure has a set of rules, which varies from business to business but follows similar principles: avoid peak business periods, no more than x per cent off at the same time, etc. Trying to fit this in with fixed school holidays is, if not impossible, a great source of frustration.

If schools are to provide a service to their customers, and if parents are to be allowed a holiday from work with their children, schools would be advised to look first at the timing of the 12 weeks of annual leave rather than at a change in the law. One solution might be six fortnight-long breaks, two months apart.

Yours faithfully,



10 June