Parents would change vote over holiday ban policy

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An overwhelming majority of parents disagree with the ban on term-time holidays and many would even change who they vote for over the policy, a survey has suggested.

Almost 3,000 parents were polled in the study by the campaign group Parents Want a Say, with 97 per cent either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the ban.

Parents face fines if they take their children out of school during term after a new law was introduced by the coalition government in September 2013.

Previously, headteachers had the discretion to allow up to 10 days authorised absence. Now, parents face a £60 fine per child, per period of absence. This rises to £120 if not paid promptly, and could become a £2,500 fine or three-month jail sentence if parents refuse to pay.

Previously, fines were handed out to parents over issues of truancy or repeated poor attendance. 

However, a survey run by the BBC last year showed that in the first 12 months of the new law, there was a 70 per cent rise in the number of fines being issued by local authorities. 

The figures suggested that around 64,000 fines were issued from September 2013 to July 2014, compared with 38,000 the previous year.

In changing the law, ministers pointed to evidence showing the detrimental impact that missing days of school can have on a child’s education. However, only three per cent of the surveyed parents agreed.

Furthermore, 63 per cent said they would be prepared to change who they voted for in the General Election next week over this policy, although many did not know which political party would be most likely to reverse the policy.

Craig Langman, founder of Parents Want a Say, said: “Parents should have the right to a family life, but due to the ban on term-time holidays this right is being severely compromised. 

“We are not saying that parents should be able to take children out of school whenever they want – instead we want the rules to revert back to how they were before, where the headteacher could decide.

“A holiday is not the only reason parents take their children out of school – sometimes situations come up such as a family weddings, funerals or a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

“It is simply ridiculous that a parent should have to pay a fine for this, let alone face criminal charges.”

The campaign website can be found at http://parentswantasay.co.uk/


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