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‘Parents Want a Say’ Campaign Goes to Government Over ‘Human Rights of Family Life’

In the past we’ve reported about the high price of holidays during the school holiday period and the Parent Trap campaign to scrap APD during school holidays.

Now it seems that parents just aren’t giving up when it comes to their concerns and frustrations about holiday prices and not being able to take their children out of school and have launched a legal challenge.

The new legal challenge to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has been launched by a group of parents, called ‘Parents Want A Say’.

Mr Gove is responsible for the introduction of the contentious fining of families who take their children out of school. Originally, he said parents could take their children out of school for up to 10 days’ leave in ‘exceptional’ circumstances if the Head Teacher agreed, however, later he controversially retracted this decision.

A petition of more than 200,000 signatures has been sent to the Government Minister seeking a judicial review of the current rules, and claims are a breach of human rights to family life, as many families can’t afford a holiday in the school holidays.

One of the things the group wants is to give authority back to the Head Teachers to grant permission for leave at their discretion. In the latest figures, 24,000 school children were taken out of school to go on a family holiday. Proof surely that the current threat of fines isn’t enough of a deterrent.

Parents risk a fine of £60 per child, per parent, whereas they stand to save hundreds if not thousands of pounds savings by taking a child on holiday during the school term.

The campaign, led by Karen Wilkinson, a mother of three from Bath, has the full support of Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming (who successfully campaigned to open up family courts).

Speaking about the campaign, Mrs Wilkinson said the campaign isn’t simply about parents wanting cheaper holidays. It’s also about important family life, such as visiting a relative living abroad, or attending an overseas wedding. Or in some cases, for the health of a child .

Mrs Wilkinson cites the case of the Dale Family from Sheffield, who was refused permission to take their 10-year-old Asperger-suffering son out of school so they could holiday when resorts are much quieter. Their son, Daniel, gets extremely anxious in busy, frantic environments. So, instead the family wanted to go on holiday in September, just after the schools start the new Autumn term, rather than during the busy July to August peak holiday time. The Daniel family, in a bid to get permission, even had a letter from their son’s psychiatrist, which substantiated the family’s reasoning for a term-time holiday.