Of course we want cheaper holidays and quieter beaches, but we can’t have them. It’s time to get over it.


In England and Wales, education secretary Michael Gove has decided to ban parents from taking kids out of school to go on holiday during term time. He’s doing this by taking away head teachers’ existing power to authorise up to 10 days a year off.

The 10 days are supposed only to be granted if there are “special” reasons, but that is so unclear “special” has come to mean cheaper in some cases.

Here in Scotland, there is no such fortnight of grey area. You can only take your kids on holiday during term time for things as extreme as “traumatic domestic circumstances”. While the rise in prices at the travel agent verges on traumatic, I don’t think it qualifies.

Of course there are other examples, such as the fixed leave of a parent in the armed forces where a child would be allowed to stay off school, but they really are the exception.

I hear many parents faced with Mr Gove’s plan moaning about how unfair it is that they can’t do what they want, when they want. Tough.

It’s annoying and expensive, but we will just have to make do with the school holidays as they are. An annual package holiday abroad is not a human right.

Some parents claim that the family excursion to somewhere exotic is educational. I’m sure it is, but mums and dads that inspired can surely find something for their children to learn closer to home.

And teaching children the importance of school by the example of making sure they go there every day, come what may, must surely be a valuable lesson. Sophisticated and costly education is laid on for our kids, the least we can do is make sure they’re there for it. In fact, it’s our duty.

Getting children to school every single day makes sure they don’t miss anything – and the schoolyard banter is almost as important as the classroom stuff. A fortnight is a very long time when you’re a school pupil.

So, stop bellyaching about it and pour your energies into the things you can do with your children during the 10 weeks or so they do get off.

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