Parents concerned family holidays are no longer a legitimate reason for kids to be absent from school

EDUCATION Minister Jeremy Rockliff has moved to reassure parents that changes to the Education Act, which came into effect this month, are not designed to penalise parents who take their children on a family holiday during term time.

But Mr Rockliff said he encouraged families and carers to plan their breaks during school holidays.

His comments came after the Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations said parents were concerned family holidays would no longer be considered a legitimate reason for children to be away from school.

“We all know it’s really important that our children are in school,” the association’s vice president Lisa Gillard said today.

“But, as parents, depending on our work and life commitments, not everyone can take holidays through school holidays.”

Ms Gillard also said there was no provision for children who were carers for their parents or younger siblings.

Under the new act, students will only be excused from attending school if they are sick or have a temporary physical or mental incapacity.

“This is all about reducing what has been a long-term issue in this state — absenteeism. This is not about penalising parents who take their children on a family holiday,” Mr Rockliff said.

“The new Education Act 2016 makes sure students get the most out of their schooling.

“That is why we strongly encourage families and carers to plan family holidays in the three months out of school term.”

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