Mid­dle-class kids lost time but will Ex­pert says more fre­quent but

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - News Special: The Great School Getaway -

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

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