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Parents challenege Michael Gove's legal bid over holiday rules

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 26, 2014

By Jeff Wells

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Parents are challenging Michael Gove's decision to crack down on parents taking children on term-time holidays through the courts.

Bath-based mum-of-three Karen Wilkinson, is a leading light in the move to take the Education Secretary's controversial new ruling to judicial review.

The group claims the rules are a breach of their human right to a family life and are being backed by a petition signed by more than 200,000 parents.

Parents Want A Say was officially launched yesterday and is being co-ordinated by Ms Wilkinson, reports the Sunday Times.

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Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who has successfully campaigned to open up the family courts, is advising the group.

Ms Wilkinson says it's not just parents looking for cheap holidays who are being refused permission to take children out of school under the new stricter rules.

"Requests to take children out of school for weddings, to visit elderly grandparents who live abroad or even in some cases, when doctors have sanctioned the request because it's in the child's interest, are all being turned down," she said.

This weekend it emerged that a ten-year-old girl from Tamworth was denied a day off for her grandfather's funeral.

Mr Gove's changes brought in last year end the right for schools to grant up to ten days holiday per year in special circumstances.

Parents face fines of £60 per pupil per parent if they take children out of school without permission and those who refuse to pay could be fined £2,500 by the courts and even jailed for up to three months.

But figures show that more than 24,000 children are skipping school every day to go on family holidays as parents ignore the threat of fines to escape peak-time price hikes.

About three-quarters of these had been taken out of school without the permission of the head.

So-called "middle-class truancy" is linked to inflated prices imposed by travel companies during half-term, Christmas, Easter and summer school holidays.

Prices can be double normal rates and savings on the holidays often outweigh the cost of any fines.

A survey by Travelzoo revealed that 85 per cent of parents reported they had already started to feel the financial impact of the change.

And PWAS say seven out of ten travel companies do not believe MPs should interfere with family holidays, and 67 per cent said it was unacceptable that the industry was not consulted.

Herefordshire parents Jodi Andy Ing said they felt like criminals after being fined £240 for taking their children – Kisbee and Joolz on a skiing holiday to France during the first week of term in January.

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  • StanStill  |  May 26 2014, 1:05PM

    But figures show that more than 24,000 children are skipping school every day to go on family holidays as parents ignore the threat of fines to escape peak-time price hikes. Best of luck Lady, I hope you win, some of these Jobsworth Head Teachers let power ngo to their heads.

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