Fresh calls to stagger school holidays

Fresh calls to stagger school holidays

Renewed calls have been made for schools to stagger holidays to reduce premium summer prices following the landmark ruling against dad Jon Platt.

Last week, the father lost his case in the Supreme Court, which set a precedent by ruling that children should not be taken out of school for a holiday without permission.

Business Minister Margot James told the Sun: “[The term time holidays dispute] will only be solved when schools start to stagger their terms and not necessarily have this long summer break for which there is no real need these days.”

James’ comments come after former education secretary Michael Gove, who launched the clampdown on term-time absences as Education Secretary, championed staggered holidays.

In a column for The Times, he said: “Schools now have the freedom to vary term times. Schools that opted for a shorter summer break with longer holidays at other times would not only help parents beat the tourist sharks but they would also help ensure that more of what was learnt in the summer term was retained for the autumn.”

Stephen Dunk, European operations director at Travelzoo, also called for staggered holidays, which he says could extend the summer peak period to 10 weeks.

He said: “There have been 12.8 million days of unauthorised absence in the past year, so parents in the UK clearly feel it’s worth running the risk of a fine to take children out of school for recreational purposes.

“Travelzoo has long maintained that a better solution is needed to what we call the Parent Trap: the toxic combination of the highest flight tax in the world, fines for parents taking their children away during term time and the inevitable peak pricing that makes holidays inaccessible for millions of UK families.

“We  feel a more flexible solution is needed. Where we believe real progress could be made is in staggering holidays regionally rather than school by school.

“Regional staggering is in place in Europe and it would mean that our summer-holiday period could stretch from early June to mid-September, giving holiday companies and hotels a 10-week window in which to attract families, rather than the current squeeze of six weeks when the whole of the UK family market flocks to the same beaches.”

Platt will face magistrates in the Isle of Wight again following the ruling. They had originally overturned his £120 fine for taking his daughter to Disney World in Florida in 2015, sparking the landmark legal battle.

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