Talks could be held over idea of revising school timetable to favour families booking holidays

Joanne Williams with children Cole and Celyck Cleugh - she was fined �60 for taking Celyck out of Highbury Primary School in term- time
Joanne Williams with children Cole and Celyck Cleugh - she was fined �60 for taking Celyck out of Highbury Primary School in term- time
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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TALKS could be held with school leaders in the region to see if they would favour a shake-up of term timetables so families can book cheaper holidays.

The news comes as Brighton and Hove City Council explores the possibility of breaking up the six-week summer break and offering a week earlier in the year so parents can avoid premium prices when booking to go away.

We appreciate holiday companies put up their prices during the summer holidays, and it’s a huge financial burden to face when you are trying to plan a holiday.

Portsmouth Tory education boss Neill Young

Portsmouth Tory education boss Neill Young said there would need to be a joined-up approach given the surge in schools becoming academies.

A quarter of all schools in Portsmouth are now academies, with six out of 10 now no longer under the direct control of the council.

Cllr Young said: ‘From my understanding, Brighton has a lot fewer academies than what we have here in Portsmouth. We could explore this. The challenge we have got with a proposal like this is we have got a number of parents with children in different schools. You may have children in infant and junior schools, as well as in state and academy-run schools, so we would need to ensure they all married up.

‘Unless all of the schools across the city changed their term times, it would be counter-productive for the parents.

‘I would be willing to have a conversation and we would need to ensure headteachers are keen.’

As previously reported in The News, the number of fines given to parents for taking their children on holiday during term-time has almost trebled in two years.

Cllr Young said: ‘We appreciate holiday companies put up their prices during the summer holidays and it’s a huge financial burden to face when trying to plan a holiday.’

But Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward, who sits on the executive of Hampshire County Council, said changes would cause ‘confusion’.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘There are many different flavours of school now, not just academy and county, but private. They all run very similar term structures, so I think it would lead to a great deal of confusion.’