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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Thursday 2nd February 2017

Do children have a right to term-time holidays?

I feel conflicted about Jon Platt, the parent at the centre of the court case about unauthorised school absences. On the one hand, there’s much to admire. When he was fined £120 by Isle of Wight Council for taking his daughter on a trip to Disneyland during term time, he decided to fight back. He got the decision overturned in magistrates’ court, the council appealed to the High Court, the lower court’s decision was upheld, and the council then appealed to the Supreme Court. Yet in spite of this gruelling legal process, Mr Platt hasn’t backed down.

When interviewed on television, he seems genuinely angry about being told when he can and can’t take his children on holiday. He doesn’t regard himself as a deadbeat dad — his daughter’s attendance rate at school is above 90 per cent — but believes the new rules, which were introduced by the government in 2013, are too severe. Seen in this light, he’s a conservative hero: a doughty yeoman standing up for his liberty by taking on the overmighty state. (To read more, click here.)

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Re: Do children have a right to term-time holidays?
Posted by Kelly Pickard-smith on 03-02-2017 21:41:

Most definately. When they have the 95% attendance because the parent(s) work and can't afford for them to be absent. But...getting time off from work isn't always compatible with school holidays. When, because you work, your children (from being babies) do longer hours in out of school care (10 hour days) than you spend in work. When these same children spend school holidays in holiday club. When the children are lucky to get 4 weeks off a year, let alone the 12 weeks of school holiday. When the childcare costs have crippled you financially and any semblence of time together as a family, in a relaxing atmosphere, free from the work toil and stress, is beyond your means any other time. When burntout hard working families need time together for their mental wellbeing. When the holiday is the week of end of term videos and colouring in. When your children are meeting or excelling academically. When you accept many parents are as equally well educated, or versed in educational practice, as teachers. When you believe education is much broader than the national curriculumn. When holidays in term time are fine if school are changing you £900 a child for a few days skiing! I could go on. It's not as simple as cost. I'm sure trusting headteachers to make sensible decisions was a much better and equitable option. But clearly the biggest issue is that modern working practices are becoming increasingly incompatibile with the structure of the school day/term. We move increasingly towards dual earlier households working a variety of working patterns. Yet the hard working parents, of well attend, academically achieves children are criminalised. Surley this is a misuse of what the original act was intended for?

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