Cancer patient petitions for term time holidays

Father-of-two David Hedley has launched a parliamentary e-petition to stop penalties for parents taking children on holiday outside of term-time and instead to re-introduce the term-time holiday allowance scrapped in 2013.

Mr Hedley and his wife wanted to take their two children on a much needed family holiday but due to his cancer treatment the only time they could safely go away together was during term-time. So the Hedley family went on holiday in-between cancer treatments only to return to fines for having taken their children out of  school.  

His petition reads: “Myself and my wife received a fine for our two eldest children (two fines each parent) for taking our children on holiday for five days in term time which was the only week free from surgery and radiotherapy (school knew of cancer diagnosis). This apparently is not an exceptional circumstance.”

The government responded by releasing this statement on their website: “Every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chance of gaining good GCSEs. The government is committed to reducing all school absence unless there are unavoidable reasons.”

Whilst this is clearly an important issue, Mr Hedley and his family feel that in some cases exceptions should be made. His petition was signed by over 200,000 people, more than double the number needed to trigger a parliamentary debate and is being discussed at Westminster this week. It is hoped the £60 fine per parent for taking a child on holiday will be scrapped and that term-time holiday allowances will be re-instated.

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Photo credit: -Jeffrey- via / CC BY-ND

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