Letter: Parents shouldn’t be penalised if the trip is educational

Readers' letters | Published:

Copy of a letter to The Education Department, Shropshire Council.

Pompei. Photo by Betsy Ogles from Pixabay

I noted the headline in the Shropshire Star on February 10 concerning the amount of fines having to be imposed on parents taking their children out of school during term time, and the fact that it was rising each year.

While it is well known that holidays taken out of term time are more expensive, and consequently many parents are willing to take the risk of taking their children out of school in term time and balancing the likely fines against the saving in the holiday cost. Certainly if the object of the holiday is simply to lie on a beach somewhere thus disadvantaging their children’s education, I think the fines may be justifiable.

However, it has occurred to me that there might be a way out of this situation if the parents were willing to take their children on holidays where the children could actually learn something first hand which could be a considerable aid to their education, places where history has been made, and provided the children could afterwards record what they had learnt during their trip, perhaps the fines could be avoided. Of course they would have to inform you and their school of their intention.

Nowadays there are plenty of excellent firms offering trips to places like Pompei, Rome, Knossos in Crete, Mycenae in Greece, Pyramids in Egypt, the battlefields of Europe, Waterloo, together with their museums, and so on, with guided tours. Afterwards, the children would have to write an essay to prove that they had actually been there and learnt something.

Nearly 70 years ago when I was only 15 years old I went on a trip to Venice and Rome, admittedly, it was quite legal and organised by my school, but seeing St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Coliseum at Rome was a marvellous educational experience, most moments remaining in my memory ever since. Surely there should be no need to fine parents for taking their children on truly memorable educational tours like that?

David Adams, Newport

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