A virtually total ban on taking children out of school for family holidays in term time is set to be softened by the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Until now, the Vale Council has advised all school governing bodies “not to authorise any holiday requests during term time, except where there are exceptional and extenuating circumstances. “
The “exceptional and extenuating circumstances” were defined as “a family holiday request from parents who are employed by the Ministry of Defence” or “family requests for holiday due to religious beliefs”. Those were the only exceptions which could be considered,
Now however, the Welsh Labour/Liberal Coalition Government’s Education Minister Kirsty Williams is apparently “concerned” that some local authorities have been interpreting its regulations too strictly and is reminding them there should be a “margin of discretion for the school in such matters”.
As a result the Vale Council ‘cabinet’ is to decide next week whether to issue revised advice to schools.
The change would mean that parents who want to take their children on holiday during term time, would still have to ask for permission from the school headteacher – but now that permission “might be granted” for an absence up to 10 days.
Schools will still be told to “carefully explore with parents why such a leave of absence was necessary” .
The proposed policy amendment has been vetted by the council’s “Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee”. Its chairman Cllr Nic Hodges says in an internal report that the revised policy now gives parents “an allowable ten days” – which “worried him”. He stressed that in his view children should be in school at every possible opportunity.