We’re all going on a short summer holiday

A recent announcement has revealed that schools in England are now able to set their own term dates and summer holidays.

Academies and free schools have the power to determine their own term dates and many across England are already taking advantage of this change.

The Department of Education have also revealed that this change would soon be extended to council-run schools.

Some schools in the Hertfordshire area have already decided on the structure of their timetable for the next academic year and some have stuck to a more traditional schedule.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “Hertfordshire’s recommended school term dates are based on proposals from a working party of representatives from both primary and secondary head teacher associations, working to a set of agreed principles.”

These agreed term dates for this academic year were published in January 2013 and can be found on the County Council’s website.

“While there was support for this model from the secondary sector at the time, we are aware that some schools subsequently chose to set dates which did not align with Hertfordshire’s dates,” the County Council said.

“It has always been acknowledged that academy schools are not required to follow the county council’s model and will ultimately make their own decisions regarding their term dates.

“Indeed, it is possibly that in the future there may be greater variety of term dates, and even term structures, as individual schools look at innovative ways of teaching and raising standards.”

Despite being given advice on how their academic year should look by the County Council, schools and academies now have full control.

By reducing the summer holiday time, parents are able to take their children abroad at cheaper prices but could still face fines if a child is taken out of school in term time.

Currently permission is needed for an adult to take their child out of school during term time and with consent from the head teacher if this is not granted, parents could risk paying a fine.

Parents could face up to £60 in fines and if they do not pay it within 21 days it increases to £120.

Prosecution fines can equal up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to three months with a Parenting Order.

The new decision was welcomed by the government who advised head teachers to think about local businesses if they plan to change term dates.

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