Middle-class kids lost time but will Expert says more frequent but
back to ACROSS the country, pupilsareheading school after thesummer break.
breadth of And in classroomsthe length and
of “what I did Scotland, there will be much talk onmy holidays”.
a part But as TheSunday Post today reveals,
really in the of what some pupilsdid was not
parents had holidays, it was in term-time. Their taken them out of school early.
is important Let’s be clear from the start – it
to do all they that schoolsand parents continue
in order to can to ensure good attendance, maintain children’s attainment.
parents who But I have great sympathywith
andare wanttotakethe kids off on abreak
holiday then faced with theannual summer price hike.
theprice of Every year, as Julyrollsround,
You do not get holidays increases massively.
is exactly more for your money: the holiday
It is just theprice same in June, Julyand August. that rockets.
kids the best For parents trying to give their
to pull holiday they can, it isahugetemptation
beat the them out of school a week earlyand
may makethe price hike. Indeed, for some, it
or staying difference betweengoing onholiday at home. I understand that.
have to say that But, as education secretary, I kids’ schooling must comefirst.
parents are That doesn’t stop measking why
school anda being forced to choose between
simply trying to good holiday break.They are
firmsare do the best by their kids but holiday
on parents hiking theprice and forcing achoice that isunfairon them andtheirchildren.
the increased Iunderstand perfectlywell that
particularly demandofthesummer months,
increases the once theEnglish schools gooff, price. But that is not meanttobethewhole story. learns, the As every Higher Economics pupil
time, the market is meant to correct. Over
generate more increased price is supposed to
fall. supplyand cause theprice to
that is That is a core definition of a market
to working properly. Yet, whenitcomes
being children holidays, people have gonefrom
pattern of a to adults to parents, andstill the
after decade. summer price hike holds, decade
that isa That is not a market working well, market that isbroken.
patternhas held It istempting, given thesame
way for so long,tothink that it issimplythe things have to be.
ask But that’s not true. We can –andshould–
Iam sure hard questionsofthe holiday firms.
price gouging – they will argue that they are not
– but itcannot be andIcannot say that they are
of parents rightthat generation after generation
school and are faced with thechoice between
kids. a decentsummer holiday for their
there isa Whilethis debate over whether
isonethat better way takes place, that choice
not blamethem parents continue to face. I will
that they for being tempted but I wouldask
the lure of keep their kids in school andresist lower holiday prices.
“A long summer holiday is a serious educational problem. Middle class families are able to sustain children’s learning across the six weeks of the summer holidays by, at some point, doing wor thwhile things with them, be it trips abroad or to a museum with them. Poorer families are unable to do this.”
The former director of education and chief executive of Clackmannanshire Council said “considerable research” suggests the attainment gap between rich and poorer pupils could be caused by slippage during summer holidays.
He added: “We have just inherited the terms of school holidays from the past. We have tattie howking holidays and all sorts, which is just ludicrous.”
However his idea to spread holidays throughout the year has failed to gain any sort of t ra c t i o n w i t h the t ra ve l industry.
A spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents said the reason prices rise during school holidays is “supply and demand” – and that will always be the case regardless of when the holidays are timetabled.
She said: “Allowing schools to set their own holiday dates is a good first step to alleviating the sharp peaks in pricing. However, if it is to achieve