Wirral MP backs parents in row over changes to school holidays rules

Wirral Globe: If mums and dads ignore the new rules they could face being prosecuted in court and having to pay hefty fines. If mums and dads ignore the new rules they could face being prosecuted in court and having to pay hefty fines.

WIRRAL South MP Alison McGovern has backed the calls of more than 200,000 parents who wish to have a say on changes to school holiday rules.

More than 20 MPs spoke during a debate in parliament yesterday and urged the Government to listen to those who have signed up to the ‘Parents Want A Say’ campaign, which is battling to overturn amendments to the term-time family holiday rules.

The rule change, which came into effect last September, means head teachers can only grant time off in “exceptional circumstances”.

Previously, parents could take their children out of school for 10 days per academic year.

If mums and dads ignore the new rules they could face being prosecuted in court and having to pay hefty fines.

Parents claim the changes will adversely affect the many families who cannot afford a holiday during the mid-term break.

They claim the change will also impact on businesses who cannot allow the majority of staff to take time off at the same time.

Speaking during the debate Ms McGovern said: “A case has been raised by a parent in my constituency who has an autistic child.

“They struggle to go on holiday abroad when it is busy and when there are lots of other kids, so they are in a specific position.

“I am not sure whether that would be deemed to be exceptional, but that example makes the case that there needs to be more flexibility in the education system.”

She added: “While we must think of the cost that is lost from the amount being paid for a child’s education, we must also think of the opportunity cost of that child’s time with their parents.”

Craig Langman, who launched ‘Parents Want A Say’, said: “Parents are not saying taking children out of school is an absolute right.

“They simply want to revert back to allowing headteachers to make common sense decisions based on circumstances.

“These new changes will affect many families who cannot afford the cost of a holiday during the normal mid-term break.

“It will also impact on business who cannot allow the majority of staff to be on holiday at the same time.

“The Government has failed to grasp that there is simply not enough accommodation at the height of school holidays and this in turn forces up prices.

“The old policy, which worked to everyone’s satisfaction, resulted in only 0.5% of absenteeism from school.”

Comments (4)

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9:54pm Tue 25 Feb 14

GRobbins says...

I do support what Alison McGovern is backing, however I can't understand why having a child with autism would force you to travel out of season. Surely these people could just travel to a quieter location and keep their child in school as much as possible. The people I do sympathise with, are the families with working parents who struggle to find the same time off for holidays.

It seems like the people getting hardest hit by all these changes are the working and lower middle classes, and when I say Working, I don't mean all those on benefits etc. I mean hard working, stretched people.
I do support what Alison McGovern is backing, however I can't understand why having a child with autism would force you to travel out of season. Surely these people could just travel to a quieter location and keep their child in school as much as possible. The people I do sympathise with, are the families with working parents who struggle to find the same time off for holidays. It seems like the people getting hardest hit by all these changes are the working and lower middle classes, and when I say Working, I don't mean all those on benefits etc. I mean hard working, stretched people. GRobbins
  • Score: 4

10:57pm Tue 25 Feb 14

JimmyMercury says...

Schools that cater for special needs children are in the main nothing more than child minders. To suggest they are missing out on education is nonsense. Most if not all cannot be educated in the normal sense so why impose these stupid rules on these families?
Schools that cater for special needs children are in the main nothing more than child minders. To suggest they are missing out on education is nonsense. Most if not all cannot be educated in the normal sense so why impose these stupid rules on these families? JimmyMercury
  • Score: -5

2:10pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Llamedos 1 says...

Jimmy, your evaluation of special needs schools is a disgrace. Yes, I accept that children with special needs have differing educational requirements but to suggest that special needs schools are "nothing more than child minding establishments" is an insult to the schools, the childrens parents and the children themselves. You should be ashamed of youself.
Jimmy, your evaluation of special needs schools is a disgrace. Yes, I accept that children with special needs have differing educational requirements but to suggest that special needs schools are "nothing more than child minding establishments" is an insult to the schools, the childrens parents and the children themselves. You should be ashamed of youself. Llamedos 1
  • Score: 7

4:55pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Ron Iveson says...

If anyone would like to see just how much good work is done in Special Education Bases and well as Primary Education generally, I would be more than happy to show you around Bidston Village Primary School; that does excellent work with all the pupils on it's role. That may go some way to educate the ignorant who are not up to date with the present education system. I can be contacted at the school or St Oswald's Church Bidston
If anyone would like to see just how much good work is done in Special Education Bases and well as Primary Education generally, I would be more than happy to show you around Bidston Village Primary School; that does excellent work with all the pupils on it's role. That may go some way to educate the ignorant who are not up to date with the present education system. I can be contacted at the school or St Oswald's Church Bidston Ron Iveson
  • Score: 4

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