As a school governor I get how important it is for children to attend school. Really I do, but I don’t need to be a governor to know that. I understand that OFSTED inspections are an important part of ensuring that our children’s education is ‘outstanding’ (even if OFSTED move the goalposts each year!). As such, for a school to achieve an ‘outstanding’ inspection, the school must have an overall attendance record of over 95%.
So, the councils of our great nation then decided that to be able to achieve this 95% rule parents would be fined if they took their children out of school. The fine in the Northwest is currently £60 per parent, per child, per session (2 sessions a day) although this can vary. If I took my 2 children out of school for just one day, the total fine could potentially be £480!
One of the main reasons for taking the kids out of school is normally for holidays and generally because the holiday in question can be significantly lower in price than during the half term. Have a look at the example below, the first screenshot was for 7 days for a family of four in Majorca leaving on May 9th. Just 2 weeks later (half term week) the price shoots up by nearly £750
It’s not that I can single out a particular company either, they ALL do it and it’s infuriating for the majority of us (my 18 year old, childless self would, however, be jumping for joy!). In fact it makes my blood boil. Since the schools have imposed the fine though, holiday firms could offer free holidays during term time and it still wouldn’t be cost effective for us to go. Part of me thought that at least the school benefits from these ridiculous fines, only to learn that the headteachers do all of the work to get NONE of the fine, it goes straight to the council.
Maybe I’m slightly bitter at not being able to take advantage of great holiday bargains but at this point I’ve just got to get over it. I do feel very sorry though for the likes of service men and woman with families, that don’t have the liberty of deciding where and when they can go. Other professions are also given mandatory weeks off, that don’t happen to be within the school holiday timetable and can’t pick and choose like some of us. What happens to these people? For the family that hasn’t seen Dad due to his being posted overseas, surely it’s better to spend quality time on holiday with his family than making sure government targets are met?
I’d love to know your ideas and thoughts on what you think the answer will be and if you’ve been affected or even fined.
Think big and reach for the stars,