There's something of a debate raging in the United Kingdom right now and it's one that doesn't appear to be dying down any time soon. That debate is around school holidays and the extortionate prices that parents are forced to shell out if they want to go away during the school holidays. This price hike during the school holidays pretty simply comes down to travel agents hiking up their prices when they know they can and capitalising on fixed term dates.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a staunch believer in capitalism and I believe that a business should be able to capitalise on a situation. However, there's one key issue here and that's that many parents are turning to taking their children out of school during term time in order to curb the high prices of the school holidays. In fact, the government's decision to serve those parents with a fixed fine when they take their children out of school doesn't appear to have made much of a difference. That's no surprise really when you consider that paying said fine actually works out cheaper than paying the extra cost of travelling during the school holidays.
With all of the above taken into consideration, I believe it's now time for the government to make a proper intervention into this debate.
You might remember MPs debating the issue in parliament nearly a couple of years ago now, however that largely appears to have fallen through. In fact, the issue appears to have largely fallen silent in politics until earlier this month, when Brighton and Hove City Council revealed plans to alter holiday dates in order to allow parents to avoid the high prices of travelling during the school holidays, whilst also making sure that children don't mist vital hours of schooling.
The plans would see the council cut out the large summer break and instead create a series of standalone week breaks. This could mean that parents are able to take advantage of cheaper holidays that are technically still inside term time, as far as the holiday providers are concerned that is. This staggering of term dates is one of the many options that the government could look into rolling out nationwide. Either way, I think it's definitely time for the government to make a well-needed intervention into this debate.
You can hardly blame travel agents for capitalising on a situation where they have the opportunity. Likewise, you can't blame parents for taking the decision to take their children out of school during term time and bag a cheaper holiday in the process, even if that is at the sake of their children's education. Either way, it's pretty clear that a solution needs to be found soon and I think the government should play some form of role in coming to that solution.
On the other hand, some would say that the solution is pretty simple. It's to not take your children abroad for an expensive holiday in the sun. However, I firmly believe that a good holiday at the end of a difficult year can only be a good thing for children, where it can be provided. At the same time, such a holiday can provide a number of health benefits and educational value for children, depending on the location of that holiday, of course.
In conclusion, this is a debate with a large number of sides and one that I can see raging on for a good while to come yet. However, I now firmly believe that the issue should be taken to parliament where a permanent solution can be found. Although, said solution is always going to come at the compromise of one side.