Gove needs to tackle holiday industry on term-time breaks

From: David T Craggs, Tunstall, East Yorkshire.

THE result of the Question of the Day on parents taking their children out of school to go on holiday (Yorkshire Post, February 21) did not surprise me.

However, the low majority (Yes 42 per cent, No 58 per cent) did, for when government policy is obviously wrong the public are quick to point this out.

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Typically, if there is an easy option to take, governments usually take it. Rarely do they grasp the nettle – let’s attack the parents instead of confronting the real issue – that of holidays being cheaper during term time than during the school holidays.

This is not an LEA, school or parent problem, but a Government/travel industry problem, and Michael Gove should be looking there for a solution. As far back as 1997, David Blunkett, the then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, stated that he intended to take the problem up with the travel industry, but if he did so, nothing apparently came of it.

Recently I wrote to Mr Gove, pointing out where the problem, and therefore the solution, actually lay, but was informed by his department that the Government was not prepared to take up the issue with the travel industry. This did not surprise me, for when did any government, past or present, take on big business?

I am still waiting for this one to tell the supermarkets to stop selling cheap alcohol.

What I have noticed is that the issue regularly comes up at the school governors’ meetings that I attend.

There I express, as strongly as I can, my point of view, and get a good deal of support from my fellow governors, some of whom are parent governors and therefore see the problem from a parent’s point of view, at the same time appreciating the importance of continuity in a child’s education.

Shouldn’t the travel business also appreciate the argument and want the nation’s children to be in school during term time? Apparently not. Or don’t they care? At present the latter appears to be the case. And this is the very reason why the Government, and in this case that means Mr Gove himself, should be knocking heads together and coming up with a solution where family holidays during term time are no cheaper than during the holiday periods.

Surely it isn’t beyond the ability of man to do this? Perhaps some of the whizkids who are losing their jobs in the banking industry could be brought in to address the problem. On second thoughts – better not.