In today’s Star we ask you: ‘what punishment should be handed down to parents who keep their children out of the classroom?’
It’s a question that divides opinion, but ultimately it comes down to the pound note. I have previously argued that rather than looking to punish parents, the problem ought to be tackled by politicians imposing robust legislation upon holiday companies. I know from experience that it would take one seriously hefty fine to put off a family of four from flying abroad outside of term time. My reason for saying so is that same said family can save an arm and a leg by avoiding school holiday price hikes. The difference can head towards four figures for a two-week break abroad, and let’s face it, the fines imposed are never going to amount to the savings to be had. Even a week spent on British shores on a caravan and camping site will double in price. The most responsible and diligent of parents are being faced with taking a holiday, or not. So to my mind what would make more sense is to stop the big school holiday rip-off. The Government is tackling this issue from the wrong side. If hard-working, bright pupils across the country are being taken out of school in order to spend some quality time with people who dearly love and cherish them –but hardly get to see them on a day-to-day basis – then so what? What would make more sense would be to stop travel companies, airlines, hotels et al ripping off families who have no choice but to travel at certain moments in the calendar. Instead of issuing paltry fines, whilst no-doubt raking in their own share of extra tax from over-inflated holiday prices, Governments should draw up legislation to stop the big holiday scam. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging parents to take their children out of school – that can’t be right. What I’m suggesting is that fining mums and dads who care deeply )about their children for wanting to take them on holiday for some rare quality time is ludicrous.