Before September 2013, headteachers could approve absences of up to 10 days a year for family holidays in “special circumstances” – which for many families included festivals during term time. The new rules, however, state that absences are only allowed for “exceptional circumstances” such as funerals of family members.
Unauthorised absence is illegal, and so if you decide to take your children to Glastonbury for example, you will be breaking the law.There is a penalty fine of £60 per parent per child – so you may just choose to pay the fine. If not paid within seven days, the fine rises to £120. Refusing to pay this can see you facing court action and a fine of up to £2,500.
Of course, I can understand the argument that is made by the Government – that if children miss their schooling every year they could fall behind, and it disrupts classes. However I believe that our children benefit from these festivals, that they are important cultural events, that they learn a huge amount about science, nature, music and community. Although they say that missing school will affect their performance in exams, how about children whose parents spend more time with them on their education? I believe that festival goers are more likely to spend time with their children to help them catch up with any work their children have missed, and more. If these absences were properly authorised this would be easier to do; instead realistically this will cause many parents to call their children in sick.
Does this mean that legally the kids’ field at Glastonbury will need to become for under 5s only? I’m worried by the implications of this ruling for all family festival goers.
I’m extremely interested in the views of other parents over this. Please write in with your feedback.
Are you a parent taking your children to Glastonbury or other term time festivals this year?
Have you submitted authorisation requests or will you call your children in sick?
Have your authorisation requests been accepted?
Do you intend to pay the fine?
Will you be getting notes on the curriculum they will miss so you can make sure they catch up?
Is there anyone who has taken a child to a festival that thinks it has negatively affected their education?
Thank you for your views and comments!
Note: Festival Kidz does not recommend calling your children in sick or breaking the law in any way. Please see the Government website for a full explanation of the new ruling.