COUNCIL leaders are calling for headteachers to be given more freedom to allow pupils time off outside school holidays.
The rules on school leave have been the subject of growing criticism since they were tightened two years ago making it much harder for parents to take their children out of school.
Councils argue they are being forced to defend the rules in court actions brought by parents arguing they breach their human rights.
Local authorities also complain the rules can punish parents whose jobs make it harder to schedule holidays outside term time.
By law, councils must issue £60 fines to parents who take their children out of school without permission.
Coun Roy Perry, chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “Blanket bans do not work and fines are now being successfully challenged in the courts under human rights laws.
“It is time for this situation to be reassessed to ensure we are not wasting time and money by enforcing, what is considered by many, to be a punitive and unfair system. Also, as the high court decisions have shown recently, it’s a system that is not always enforceable.
“Giving families’ time to be on holiday together can have social and emotional benefits which are of lasting value and support to children. It should not be something for which they are unduly punished.
“While councils fully support the Department for Education’s stance on every child being in school every day, there are occasions when parental requests should be given individual consideration and a common sense approach applied.”