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30 March 2015 08:46
Poorer families risk missing out on holidays together, experts suggest
Thousands of children will miss out on family holidays due to strict new rules on taking pupils out of school in term time, it has been suggested.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) claims family getaways are fast becoming the preserve of the middle classes, as poorer parents cannot afford the cost of travelling during school holidays.
Under the new rules, introduced by former education secretary Michael Gove in September 2013, mums and dads can be fined £60 per pupil for taking term time holidays without the permission of headteachers.
But the NUT believes all parents should be able to take their youngsters out of the classroom without running the risk of being fined, to enjoy a family holiday away from the stresses of daily life.
It says that holidays can provide valuable experiences and outdoor learning opportunities for children, plus social and emotional benefits which can be of lasting value and support as they grow up.
Family travel insurance protects against delays, cancellations, loss of luggage and medical bills, so people can enjoy themselves in the sun safe in the knowledge that they are covered if something happens to go wrong.
Heads are now only able to grant leave to pupils in exceptional circumstances.
But a resolution due to be debated by delegates at the NUT's annual conference in Liverpool this Easter could change all that.
It argues that despite recent advice from heads clarifying their interpretation of the rules, the regulations still unfairly impact on working parents, especially the low paid, meaning poorer children risk missing out.
The NUT wants to see the Government put much more pressure on travel companies to change pricing structures that can see fares go up during school holidays, in a bid to make holidays more affordable for the masses.
But the resolution adds that it is not just a problem of high costs impacting on working parents. It points out that some mums and dads are unable to take leave during school breaks due to shift or rota work.
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