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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 12:03 GMT
Action over term-time holidays
The beach at Le Saint Geran Hotel, Mauritius
Many families try to avoid the holiday rush
A growing number of parents are taking their children away on holiday during the school term to avoid peak prices, education welfare officers warn.

Bury Council estimates between 10,000 to 14,000 school days are lost at secondary level alone through pupils heading off for a break and it plans to crack down on the trend.

It is not a parent's right to take their children out of school on holiday

Alan Cogswell
The council has written to parents asking them to be more responsible and is telling schools to crack down.

"It is not a parent's right to take their children out of school on holiday," said Bury Council's chief education welfare officer Alan Cogswell.

Mr Cogswell said the council understood the parents position, but said the impact of term-time holidays on a child's education was significant.

"We can certainly sympathise with the parents, but the cumulative effect on their children's education is enormous."

Half a year lost

He said some pupils could be losing up to half a year's education over their 10 years at school.

"We're tackling the parents head on, we're sending letter to 28,000 parents next week to tackle it," said Mr Cogswell.

"But we'd like to see the tour operators join us by looking at their pricing policy."

But travel industry spokesman Keith Betton said it was unlikely policy would change because of market forces.

"You're actually looking at hundreds of thousands of hotels and airlines world-wide reducing their prices at a time when, across the world, demand is at its greatest," said Mr Betton.

Teachers should be stricter with parents who wanted to take their children on holiday during term-time, he said.

The problem was not simply a British one, but global, he added.

See also:

02 Sep 01 | Education
Children suffering 'September-itis'
04 Oct 01 | Scotland
Holiday's 'affecting school days'
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