The argument over families taking holidays during term time could be about to get a whole lot worse, as the difference between the countries in the UK has just been made clearer. Families in Wales have been reassured by the Welsh Education Minister that they will no longer face fines for taking holidays during term time, as the schools must comply with the current law stating that Headteachers can authorise leave.
The confusion came about as the law changed in England in 2013 stating that leave could be granted in exceptional circumstances only, but the law in Wales did not change. The 'exceptional circumstances' rule only applies to leave of more than ten days in a school year in Wales yet Welsh authorities have been giving fines rather than authorising absences in many cases.
The Education Minister for Wales, Huw Lewis, wrote to the Directors of Education in Wales advising them blanket bans on term time holidays are lawfully considered contrary to Welsh education regulations. This means that Welsh families have been receiving fines where they should not have, and means that in future fines will be much less likely to be imposed.
The campaign group 'Parents Want A Say' have hailed the move as a "victory" and say that they are going to use the breakthrough in Wales to go to Westminster and address the fines in England and Scotland. A spokesperson said:
"We're going to say look, Wales has got common sense, why can't we? Figures for the number of parents being fined in the UK is increasing, yet the law doesn't even define what 'exceptional circumstances' are.
"Because of this, local authorities are just stopping everybody taking holidays during term time. We'll be using this when we go to Westminster within the next week."
It looks like the discussion over term time holidays is going to be in the news again as this is an issue that is important to so many families. Where do you stand on this? If you are in England and the fines were removed would you take your children out of school for a holiday? Or are you a family in Wales who have been fined when you should not have been? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or over on our Facebook page.