Parents Planning Holidays with Children during School Term to Face Higher Penalties

Parents who choose to take children out of school for holidays during term-time may face steep penalties according to a report submitted by UK government advisor, Charles Taylor.

The government, however, is considering a reversal of an earlier proposal that would have placed an outright ban on parents taking children on holiday during term time. The ban is being replaced by steeper fines, which may deter already poorly off middle-class parents from considering such vacations.

The government is planning to implement a tougher system of fines for parents who regularly take their children on vacations during term-time, in order to take advantage of off-peak holiday costs. Parents may face penalties of up to GBP120, double the current fine of £50 to £60. The money will be subtracted from child benefits should the parents refuse to make the payment. The penalties come with a 28-day payment clause.

The UK Government’s truancy adviser, Charlie Taylor, said in an interview, ‘Some parents simply allow their children to miss lessons and then refuse to pay the fine. It means the penalty has no effect, and children continue to lose vital days of education they can never recover. Recouping the fines through child benefit, along with other changes to the overall system, will strengthen and simplify the system. It would give head teachers the backing they need in getting parents to play their part.’

Taylor will be submitting his report, commissioned by Education Secretary, Michael Gove, as part of his recommendations to tackle regular absences by school children.

Serious Siesta at Caribbean Sleep School

When tourists holiday abroad, it’s usually to take time to relax; bathing under the searing glow of the sun, reclining back on cushioned sun loungers, lazily floating through inky blue waves and slowly licking the head off a dripping 99.

However, the Lasource Grenada resort in the Caribbean has just inaugurated the first overseas ‘Sleep School’, working in conjunction with leading UK insomnia specialist Dr. Guy Meadows. Renowned for being classed as the ‘ultimate head-rest’, Lasource Grenada boasts extraordinary natural beauty with three sides of the resort surrounded by the sea with the luxury guesthouses rooted in the heart of the breath-taking tropical gardens.
Secluded on the famous Pink Gin beach, the resort promises the definitive relaxation and rejuvenating programme, lacing your body and mind back in sync. For the exhausted stress-heads and drained insomniacs, LaSource is a holiday of putting you back together again at your own pace and pleasure.
Dr Meadows, founder of The Sleep School, says: “Insomniacs need to re-learn how to sleep again. Learning is most effective when delivered in a fun, relaxed and informative manner.” Guests of the hotel can attend two completely free workshops scheduled for this December and June 2012 during their stay. The Caribbean heaven is a platinum paradise for those who cannot seem to ever get any shut eye, extracting insomniacs from their textured lives and demanding responsibilities allowing them to just melt into a peaceful nest of splendour.
The all-inclusive resort offers seven lavish nights, including flights with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick Airport from £1,589 each. The heavyweight price tag is hypothesised not be a deterrent of great depths, as sleep is one of lives free luxuries that everyone should be capable of enjoying. The Sleep School is running from November 29th till December 6th, idyllic for those who need a long-overdue break before the Christmas strains and pressures kick in. A second shorter term at Sleep School is available next year from June 3rd just until June 9th.

The prospect of going back to school has never looked so attractive to so many people around the UK, desperate to fix their body clock and train themselves to drift off into the land of nod on a nightly basis.
Perhaps at the end of their five star stay, these holiday makers may learn the art of tripling the recommended 40 winks a night.

Article by Emma Boyle


Summer school holidays could be cut to just four weeks

Michael Grove, Education Secretary, has this week called for drastic changes to the current school holiday system. The changes would see families given just a four week summer break to take a holiday.

Mr Groves reforms could lead to British children havign the shortest summer holiday in Europe. Traditionally state-educated children have had a six-week break between July and September.

The changes would include changing from three to six terms per year, with schools possibly lengthening their hours. Those serving large numbers of working parents could stay open for 51 weeks a year, closing only over Christmas.

Compared with school’s across Europe, British children already have one of the shortest holidays. In America they get between 10-12 weeks, in Greece and Italy it’s 12 weeks, in Austria and France it’s 9 weeks. Only Germany has a 6 week holiday the same as he UK.

Powers granted by Mr Gove to free schools and academies last year saw them take control of their own pay, conditions and term dates, and would allow them to change the traditional school timetable.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Mr Gove highlighted the Norwich Free School, where ‘the school premises will be open for six days each week, 51 weeks of the year’ from September. It will close only for bank holidays and the week of Christmas, and adopt a six-term structure with a four-week summer break.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, hit out at Mr Gove’s latest plans. ‘For schools to be open six days a week, 51 weeks of the year, is not what we need,’ she said.

‘Children and young people are after all entitled to a family life.

‘It is also essential that they have time to relax and recharge their batteries after a long and often intensive week at school.

‘This idea, although not new, is ridiculous.’