Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, today (Tuesday) proposed that Irish schools stagger their mid-term breaks, matching the German system of breaking up standard school breaks on a regional basis.
“I am proposing that schools stagger their mid-term breaks as a solution for hard pressed families looking to take a holiday. We really need to put a stop to the current inflation of holiday prices during mid-term breaks. The financial pressure on families can lead to some parents taking their children out of school for a few days in order to avoid the higher prices – with a recent UK survey conducted for ITV news showing that 51% of parents would consider taking their children out of school if it meant a significantly cheaper holiday.
“Many hardworking Irish parents – who want to get away for some quality family time during half term – are caught in the trap of having to fork out up to €700 or approximately 40% extra, on average, during the mid-term break. Some evidence even suggests the cost of holidays during the mid-term can rise by as much as 300% in response to increased demand. This is clearly far too much, and something that could be avoided with a smarter system of staggered mid-term breaks.
“While it is good to have standardised school breaks – which make it much easier on families with more than one child at school – a region-based system would preserve the benefits of standardised school holidays while also allowing for parents to not suffer the worst side effects of national demand far outstripping supply when it comes to holidays. It seems like a common-sense approach to the problem, and I’m unsurprised to note that a similar system is in place in Germany.
“While the UK are considering scrapping air passenger duty during the period of school holidays, this would be impossible here and would also be – in effect – a state subsidy for mid-term breaks, which wouldn’t make economic sense. Instead, the system of staggering mid-term breaks might just be the solution that hard-pressed parents need as they look towards their annual getaway”.