Term time breaks can harm children

Monday, 16 April 2012 10:55 AM

Taking a short break holiday during term time can damage your children's prospects, according to a new report by the Government’s truancy adviser Charlie Taylor.

The study, which is released today, will bring attention to the growing issue of  'middle-class truancy’ - when a family choses to go on holiday during the term-time off peak, rather than the allocated school holidays.     

In 2010-11 holiday absence amounted to 9.5 per cent of overall absence and the Government are warning that taking your child out of school for a short break will disrupt their learning. 

However, previous plans for automatic fines for parents have been scrapped. Instead, the decision to allow term-time holidays will be at the discretion of headteachers. 

The study was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove in the wake of last summer’s riots. Mr Taylor told the Daily Mail: "Children have on average eight days off a year for sickness and medical appointments. If on top of that they take an annual two-week holiday then by the time they leave at 16 they will have missed nearly a year of school. This needs to change."

The report is also calling for truancy penalties to be increased from the current £50 to £60 for regular offenders, doubling to £120 for those who do not pay within 28 days. If parents refuse to pay, the money could be taken from child benefit.

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