There seems hardly a day goes by without a news headline somewhere discussing the latest developments on school holiday changes or a new controversy over children taking kids out during term times in the UK. It can be hard to keep track of everything as a parent whilst enjoying time with the kids so here is a round up of the big recent stories.
Lincolnshire breaks the mould
Two schools in Lincolnshire have become the first to change from the traditional summer term. White’s Wood and Mercer’s Wood Primary Academies in Gainsborough have confirmed that when the school term ended last week, their children would have a four week holiday instead of the normal six weeks. Their opinion is that this will both help with learning and allow parents to take their kids on holidays during off-peak times.
The government welcomes the change and said it was aiming for all schools to be able to set their own term dates in the near future. This is also a move to help combat the fining of parents for removing children during term time. The kids will return to class on 19th August and will have two extra weeks added to terms in September and November as well as in May.
Easter holiday clash
Parents in Dacorum, Hertfordshire, are facing a complex Easter holiday schedule after many of the secondary schools elected to split up the traditional Easter holidays. Their plan would involve a long weekend for Easter then returning to school for four days before then having two week off. But it seems that the primary schools in the area, despite being in favour of the change, didn’t put it into place.
What this means for parents is that if they have a child in both primary and secondary schools, they will be facing a different holiday period for each with only a week overlapping. The schools normally get together each year to organise holidays under the new county council model but somewhere the communications broke down and now parents will find themselves in a potentially awkward position over time off at Easter.
Source: Hemel Today
No fines for Carmarthenshire parents
Good news for parents of kids in Carmarthenshire schools after the council announced that next year there would be no fines for taking kids out on pre-booked holidays. The move comes after the announcement of new school holidays and terms times from the Welsh Government that were in conflict for those already published by the schools in the area. The mix up included October half term being a week earlier and the return from the Christmas break also being a week earlier. Even the January 2017 term will be slightly different.
The confusion led to the county council saying that pupils would not be fined for not attending school for holidays booked in those times, when the parents thought the kids were due to be on holiday. However, the move has yet to be signed off by the government in Cardiff so parents are advised to speak to the school directly if holidays are being affected.
Source: Carmarthen Journal
Inset days used to save parents money
A school in Newport has come up with a new way to help ease the pain of parents wanting to take their kids on holiday but finding that peak times are too expensive. Eveswell Primary School have said they will use their five teacher training days all together at the end of the Whitsun half term in June 2016 to allow parents to make use of cheaper holidays.
Head teacher Catherine Barnett said the move was aimed at discouraging parents from taking kids out of class during term times. The off-peak holidays available in this week will generally be cheaper than the peak time holidays available a few weeks later during the summer holidays and may mean more families can have a holiday next year.
The move comes as the council in the area have begun to implement the system of fining parents for taking their children out of school during term time. One parent said the move was great and if all the schools could do something similar at different times, it would be a huge benefit to many families.
PM Defends School Absence Fines
Speaking while on a visit to Cornwall, Prime Minister David Cameron has defended his government’s system of fining parents for taking kids out of school during term time. He was on a visit to promote tourism to the area from within the country and from abroad. When asked about the issue he said that he thought there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ where children could be taken out of class but on the whole, it shouldn’t be done.
He added that in his opinion, the answer was to convert more schools to academies and let them change their term times as they wished. This would help ease the sudden rush to tourist spots such as Cornwall all at the same time and help even out the pricing on offer, particularly when working with local businesses.
Source: Pirate FM
£1500 Holiday Bill for Parents
As many parents will know, the bill for the school holidays in terms of getting away and having a holiday can be one of the biggest expenses of the year. In fact, a new study of 2000 parents found that the two week holiday that has long been a tradition is no longer the standard and many parents find it difficult to afford even short trips. The total bill for the kids holidays can easily mount up to £1500 with the costs of childcare, gifts and treats for the kids, day trips and a holiday or short break.
Hotel chain Travelodge also conducted a survey that found families in Worcester were the biggest spenders with an average holiday cost of £1925.66 while Cambridge came in second place at £1759.82. At the other end, Hull were the best on the budget at £920.10 followed by Wrexham at £1053.27.
Many parents are turning to free attractions and sites to keep the kids occupied and as one mum said, “You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun.”
Main image by: I Yudai