Would you risk going on holiday during school time because it’s cheaper, even though you get a fine?

Would you risk going on holiday during school time because it’s cheaper, even though you get a fine? 

We have investigated the percentage of how much the price goes up on holidays before half term, during half term and after half term, which has brought to light that many adults would rather pay the £60 fine to take their children out of school to get a cheaper holiday.  Center Parcs prices become £680 more expensive in the 2016 May half term, then it goes down by £450 once the school holidays are over.

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We have also discovered the exceptional circumstances to be able to take your children away from school during term time with authorisation, if the parents have a seasonal job (farming, fishing, holiday camps, if they can only get a certain time off work, etc…) and its said that you can also go away as long as it’s not a family holiday.  A lot of the exceptional circumstances are different but it depends on the rules of what’s allowed and what isn’t by the head teacher.  Schools have application form that can be given in advance to the head teacher so the holiday can be authorised if it’s an exceptional circumstance.

Here is an interview with a parent that has taken her children away on holiday during term time.

Why did you take your children on holiday?

Because their Nana was getting married and it was cheaper time to go away.

Do you think it effected their education?

No, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken them.

Was your holiday authorised?

Partly, only some of the days were authorised by the head teacher.

What was the authorisation process?

I spoke to the head teacher a year in advance, then closer to the time I handed in a holiday form.

Were you worried about the fines?

I wasn’t worried, I would have paid them.  Both my husband and I had unpaid time off work.

 

During this interview we realised that family holiday were important to build stronger relationships between the families, it could also teach the children life lessons and give them life long memories.

 

In 2014 head teachers in Cumbria took a soft approach to parents taking their children out of school in term time.  Cumbria is one of the only two authorities which had not yet given out any fines for unauthorised absences from school.  During an investigation into the popular issue, it was found that 34 councils across England had handed out 5,300 fines to parents in autumn.  New rules came out in 2013 given to head teachers to turn down requests for family holidays in school time.  The Department of Education (DoE) advised local education authorities that any absences should only be granted as long as they were an ‘exceptional circumstance’ such as bereavements or illness so it could help cut down on absences.  Fines which would be paid to Cumbria County Council start at £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if settled within 28 days.

MPs, who came up with these laws, can afford to go on holiday whenever they like so it doesn’t affect them, whereas some families find it easier to pay the fines because the holiday is cheaper.

Leah, Hannah and Ellie.