*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.”
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.”
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.