Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Price rationing.

From The Daily Mail:

Tourism bosses have claimed that a ban term-time breaks is costing the holiday industry £87 million a year.

The new rules, introduced by former education secretary Michael Gove in 2013, mean families can be fined up to £60 a day for taking their children out of school. Parents who don't pay up can be prosecuted and face a £2,500 fine and three months in prison...

Previously, head teachers were allowed to grant up to ten days leave for children to go on holiday outside school breaks - when prices can be considerably higher... The figures come from research by the Nationwide building society, which also found the current system means a family can expect to pay an extra £1,347 for a foreign break in Spain.


Caveat 1. I would argue that prices are not 'higher' during school holidays, but that they are 'lower' during term time.

Caveat 2. To the extent that you agree that taking children out of school during term time disrupts their and other children's education and should be discouraged...

Solution: Just allow parents to 'buy' days off school, on a sliding scale, let's say £50 for each of the first five days per academic year, £100 a day for the next five and so on; possibly with a discount for families who holiday in the UK.

So if you take two children out of school for a week, that costs you £500 'fines' but you save £1,347 on your jaunt to Spain, so still well worth doing.

Having criminal penalties strikes me as absolutely outrageous; if the parents ensure that the child catches up with missed lessons (or gets them printed out in advance to take on holiday), then where is the harm? Surely this is far less bad than parents who consistently don't bother making sure that their children do their homework and revision etc.

16 comments:

Lola said...

Criminal penalties are not just 'outrageous' they are fascism/socialism. The implicit assumption is that your children are the property / responsibility of the State.

mombers said...

This is a tricky one - education is compulsory, and rightly so. Can't think of a successful state that does not have a strong, free and compulsory education policy. Where do you draw the line on this one? Should parents be able to take their kids out of school for a few months to travel the world?
Staggered holidays would be a good idea, so long as they are regional, e.g. Birmingham schools at a different time to London ones. It would be chaos if you had kids at different schools with different term times.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, agreed

M,where to draw the line is easy. Each school can have its own rules on number of days and fine per day. If you exceed the limit then your child gets expelled - remember that if too many kids are missing for too long then that disturbs things for those who dutifully turn up every day

L fairfax said...

Why can we have staggered half terms to save money?
True some children in London will not be able to visit their cousins in Yorkshire because they have different half terms.
However at the moment some cannot visit cousins in xx because the flights are too expensive?

ThomasBHall said...

That I can be criminally prosecuted for taking my children out of school for a few days is completely outrageous- as if their parents going to prison is better than missing a few days of school. It makes my blood boil- it really does. It is the sort of thing that makes me want to actually fight the state- even if it means becoming a martyr. I care about my children more than anyone else (my wife possibly excepted) can ever be expected to. A few days away with parents is probably more educational than the time spent in school anyway. FFS.
I don't even buy the idea it is disrupting to have kids missing classes. The teacher has a lesson plan- and will read through it regardless of who is present. Most kids will be switched off anyway, so the idea the next lesson won't work unless all the students took in the previous lesson is rot. Make the material available online if it is so bloody important.

Mark Wadsworth said...

F, exactly. Other countries do it, The Stigler has suggested it many times.

TBH, mildly disruptive if teacher has to spend the first part of every lesson bringing the vacationers back up to speed.

Curtis said...

"Should parents be able to take their kids out of school for a few months to travel the world?"

Yes, they should. By the way, homeschooling is permitted in the UK.

Mark Wadsworth said...

C, yes, homeschooling is permitted, but the few people I've met who do it were a bit mad, and I'm not convinced that in practice it's a good idea.

Bayard said...

"By the way, homeschooling is permitted in the UK."

for how much longer?

James Higham said...

Hmmmm, idea of slugging parents - where would the money end up?

The Stigler said...

mombers,

I've met families in Ireland who say it's quite normal to take kids out of school for holidays. I'm guessing not when they get older and near exam times, though.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, it goes into the school's budget.

ThomasBHall said...

MW- my point is the teacher will never bother bringing kids up to speed anyway. So many of the kids will have been dozing/mucking about/not paying attention, that the teacher will not be able to ensure all pupils have got it "learnt", and so at most will give a 5 minute revision of the last lesson before starting the next one.
On homeschooling, agree, it tends to draw in a slightly unusual group of people, but the results are not always bad by any stretch. Other than my own family (my mother has tried homeschooling with all of her children at one time or another), some friends of ours did it. 3 children, 3 early offers to Oxford (the eldest at 14 believe it or not), 3 excellent high achievers professionally (OK, one has yet to really get started, but has a first in chemisty, a good job offer, won a blue in boxing, and is popular with the girls)

Lola said...

Why is it 'correct' to make education compulsory? Where and when it wasn't compulsory parents still worked hard to get their children edjukated, as eny fule no. Personally I reckon if you did away with compulsion and de nationalised the schools education take up (as in more committed students fully aware of the sacrifices being made by their parents) and standards of achievement would both improve.

L fairfax said...

@Lola
"Why is it 'correct' to make education compulsory?"
I agree, anyone like myself who has been in a class with people who didn't want to be there and whose parents didn't want them would agree with you.

Bayard said...

"Personally I reckon if you did away with compulsion"

Ending compulsion after primary education would be a good start. However, this would conflict with school's main role, which is to keep kids from hanging around on street corners and/or off the dole, depending on age, and to provide a free creche for working parents, so that they can afford that mortgage.