Who’s this Tim Fallon guy?

Just in case you missed it…

Tim cheekily replied: “It’s my pen name.”

The article itself was about the Government’s policy of criminalising parents who take their children out of school for a holiday during term time. Tim has spoken out against this several times recently. He said earlier this week:

Punishing parents financially for taking holidays with their children in term-time will not improve our education system.

Instead it will further castigate hardworking mums and dads who are too often forced to break the rules or miss out on a family break altogether.

Headteachers need to be given more flexibility to support families who cannot afford to take holidays at the most expensive times of the year

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Glad this is being picked up – its such a fundamentally Illiberal policy and I’m amazed we didn’t get it scrapped when we were in government – in fact David Laws seemed to approve of the policy. If my kid’s attendance is good why the hell should I get fined for taking them out of school for a few days to go on a family holiday and save thousands of pounds?

    To give those without young children an idea our holiday in July this year cost £2000 for a family of 4 – same holiday starting a few days before the end of term, £1100.

    Shame really as it could have been a real vote winner, normal families with kids are so hacked off with this

  • Their apology was brilliantly Sunesque. https://t.co/Sx12dCqser

  • On the policy – we should allow LEAs to choose when holidays are in their area, require academies to follow the LEA’s lead, and encourage LEAs to stagger the holidays so as many weeks as possible are a school holiday somewhere.

    The reason for doing it at an LEA level is so parents with children in more than one school (in particular one in primary and one in secondary) don’t have to deal with the children having holidays at different times.

    That would remove the huge price differentials, especially at half-term. Then permission for an affordable holiday would be required much less frequently.

  • Tomorrow they are doing a piece by Michael Farron, Defence Secretary.

  • @Gareth Wilson – So it is still financially in your favour to take your children out of school for a holiday!

    The real issues with the current system is the lack of any real detail – it seems the penalty of £60 (if paid within 15-days) is per child per period of absence (not per day of absence). However some authorities may impose separate penalties against both parents/guardians. This is because the fine is discharging your parental/guardian liability for criminal prosecution for the offence of taking your child out of school without authorisation.

    Also we shouldn’t overlook that according to the Dept. of Edu. the majority of absences are from primary and not secondary schools.

  • James Ridgwell 23rd Oct '15 - 8:48pm

    this is still great publicity for us and Tim, despite the small spelling mistake! it clearly says Lib Dem leader under the name which is important

  • @Gareth Wilson
    “If my kid’s attendance is good why the hell should I get fined for taking them out of school for a few days to go on a family holiday and save thousands of pounds?”

    With two kids coming to the end of their schooling, I fully sympathise on the costs of holidays, but I don’t think giving every parent the green light to remove their children from school just to save money is the right solution. Staggered holidays would be much better. The RC primary my kids went to used to have a two-week spring half term, so the first week in June was always available for cheap holidays – this saved us a fortune over the years. That seems a much superior solution to me.

    Would you think it was “illiberal” to penalise parents for taking their kids out of school for, say, half the year so they could simply sit at home playing video games? I doubt it. Liberalism has little to do with this – we’d probably all want to draw a line somewhere, and the 38 or so weeks a year that children are obliged to be in school seems to me a perfectly reasonable place to draw it, so long as we could come up with some other way of helping parents who can’t afford expensive high season holidays.

  • Certainly, Richard Gadsden, you come up with a good solution to an issue which has reared its ugly head here, where there is an Academy which seems to have chosen to lengthen its summer holiday, causing all manner of problems for families with children both in primary and the secondary academy.

  • Tsar Nicholas 24th Oct '15 - 11:01am

    I agree with Tim, but isn’t our case fatally weakened by the fact that we had a minister at the department when this absurdity was first passed?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 25th Oct '15 - 8:22am

    Disappointed to see that there were attempts at humour in response to this that were racist. They have now been deleted. Also disappointed that nobody thought to tell us about them. We can’t see every comment posted. There aren’t enough hours in the day for that so if you do see something that does not fall within our comments policy, please tell us by emailing [email protected].

  • Suspect that nobody mentioned them till this morning, Caron, because most people who read them thought nothing of it 🙁

  • Weak opportunistic posturing on this issue by Farron. If parents want to take up the opportunity of state education for their kids, barring exceptional circumstances already provided for, they can’t just pick and choose days to their own convenience.

    I’m seriously thinking of not renewing my party membership when it comes up.

  • SIMON BANKS 25th Oct '15 - 4:39pm

    Parents saving money is not the only issue. Parents were prosecuted for taking their child out of school to attend a family funeral in the States. The system worked better when discretion was with the Head Teacher.

  • Of course the decision to allow a pupil “leave” should remain with the school and not a government law. Laws like this one show that becoming centrally controlled cannot consider circumstances, including age, ability, benefits and needs of the pupil. Another reason to vote Lib Dem and not Labour – as the latter believes in State control. The Conservatives were once Labour-Lite on control but that is also changing dramatically as the two larger parties slug it out to become more draconian than the other.

  • Tony Dawson 26th Oct '15 - 7:04pm

    That byline is a Road of Lubbish! 😉

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