The Parents' Union

The Parents' Union has been created to be on the side of parents against arbitrary and unevidenced prosecutions by Local Authorities and the Government and to fight for the voice of parents to be heard in the formation and implementation of education policy.

Our current focus is on the campaign to reverse the term time holiday regulations, to give back to Headteachers the discretion they had prior to Sept 2013 to allow up to 10 days absence per year. We do not believe the current regulations to be lawful.

The Legal Situation

The Parents' Union understands that under s3 of the UK's Human Rights Act 1998, public bodies must take into account their obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Schools and local authorities are public bodies.

Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) states "No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions."

Article 8 covers the rights to respect for private and family life and lays down the limited circumstances in which the State may interfere with it. 

Article 14 of ECHR requires that people are not discriminated against.  This includes the failure to take into account disabilities.  

We believe these mean that in coming to any decision regarding absence from school, the school must take into account the individual circumstances of the child and the family and its obligations under the provisions outlined above.

There is as yet no legal proof that this is the case.  To get this proof, a case needs to be tested in the courts through the process of "Judicial Review".

If you believe you have a strong case which we could help you with, please get in touch. The Judicial Review process must be started within 3 months of the school's decision to refuse the absence but we can also working with families who are outside this time limit.

We cannot suggest that you initiate a Judicial Review action on your own as court proceedings may be complex and costly for you and the school. However, your school may be unaware of their obligations as outlined above and you may wish to draw their attention to this page.

Equally if you have been taken to court and have had your case thrown out, please get in touch with details.

Who are we?

The Parents Union has been set up by John Hemming and Karen Wilkinson, previously of campaign group Parents Want A Say. Some examples of parents we supported during our time on that campaign can be found here:

Thank you for your support. 

To be kept in touch please click here 

There is also a facebook group here

There is also a twitter account here:


The only published research as to the impact of authorised family holidays on Key Stage 2 is the following.  Here is the evidence that the government ignore. 

2011 research chart 44

How to challenge a refusal:

United States of America - There is a parents Union in the USA.  That is not related to the The Parents Union in England.  (is the one in America) 

The Parents Union Ltd is a company registered in England company number 09766754. The registered office is 78, Alcester Road, Birmingham B13 8BB.  It is registered under the data protection act reference: ZA139112



Noah Myers was fined for taking his son out of school for a couple of days to support a cousin participating in an international sporting event. He took his other son out of a different school at the same time, that school wouldn't authorise the absence either but didn't fine...