Best Practice

Arguing the case for term-time holidays

Taking students out of school for term-time breaks has become a controversial issue. However, Karen Sullivan argues that the practice is no bad thing, with evidence suggesting that it can help attainment

When Martin Platt, a father of three, challenged his conviction for taking his daughter out of school during term-time, subsequently winning his case in what was hailed as a “triumph of common sense”, parents breathed a collective sigh of relief.

For one thing, family holidays can be up to 400 per cent more expensive in peak periods; for another, parents cannot always choose when they take their holiday leave, particularly in smaller companies or in businesses where trade is seasonal.

While there can be no doubt that sustained absence from school can be detrimental to a child’s education, it is important to note that holidays play an important role in overall health and wellbeing. And, despite the Department for Education’s (DfE) suggestion that missing just a few days of school can damage GCSE results, the evidence actually points to the opposite – something that savvy headteachers are now taking on board.

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