Plane travel during term time sucks children’s brains out, warns ghost of Michael Gove

Photo courtesy of The Independent

Photo of Michael Gove’s ghost courtesy of The Independent

*Warning: may contain traces of satire and/or sarcasm*

The omnipresent spectre of sacked Education Secretary, Michael Gove, continues to save children from hemorrhaging intellect as soon as they step foot on an aeroplane during term time.

Speaking from his luxury villa in Tuscany, Mr Gove says: “Rumours of a policy reversal by my replacement Nicky Morgan are completely unfounded. Recent government research has shown that 100% of 4 to 16 year olds from government schools who take a family holiday during term time will fail their GCSEs. And our government watchdog – the Aeronautical Resistant Safety Executive – has said those bloody brain-sucking aeroplane engines are to blame.”

Mother of two, Mrs Bea Wrighton from Brighton, said their family of four had booked a week’s educational holiday to Rome, but cancelled it after hearing Mr Gove’s grave warnings about aeroplane travel, deciding to stay home with microwave popcorn and a copy of Carry On Cleo instead. “I’m so glad the Tories made me aware of my dreadful term time holiday mistake before it was too late. It also meant my son Henry didn’t miss out on his highly educational nativity play – he absolutely loved doing exactly the same as he did last year, again… for the third year running. There’s nothing more cerebral than a dribbling 6 year old in a homemade donkey outfit.”

When asked if their policy of fining families who take unauthorised leave during term time £60 per child, per parent was just another parking-penalty-like money spinner, Behaviour and Attendance Officer at Brighton and Hove Council, Mr Robin Cash, said: “No, we have parking penalties for that.”

Travel is education

Travel is education

Mother of three from Manchester, Ms Holly Day, who took her family to Turkey in term time says she now regrets her actions: “I really wish I’d waited until the school holidays now – the sun loungers around the pool were way too empty; I didn’t get a chance to bribe any staff members to thwart those pesky Germans with their beach towels. And even though I saved over £1,500, a half price holiday really wasn’t worth it when we arrived home to an £180 fine. No amount of learning about different history, culture, currencies, languages, foods, flags and religions will get that money back. God damn those Lycian tombs.”

When asked how the new rules, which were introduced in September 2013, have affected their holiday options, Mr Hugh Bill, a parent at Mr Gove’s £12,000 a year boyhood school in Aberdeen, Robert Gordon’s College, replied: “What new rules?”

His wife, Ms Megan Bacon, said: “Our son Gideon’s school breaks up early every holidays, so we always get the best bargain on our annual summer holiday to St Kitts. At private school, you end up paying more money for less time in the classroom, but by jingo it’s worth it for the cheap flights.”

The head of travel company Supply and Demand Holidays, Ms Ruth Less waded into the argument yesterday: “Spending quality time together as a family during term time is just plain uncalled for – there are perfectly good holiday periods for that. It’s as if parents think they know what’s best for their own children or something.”

Photo of Nicky Morgan courtesy of Inside Croydon

Photo of Nicky Morgan courtesy of

New Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has praised the success of the new scheme, saying truancy levels have decreased by 30% since its inception: “We’re really showing those parents just what we think of their irresponsible attitudes to education. It’s just a shame students have been so poorly this year, as sickness figures have risen by 30% – it must be the high pollen count.”

Mr Will Iterate, whose son had a 45% attendance record prior to the introduction of the new rules, says they’ve made the world of difference to his son’s prospects: “I must say a huge thank you to Michael Gove. My son doesn’t like school, and we were considering flying our family of seven to Spain for a week just so he didn’t have to go, but we couldn’t afford to pay the fine. So now when he asks to stay home from school, I just put the ITV show Benidorm on for him in between episodes of Jeremy Kyle.”

Oxford graduate, 23 year old Ms Stella Scholar, said her family’s frivolous attitudes during her childhood hugely damaged her employment prospects: “My parents actively encouraged me to attend school the rest of the year, and even read stories to me every night before bed, but that one week of hardcore truancy to Corfu every year really broke me bad.”

Critics of the government’s scheme have sent both Mr Gove and Ms Morgan dictionaries in the post with Post-It Notes stuck next to ‘T’ for Truancy, accusing them of “barking up the wrong tree”. In other news, reports of the government’s latest attempt to win the War On Drugs by arresting poppy-selling florists has proved unfounded.

If you want to see a reversal of the changes to term time family holiday rules, please sign this petition

Please also visit the FHR Travel Services ‘Travel is Education’ campaign.


21 thoughts on “Plane travel during term time sucks children’s brains out, warns ghost of Michael Gove

    • Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed reading it – be sure to share with others who you think might enjoy it too. Here’s to an end to this ridiculous policy!

    • Ha ha – thanks Cathy. The absolute irony is that I was taken out of school for 3 months at a time by my parents every 2 years or so to travel somewhere exotic (Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, India, Sikkim, Indonesia). Not only did I not flunk school, but I did much better because of it. It really annoys me that the government won’t even acknowledge that you might actually learn more NOT at school. I certainly did. Travel is not truancy. They are completely different kettles of fish. And nor are all parents the same. You can’t tar everyone with the same brush… although the government seems to think you can.

  1. Hi Maddie,

    I love this, it’s very funny. You could write for the Daily Mail with all that credible research you did, just like Mrs Gove does 🙂

    Great post.

    • Thanks Denise! Oh yeah, Mrs Gove. I’d almost forgotten about her and that now infamous hospital visit. Think I’d rather write for the Daily Mash actually. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you’re well. xoxo

  2. I think I, too, will cancel future plane journeys because I am slightly concerned about the aeroplane engine sucking my brain… I have visions now of everyone wearing tin foil around their heads! I’m speechless… That is just bloody brilliant. I don’t think I’ve laughed this much all week. When you get to the bare bones of this ridiculous policy you have to just laugh at the sheer stupidity… This one glove fits all system needs to be scrapped… and soon!

    • Totally agree. It needs to go now. I applied for two weeks of leave for my 5 year old son at Xmas time last year so we could go to Australia to see my dad who has cancer. The school asked the Local Authority if they could authorise it, but the Local Authority said no. The school were great and put pressure on the Local Authority so we didn’t get fined… but it was still unauthorised leave and has gone down on his record as such. I’m pretty sure there are only two things they’ll authorise… one is if your parents are in the military & have leave, and the other is death. Utterly ridiculous.

  3. Pingback: Maddie Sinclair :Plane Travel During Term Time Sucks Children's Brains Out … | ExposeLocal

  4. Well done Maddy, this is great. The policy is ridiculous and unnecessary – head teachers should be able to give permission for term time holidays, just as they used to with no problem at all. We used to get permission to take our kids out of school every year for a week or two and they’re doing just fine.

    • Thanks Gretta! Exactly. It’s usually the super encouraging parents who want to take their kids away for a travel experience… not the ones who really don’t care if their child rocks up to school each day or not. Truancy and travel are completely separate. The government has it completely wrong. I wonder what the Local Authorities are going to do with all this free money from the fines?

  5. … and another thing : UK sunshine only happens during term time Us parents want to top up the tans when we return from our 1 week overpriced mid July break to Benidorm Maybe its time we started fining the ruddy weather men too

  6. Ha! I can’t believe the comments he made lol I agree though, children learn so much being away with family – especially those last weeks of school they aren’t missing a thing! #babybrainmonday x

  7. Brilliant – you certainly have a way with words 🙂 Monkey always seems to come on leaps and bounds when he has our attention solidly for 2 weeks (he’s only 3) without any normal day to day distractions. I suspect we will be racking up fines in a couple of years! #babybrainmondays

  8. Lol! Such a funny post – I totally agree with the message. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I understand if people take the piss but to take out a week or two a year isn’t going to be detrimental to a child’s education!! I’m dreading Arjun starting school and having to go during school holidays – rip off and complete chaos! Thanks for linking up to #babybrainmonday x

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