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Michael Gove set to abolish term-time holidays

21/02/2012 Joanna
Parents are to be banned from taking their children on term-time holidays under new proposals set to be announced by education secretary Michael Gove.

Currently, head teachers have the right to 'authorise absence' if parents wish to take their children on holidays during school term to save money, but this is set to be abolished.

Mr Gove will make the announcement at the end of February, with the move a key component of efforts to improve school discipline and attendance.

Last year, the education secretary recruited former head teacher Charlie Taylor as behaviour tsar and launched a review into discipline and attendance.

This move stems from that review, and forms part of a shake-up that will see schools lose league table points for high rates of absence.

A source at the Department for Education (DfE) said: "Any time out of school has the potential to damage a child's education.

"That is why the government will end the distinction between authorised and unauthorised absence.

"This is part of the government's wider commitment to bring down truancy levels in our schools. There will also be stricter penalties for parents and schools."

A head teacher can currently give authorisation for up to two week's absence per child and this is meant to be in event of illness, bereavement or bad weather.

However, it is often given to allow parents to take their children on low-season holidays when prices are considerably cheaper.

While there is currently a fine of £100 for parents whose children are absent without authorisation, ministers are looking to make this fine tougher as parents could easily decide the fine is worth paying given the potential savings on the cost of a holiday.

Recent figures from the DfE show that around 4.5 million school days are missed each year, with holidays the second biggest cause after illness.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801298277-ADNFCR
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