Term Time Holiday Shambles

Term Time Holiday Shambles

A couple of days ago I read that the number of parents in Dorset fined for term-time holidays had tripled in the last year.

It reminded me of Jon Platt, an Isle of Wight businessman, who was taken to court over a refusal to pay a £120 penalty for taking his daughter on an unauthorised holiday to Disney World during school term.

He refused to pay, and the case progressed from the Magistrates Court to the High Court and ultimately the Supreme Court. He lost his case and was eventually found guilty of “failing to secure his daughters regular attendance” in June this year.

I have never understood why the law penalizes parents who take family holidays with their children during term-time. Especially as the law does not apply to the parents of the 625,000 children (in the UK) in the private sector.

Surely the decision should be taken by the parents with advice from the school and not by the nanny state.

Proponents of the law, mainly education authorities and schools, argue that missing school has a negative impact on academic progress and may disrupt the child’s education. Most parents disagree and according to one poll 56% of parents admit that they break term-time holiday rules.

It seems that the law works only for children whose parents are not ingenious enough to fake illness or funerals and only for those children who attend a state school.

Let’s hope that as more and more parents disregard the “regular attendance” law that it is removed from the statute books and we return to acknowledging that parents know best. There will of course be dumb parents who do the wrong thing, but the children of dumb parents have more to worry about than a nice holiday.

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