Will the government’s new plans make it easier to take children on holidays?

Image of family holidayAs most of you will know, in September 2013 the Government decided to change the rules on taking your children out of school in term time. The Department for Education (DfE) say that schools must be open for 190 pupil days per year and 5 inset (teacher training) days. This will be different for non maintained primary schools and it also depends on the area you live however Brighton and Hove Council are looking at making some changes.

Adaptations to school holidays are due to be tested within this month by Brighton and Hove Council. This will help them decide as to whether to begin talks with local schools to shorten summer holidays and create an extra off-peak holiday. The change should mean that parents are able to go on holiday without spending a fortune.

In previous years, schools were able to grant leave for children to go on a family holiday of up to 10 days per year. If you take your child out of school now without authorization, then you may be fined £60 per child per parent which will raise to £120 per child per parent if the fine isn’t paid within 21 days. This can go to court if the fine is unpaid after 28 days.

You are able to ask permission from the school for your child to go away during term time. This wont always be accepted and it depends on the reason for taking time off. Usually children will be allowed time off if it is for a funeral, a medical appointment or a religious observance. As a parent, you will not be granted permission if you are taking your child on holiday, on an outing or take your child out of school with no explanation.

In some counties they are looking at adapting this law by shortening summer holidays and forming an off-peak holiday week. Children and young people’s committee chairman Tom Bewick said today: “If there is something we can do to offer lower-income families in particular the chance to take holidays that would otherwise be unaffordable then I think it’s worth exploring.

“Being able to take a cheap family holiday in March, for example, would make a huge difference to thousands of local people including, of course, our teachers. The long summer holiday goes back to the 19th century when children helped bring in the harvest. It’s time to take a fresh look at this and try and find a consensus for what works best for families in the 21st century.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says: “In the holiday market there is fierce competition for custom … holiday companies must seek to make a reasonable profit during the peak periods so that they are able to operate throughout the year when demand and therefore prices and profits are lower.” Some holiday prices rise by 51% in July and August therefore some families have no hope for getting a summer family holiday.

Fortunately for anyone who regularly goes on a campervan holiday knows that the prices do not vary too much when it comes to time of the year. This is why holidays on the road are ideal for families as they are affordable all year round. The only thing that may go up in price is the cost of parking your campervan on a site but almost else will cost the same as usual.

A small business owner, Sarah White, who sells campervan holidays on the Isle of White said: “I do not increase during school holidays, with the intention of supporting our local tourism sector and fellow parents.”

On a campervan trip you can do most of the same activities you would do on any other package holiday. There is also a lot less panic to make it to the airport and you also don’t have to worry about the amount of luggage you can take with you. If you want an affordable holiday for the whole family that you can take during school holidays and not end up spending a small fortune, then choose a campervan holiday!

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