Should attendance rate be considered when fining parents who take children out of school in term time?

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Should parents whose children attend school regularly be allowed to take their children out of school in term time without getting fined?

The dispute over term-time holidays has been an ongoing issue since September 2013, when, under new rules for English state schools, taking a child out of school was no longer a discretionary decision for the head teacher, but something parents could do only in exceptional circumstances. The change has been unpopular with many parents, who point to the sharp increase in costs for flights and packages booked during school holiday dates.

Today, the case of a father who was fined £120 for taking his daughter on holiday during term time will be heard by the High Court.

Jon Platt was cleared by Isle of Wight magistrates who ruled he had no case to answer as his child still attended school regularly.

But Isle of Wight Council, who issue the fine, have pursued the case in the High Court to seek clarification on whether taking a seven-day absence amounts to regular attendance.

The ruling could set a precedent for how cases are dealt with in the future and even bring about a change in the law.

Over 50,000 parents were fined in the last academic year for taking their children out of school during term time. Children in private school are not subject to these sort of criminal sanctions, which seems unfair.

So what are your views?  Do you agree with the principle of fining parents for taking children out of school in term time? Should parents whose children attend school regularly be allowed to take their children out of school in term time without getting fined? Is it right to criminalise parents for taking their children out of school in term time? Is it fair that parents whose children attend private schools don’t have to abide by these rules?

Should attendance rate be considered when fining parents who take children on holiday in term time?

379 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Mollflanders
13th Jun 2016
0
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I don't agree with taking the children out of school during term time but I think it is time the Government acted towards the holiday firms who are profiteering by increasing holiday prices during school holidays.
major red
18th Aug 2016
0
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The pupils health should also be a consideration and particularly so when there a chronic condition is present

Friends of ours were shown no understanding about their childrenbeing allowed to use the school library on an outdoor sports day when there was a cold wind. Physical activity for an asthmaticp child .under these conditions can quickly cause a life-threatening breathing problem. The schools position was non-negotiable - 'if the child is fit for school they are fit for P.E (and must be out on the field with the rest of their class) but this is clearly hot true in the case if asthma.
Judy W
18th Jun 2016
0
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Might I suggest that your friends consider another school for their child/children? This sounds like a school to be avoided at all costs!
Westminster
14th May 2016
0
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I suspect that many teachers only regret the fact that some children return from their term time holidays !
iestynlad
14th May 2016
0
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Another issue here is that parents don't always ask for leave to take the kids out of school. They pretend that the child is sick. Thus teaching their children to lie and to carry on in the same irresponsible way when they start to work. We have huge sickness at work issues in this country. "Throwing a sickie" at work is actually stealing (pay from the sick pay scheme) so some parents in this country are inculcating all the wrong values in children.
I agree with another speaker on todays Radio 4 who was a teacher and a parent and said that parents should get real as having children meant making sacrifices.A holiday is NOT a necessity so it is NOT a human right. Many people cannot afford to go away and some can't owing to ill health or disability. I spent ONE day at Disney Paris when I took a school trip there and can honestly say that there was NOTHING educational about it at all.
iestynlad
14th May 2016
0
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A lady on Radio 4 question time today suggested that the children taking holidays in term time should catch up using a private tutor rather than fine parents using the £60 to pay for a tutor. I think this is a good idea but she is under estimating the cost of a tutor. Why not have the school hire a tutor, the child stays after school and catches up and the parents have to pay. The longer the child takes to catch up the more they pay. I am against using teaching staff for the catch up sessions - they have enough to do when they (finally) get home in the evenings. It is a punishing and stressful job and the parents generally unappreciative.
Catton
14th May 2016
0
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As a primary teacher and parent I am against children not attending school all term time. The standard of education in Britain is much lower than ever before for a variety of reasons and it is vital children do not fall behind through time out especially when there are more holidays throughout the school year than ever before. If is for a family event e.g. a wedding, I have no problem with that. You would not believe how hard it is for a child to catch up if they take holidays during term time.
scandiman
14th May 2016
1
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I am not a parent. My step daughters work in schools, so I do have some first hand information. I do not understand why it is OK to fine parents taking children out of school, yet schools frequently have pupil development days. On these days, a child is signed in the register for fifteen minutes and then sent home. This used to be known as parents' evening, but now parents have to take time off work to attend because it is arranged during the day. There are often school trips, especially just before Christmas, which enable teachers to stock up on drink in Calais. I am not making this up. If the quality of education in Britain is so good, why are so many of our school leavers so badly educated? The education system, like NHS and the police, has been subjected to continual tinkering by governments for decades. No wonder it's in a mess.
iestynlad
13th May 2016
-1
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The thing that is essentially flawed here is that the fine of £60 is not high enough. If parents can save £60 by getting the holiday in term time then it makes economic sense to pay the fine. £60 per day of absence would be better. Then how do we deal with parents who cannot pay this after the event - earnings attachment order? How do we deal with parents who have enough money to pay whatever fine even so? Tell them to have their kids privately educated if they don't respect the rules. Perhaps child benefit should be withheld either to the extent that the fine is paid or forever for serial infringers.
I am concerned for the Head teacher in this case who has been considerably undermined and whose position is IMO now untenable. He(r) ought to take a case of constructive dismissal and I hope his union back him/her on this. Whatever the outcome of this, there is now no doubt that the judgement has paved the way for anarchy in schools.
iestynlad
13th May 2016
-1
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What's the difference between taking your kids out of school for holidays and truancy? Consider this: a single mother drug addict/alcoholic is feeling a bit under the weather one morning due to a binge and can't be bothered getting her kids ready for school or taking them. They stay at home and it's not just a one- off. Don't tell me that the authorities don't take action on situations like this. Why should a parent who considers Disneyland more important than their child's education be any better thought of than the druggie?
iestynlad
13th May 2016
-2
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Anyone out there who has been a teacher will agree that parents who take their kids out of school during term time are a true pain
It is a hard enough job anyway sticking to lesson plans, curriculum, SATS, other exam deadlines etc but then there is catching children up who have been ill, working in differentiated learning environment e.g. bright kids mixed in with those who frankly should be in a special school, those who don't speak English I could go on. Having to catch up kids who are on holiday because parents either don't value free education, can't afford foreign holidays in holiday time, or whose priorities are other than education and think themselves a special case is too much to ask. We have a school time table, holidays are long (for children if not for the teachers) there is some choice either stick to the times allowed or take your kids out of school and teach them at home yourselves.
Joan Fraser
13th May 2016
1
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I believe children should attend school; and that they deserve a good standard of teaching whilst there.
However, in today's world where both parents tend to work, where children being schooled in different authorities, with different school holiday dates (as we have here with some senior schools), or a parent may be in the forces and away for long spells; there needs to be some flexibility.
shortyshah
13th May 2016
0
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We are fortunate enough to get free schooling in the UK,so why not make the most of it.We have the rest of our lives to holiday.
Understand it's expensive in the school holidays-one could argue that this applies to a lot of things in life.
jeanmark
14th May 2016
0
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Unfortunately shortyshah, children do not remain that for long so actually children do not have the rest of their lives for holidays with their parents. However, I do understand the point you are making.
cecil
13th May 2016
1
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One year when my daughter was due to do sats before moving on to high school, they didn't let us parents know dates this would be happening. About half a dozen families had booked holidays before we were told. But when I asked a teacher if it would be detrimental to where she was placed at high school they said 'No, they don't take too much notice of the results'!!!! So, all I can say is if a child has normal good attendance, they should base most things on marks etc, through the year! And no penalties.
Jo Kingham
13th May 2016
4
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As long as children's attendance is over say 90% then what's the issue? Most definitely their whole attendance should be taken into account. Fining people is just another way of councils making money and in the majority of cases its cheaper to pay the fine anyway.
Pam1960
13th May 2016
6
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I think parents should be allowed to take their children out of school for a maximum of 2 weeks per year. This is to fit in with parents leave from work which in some cases may be set dates, the children may go to different schools and may have different holiday dates. This was the case for my family. We live on the borders of Notts and Derbys, one child went to primary school in Notts, the other to secondary school in Derbys which had different holidays. August was the only time they were off together. Unfortunately work colleagues also had children of school age needed leave at the same time so someone always had to miss out. I think the experience of travel together with quality time spent with the family outweighs school attendance for 2 weeks. However if a child has a lot of absence from school then maybe they shouldn't be allowed the time off
Wilf
13th May 2016
6
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Holidays are so expensive in peak times that I am not surprised that parents take their kids out of school. A friend of mine in London did so a few years ago and they got told he would be taken to court and they were only out a couple of days. Agreed kids need educating but travel is a wonderful way for kids to get educated anyway even if only in France and Spain etc it opens their eyes up to a whole new world. As usual the government bureaucrats have got zero common sense!
Alicia
13th May 2016
-1
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Why keep them off school, they have over a quarter of the year off school for half-term and end of term holidays already.
jeanmark
13th May 2016
2
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But, Alicia, their parents may not and they may be constrained by working setting annual leave time which may not match school leave.
Margaret Hart
13th May 2016
0
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I never took my son out of I believed so deeply that his education was of ultimate consideration but I only had 1. Perhaps for "children" whose parents have an appartment abroad or who even
Rent one should be allowed to take advantage of bargain flights or package holiday. I know the travel operators have to be certain of making enough profit at some point to keep the, going through the leaner times.
grannyhubbard
13th May 2016
7
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It's ok for teachers to shut school for teacher training, it's ok for teachers to close schools because they are on strike, but not ok to let children have 10 days off for a family holiday, seems one rule for teachers and one for parents
jeanmark
13th May 2016
3
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Don't disagree with your sentiment grannyhubbard but it isn't teachers setting these rules.
Marley444
13th May 2016
8
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For various reasons, we took our 3 children out of school for family holidays when it was up to the Head Teacher's discretion to allow up to 10 days per year. Our children are now very grown up, and the experience they gained from their travels has broadened their horizons immeasurably! I think that this whole fining system/ruling is ridiculous, especially as it doesn't apply to those kids in private schools! If your child attends school regularly, and catches up with the work missed, then missing up to 10 days each academic year like it used to be, should be reinstated.
jeanmark
13th May 2016
2
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Well said Marley444

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