You-Turn on Term Time Holiday Ban
Following months of criticism and several high profile cases covered in the media, the Head Teacher’s Union are planning to issue guidelines for their members, on circumstances where term time absences could be considered without fines for parents.
This change it attitude is in stark contrast to when rules were first introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove last year, when it was decided that all term time holidays and unauthorised absences would be banned. In fact, over 60,000 parents who disobeyed the rules were fined £60 (rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days), and some were even threatened with legal action.
The rules and fines led to some extremely unhappy families, especially those who pleaded exceptional circumstances and were still denied any understanding.
The new guidelines follow months of confusion for parents and teachers alike, with two thirds of Heads admitting that the current rules are ‘problematic’.
The new guidelines would give more assistance to teachers, by outlining acceptable and exceptional circumstances where term time leave could be approved, for example; funerals, weddings, religious events and parents returning from active duty in the forces.
However, Russell Hobby, the General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers has confirmed that cheaper holidays will not make the short list, and absences for this reason will still be met with a fine.
He confirmed that the Government should liaise with the travel and holiday industry directly, to help parents and teachers alike find more affordable half term holidays. Although he sympathised with parents who have strict holiday budgets, he commented that a bargain holiday was not more important than their child’s education.
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