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Association of British Travel Agents

ABTA backs government campaign on term-time holidays

Term-time holidays should be the exception not the rule, said Education Minister…

“Term-time holidays should be the exception not the rule,” said Education Minister  Ivan Lewis as he called on parents to book family holidays in school holiday periods rather than during term-time.

As summer holiday advertising campaigns get underway, Mr Lewis called on parents to ensure that family holidays did not interfere with their children`s education, and reminded them that holidays in term-time should only be taken with the permission of the Headteacher.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has written to its members explaining the law on school attendance, and asking members to remind parents of the need to consult schools before booking any holiday during term time.

Penalty notices for truancy of up to £100 which are being introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act early next year could be applied to parents who take children on term-time holidays without permission.

Mr Lewis said: “Taking a holiday during term time can mean that children miss important school time and coursework and it will be difficult for them to catch up later on. Taking a child out of school for a holiday without the Head`s permission is unacceptable will be treated as truancy.

“Since last year, 1,200 truants have been returned to full-time education, and 133 of 150 local education authorities have reported an improvement in attendance at secondary level. But parents must support their child and their school in making sure that every day counts.”

Ian Reynolds, Chief Executive of the Association of British Travel Agents said: “Our members always encourage families to book early by providing excellent early discounts and free child places for what are always busy school holiday periods. Booking now means getting holidays at a good price, getting maximum choice and also means that your children`s education doesn`t suffer.”

This notice applies to readers from England

1. Headteachers are able to grant up to 10 school days leave of absence for the purpose of family holidays during term time. Save in exceptional circumstances a parent shall not be granted more than ten school days leave of absence in any one school year. Each request can only be judged on a case by case basis taking into account individual circumstances, such as the child`s attainment, attendance and ability to catch up. While leave of absence might be granted for a term time holiday, for example where a parent has inflexible leave patterns in their career that do not coincide with school holidays, it is granted entirely at the Head`s discretion, and is not a right.

2. Under measures contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, penalty notices for parents in cases of truancy of up to £100 could be imposed by designated people such as Education Welfare Officers, Headteachers, and the police, as an alternative to prosecuting parents where they do not take responsibility to secure their child s regular attendance at school.

3. Although primarily directed at parents who have previously failed to engage with supportive measures from the school or Education Welfare Services, in exceptional circumstances a fine could also be issued for a first offence, for example where a parent has taken their child on holiday in term-time without the school`s permission or for parentally condoned absence identified in the course of a truancy sweep.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.