Brighton and Hove considering changes to school holiday dates

Brighton and Hove City Council is considering changing school holiday dates to give lower income families the chance to go on more affordable holidays.

The Council’s children, young people and skills committee are set to discuss the possibility of reducing the summer break by a week and introducing an extra holiday in the autumn term when travel prices drop.

Additionally, the committee will also consider the possibility of coordinating inset days into a long weekend or stand alone weeks break at another time in the year.

While head teachers used to have more freedom to grant pupil’s time off during term time, they are now required to take a much tougher stance on requests for authorised leave from parents. Parents now face fines of £60 if they take their children out of school during term time without the head teacher’s permission, which increases to £120 if not paid within 21 days and can result in prosecution and a possible prison sentence if left unpaid.

Committee chair Tom Bewick said: “If there is something we can do to offer lower-income families in particular the chance to take holidays that would otherwise be unaffordable then I think it’s worth exploring.

“Being able to take a cheap family holiday in March, for example, would make a huge difference to thousands of local people – including of course our teachers.

“I often hear people saying the six-week summer holiday is too long and also that the autumn term is too long. Creating an extra week’s holiday in October or November, for example, might be a way of addressing both these issues.”