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Councils call to scrap a ban on term-time holidays

Parents could be significantly better if fresh calls to scrap a nationwide ban on term-time holidays go-ahead

Council leaders have said that a ban on term-time holidays should be abolished and a more “common-sense approach” should be taken

This comes just over a year since local authorities started fining parents who take their children out of school for unauthorised absences.

Since September last year, mums and dads have been handed automatic penalty notices of £60 per child should the pupil be taken out of school during term-time.  This fee rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

Those who fail to pay can face prosecution, with a maximum fine of £2,500 or a jail sentence of up to three months, if convicted.

Prior to this, head teachers could grant up to 10 days’ leave a year for family holidays in “special circumstances”.

Now, head teachers can only grant absence outside of school holidays under “exceptional circumstances”.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warned that this approach needs to change and schools should apply “common sense”.

The body also said it has a damming financial impact on families as it is becoming too expensive for families to take their children away during the school holidays as costs almost double.

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “An outright ban is too simplistic, and doesn’t recognise that family life and circumstances aren’t always so black and white.

“We shouldn’t have a system where family holidaysare just for the rich or indeed children aren’t able to take time off in light of family bereavement.”

LGA research found that a family of four heading from London to Cyprus this half term could face fares that are £1,564 more expensive than if they flew two weeks later.

Once term starts again, fares drop from £510 per person to £119 per person.

image: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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