School Penalty Fines and Authorised Absence — [Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:33 pm on 11th July 2016.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip 5:33 pm, 11th July 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have all been in such circumstances, so perhaps the Government should review how much holidays cost in and out of term time and see whether anything can be done to average prices out across the year. In Scotland, we have struggled for many years with higher holiday and flight costs than England, even to the United States. It costs much more to fly to Miami from Glasgow than it does from London, yet Glasgow is much closer to Miami than London. It is an ongoing issue.

The UK Government should not leave cost increases to the market, but should look at the problem in much more depth. We should remember that although attendance is important, so is understanding why parents lie and are prepared to pay fines to secure holidays at a more reasonable cost or to go on holiday at a time that suits their circumstances. I hope the Minister will take on board what Members from all parts of the House have said and look again at what has been described as a blanket ban across England that reduces the role of teachers, who understand the students under their care.