SHOULD schoolchildren be able to take holidays with their parents in term time, when holiday prices can be so much cheaper?

This had become a live issue, partly as a result of a court case.

I can see the arguments on both sides. The head would ave to give his or her consent, and arguably could use their discretion to approve, in suitable causes. Holidays can after all be educational.

There were at least two instances in my school years when holidays were taken in term time. The first was when, at the age of 10, I went to Dublin by boat and train with my parents.

I had taken the 11-plus exam earlier that year and passed by a comfortable margin. Looking back at the situation now, I feel my participation in that Irish holiday was justifiable, and it was approved of by the headmistress.

My sister, already at Penarth County School for Girls, stayed behind though.

A second instance occurred in my O-level year when I took about a week off in the autumn term to visit London with my parents.

It was my first visit to that city and was very educational. We saw the usual things, like St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and other things too. I was fascinated by the tube system. A further short visit was made to London the following year, just before the Coronation.

Notwithstanding the excitement and educational value, my school work must have suffered, and may be this autumn holiday could have been postponed – although it would have had the consent of the head.

The real solution would be to make holidays in designated periods more affordable for often squeezed parents.

Surely, failing this, schools could show some degree of flexibility in approving absences in term time.

Michael O'Neill

Railway Terrace