Brighton and Hove parents to be offered term-time holiday compromise

Posted On 01 Jun 2016 at 4:57 pm

Parents in Brighton and Hove are to be offered a term-time holiday compromise by the council’s schools chiefs.

They plan to group five days taken from existing holidays to create a new break in each of two school years – 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Three dates are being considered in the first year of the trial period. They are the weeks beginning

  • Monday 16 October 2017
  • Monday 20 November 2017
  • Monday 5 March 2018

The idea came from parents, with one of them, Annie Heath, presenting a petition to Brighton and Hove City Council last autumn.

Council repairs
Annie Heath

Annie Heath

She asked the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee to discuss with schools the potential for them to take all their inset (in-service training) days together.

She hoped that this would give families the opportunity to go on holiday in term time, making it affordable for many more families to do so.

The committee is to look at the final proposal on Monday (6 June), having ruled out grouping inset days after feedback from schools.

The council said today (Wednesday 1 June): “During informal consultation carried out by the council during March and April, 59 per cent of the more than 1,500 respondents said they would like to see a new week’s holiday created outside the traditional pattern of school holidays.

“The cost of holidays taken in the school holidays is higher than the equivalent holiday in term time.

“A standalone week’s holiday during term time could allow parents to buy a cheaper holiday or family trip without taking their child out of school.

“Creating a standalone holiday during the summer term has been ruled out due to concerns expressed by the education community that this would cause too much disruption to vital exams and revision.

Councillor Tom Bewick

Councillor Tom Bewick

“The consultation also looked at a proposal for the council to ask schools to co-ordinate their five inset days per year to create the extra week’s holiday.

“This has been ruled out following strong feedback from schools that this could make staff training and school improvement less effective.

“They also wished to retain the flexibility to react to new regulations and curriculum changes that occur during the academic year.

“The council has no powers to force schools to select or co-ordinate inset dates.

“If the proposal is approved by the committee, formal consultation on the three options for term dates during the academic year 2017-18 will run from (Tuesday) 7 June to (Tuesday) 28 June.”

Children, Young People and Skills Committee chairman Councillor Tom Bewick said: “The new term-time holiday could offer lower-income families in particular the chance to take holidays and excursions that might be unaffordable during the traditional pattern of school holidays.

“It should also help to address the issue of parents taking their children out of school during term time for an unauthorised holiday.

Picture by Kiran Foster on Flickr

Picture by Kiran Foster on Flickr

“Our consultation has shown that the idea of a week’s holiday outside the traditional pattern of the school year is popular with residents.

“This proposal shows that we have listened to parental feedback about how to make the current pattern of term-time holidays more flexible.

“It’s an exciting and creative step forward that could benefit thousands of local families.”

The council pointed out that it set the academic year dates for community, voluntary controlled and community special schools in the city.

For foundation and voluntary aided schools this was done by the school’s governing body. For academies and free schools it was done by the trust running the school.

All state schools in the city currently followed the council’s academic year although the academies and free schools were under no obligation to do so in future, the council said.

  1. Katie Reply

    I love the way the parents petition for schools to combine inset days. Personally I think this is a rubbish idea as for teachers professional development this isn’t an effective way of staff training. Also as a teacher with children in another LEA this would be detrimental to me. If their school decided to do this who would look after them. I wouldn’t be able to holiday with my children as they would probably be at school. Basically people need to get over it. If you can’t afford it don’t go on holiday. I can’t afford it this year so guess what I’m not going on holiday. People make such a big deal about this personally there are more pressing things in life to worry about.

    • Woobs Reply

      Agree so much.

      Going away on holiday isn’t a right. When did people start thinking it was? If you can’t afford it, do it every two or three years. Or stay home and have fun there.

      We never had family holidays when I was young, this obsession with it is so weird.

      And yes, the whole argument also forgets that people working in schools have children too, often in different areas. Also, lining up INSETS across schools will mean that really important (and mandatory) training providers will be booked up, and that could cause all sorts of issues for schools. For example, all schools have had (or will soon have) a visit from Prevent trainers – if they all had to do this at the same time, it wouldn’t be feasible.

    • Selfish Reply

      Maybe train during the numerous weeks off during the year you have.Maybe train on a Saturday, you see I work 6 days a week 8 till 8 and I get 3 weeks a year off, after all if you can’t do the training don’t be a teacher, sounds selfish doesn’t it ?.Its ironic a teacher moaning about inset days being disruptive but no mention of the disruption to me when they go on strike but then I suppose I’m being selfish having to take time off work unpaid so you can strike

  2. Heather Reply

    Katie, I totally agree, and if they did group inset days it would mean that everyone is entitled to a cheap holiday in term time…..except the families of teachers!! Teachers would end up attending inset with nobody to look after their children and with no holiday gain. The five holiday days seems more sensible but I still agree that many teachers work in another authority to that which their children attend. Also, with increasing academia action a family could have children and teaching parent(s) in two, three or even more schools, each with their own independent dates.
    Morale is low enough in the teaching profession without devaluing teachers and work/life balance further.

  3. Bill Reply

    Katie ,you teachers take the …. With your inset days , have you every been self employed ? Lol

    • Woobs Reply

      What do you think an INSET day is? The kids get the day off, but the staff (not just teachers) are all in school working.

  4. IB Reply

    This makes no sense whatsoever!

    Why would we need more holidays? Who is supposed to take care of children during these extra holidays? Nannies? Payed clubs? The reliance on stay-at-home mums needs to stop! We’ll never have gender equality if we continue along these lines.

    It would be much better to allow parents who want or need to travel to take their children out of school 5 days a year without penalisation.

    • IB Reply

      Even if this did not involve extra days of holidays, this doesn’t help parents who can’t afford holidays. It also doesn’t help parents with better reasons for travel than a holiday, such as those who need to travel overseas for work or family reasons and need to take their children with them, and therefore need flexibility.

  5. Michele Reply

    Bill , INSET days are training days NOT holidays. They were TAKEN FROM teachers’ holidays – teachers used to teach for 190 days but then in 1988 Kenneth Baker took 5 days from teachers holidays and directed them to be trained on these days . If you’re self employed you can set your price for your labour and choose when to take your holiday . You won’t have someone who is unqualified telling your how to do your job …. And you certainly won’t have every Tom , Bill and. Harry rubbishing you …

  6. Pingback: Parents to be offered term-time holiday compromise | Southdown Rise Residents Association

  7. Emma Reply

    Well done Michelle, Katie etc. As a teacher and mother (and the majority of staff in the special school where I teach are also psrents) it makes no sense. The issue should be taken up with the holiday companies who hike the price up overnight. But no one argues that they are the problem! What would make sense us to even out the cost of holidays over the year.

  8. Woobs Reply

    It doesn’t do any harm to not have a holiday?

    A generation or so ago people didn’t take yearly holidays, or took cheap UK trips (camping etc). Why do people think it’s a right to go abroad cheaply?

    Honestly, I cannot understand this whole argument. The travel companies are always going to hike the prices during peak times, that’s just free market capitalism at work. It doesn’t just affect people with children, but anybody who works term times (meaning they don’t get any annual leave allowance, even though they often get paid pro-rata for the year).

    We never had overnight holidays when I was growing up, in a household where both parents worked in the public sector, it just wasn’t affordable. As an adult, I’ve been abroad every few years (gaps of 3 to 6 years since I’ve been working), because I work in education, and it’s expensive. Instead of bunking off work, I just save up and go when I can. Why is this so difficult for some families who demand they go somewhere every year?

  9. Keith Tate Reply

    Can’t believe some of the comments regarding parents taking their children on holidays. Such precious times that create family bonding, lasting memories and can provide a wider view of the world too. Going abroad is an adventure but it’s not just overseas countries that hike their prices during school holidays either. Someone mentioned why not take a holiday once every three years! Life is for living. The education system shouldn’t have such power to prevent families experiencing one of life’s most valuable things. Family bonding time, away from everyday stresses and if going away during term time is the only way a family can afford it then they shouldn’t hesitate.

    As for the bunched inset days that shouldn’t be evaluated on the opportunity it presents for pupil holidays as the system should simply allow parents at least 5 days family leave per year anyway, as the emotional and health benefits the child will gain will greatly outweigh curriculum loses or catchups needed. It seems that for effectiveness they should be grouped to at least twice a year, maybe a 2 day and a 3 day. All just my opinion of course.

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