Term-time cheap holiday crackdown: Gove to ban discretionary absencePA

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to crackdown on parents who take their children out of school during term time to go on holiday.

Mr Gove will remove headteachers' authority to allow parents to take their children out of school for up to two weeks a year of "authorised absence".

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the banning of term-time holidays will improve attendance figures.

It says that the during term time "discretionary absence" was in place to cover illness, bad weather and bereavement, but many headteachers come "under pressure" to sanction it to allow families to take holidays during cheaper periods.

Mr Gove is also to introduce tougher penalties for mums and dads whose children regularly truant. The measures are being taken following a review of school discipline and attendance undertaken by teacher and behaviour expert Charlie Taylor.

It is estimated that 4.5 million days of school are missed by children going on family holidays, with one expert saying term time leave of absence was thought of as a "right" by some parents.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders representing secondary school heads, said: "The discretionary 10 days has become a bit of a cultural expectation with parents viewing it as a right in some cases. It is not.

"Children only have one chance to get their education right and for schools to do their best for pupils, it is essential that children have good attendance. Parents taking children out to go on holiday just to get a good deal is disruptive and makes life very difficult for teachers."

A Department for Education spokeswoman declined to comment on Gove's proposals, claiming the revelations were a "leak".

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