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Date: 17/08/2012

Should you take the kids out of school for a family holiday

To avoid this, many parents go on holiday early, but is taking your children out of school to enjoy a family holiday a good idea?

Parents have been taking their children out of school to enjoy a family holiday for decades and in the current economic climate this is the only way that many people can afford to get away. However, many teachers disapprove of the practice and are in favour of fines being dished out to parents who disobey the system.

Whilst most mums and dads would recognise that taking their child out of school during the period leading up to their GCSEs would be disruptive, many believe that losing a couple of weeks of primary school does little harm. Critics argue that this is equally damaging, pointing out that developing strong reading and numeracy skills is just as important as passing examinations.

A recent study commissioned by the government found that the average child loses eight days per year due to illness and medical appointments. Researchers calculated that a yearly two-week holiday would mean that by the age of 18, the child would have missed out on almost a year's worth of education.

For the last eight years, schools have had the power to fine parents for removing their child from school, but plans to double the potential amount to £120 have been scrapped along with changing the fine from being discretionary to automatic.

The debate will undoubtedly rumble on for some time to come, being particularly pertinent at the moment as many households cannot afford peak season kids holidays.

The research commissioned by the Education Secretary did find that children who lose less than 5% of their school days fared much better in examinations than their young peers who had more days off. Unfortunately for those parents who simply do not have the money to pay the sky-high peak prices, not being granted the leeway to go on holiday during term time may mean their children lose out completely on the chance of a family getaway. Many would argue that losing a few days from school is better than missing out on a much-needed holiday.