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Holiday in Term time?

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Are parents taking children out of school for cheaper holidays?

We all know how expensive holidays can be during the school breaks, so it can be tempting to holiday in term time. While many parents are happy for their children to miss school, most of them don’t realise the fines that can be imposed.

According to a recent survey by Direct Line Travel Insurance, 55% of parents were happy for their children to miss school in order for them to save money on a holiday. In fact, two thirds of those that agreed with this, would do so for £500 or less and a staggering one in six would be happy to save just £50. Even those with children in important exam years would willingly take them out of school for a cheaper break; 48% of those with children studying for GSCEs and A’ levels would take a term time holiday

The Government provides schools with guidelines on when they should authorise a term time absence, but many parents don’t know what these are. 43% of survey respondents didn’t know what their school policy on fines was, however, with savings of around £1,000 possible on term time holidays, would fines be enough to prevent parents from taking them?

What Are The Financial Implications?

Many parents believe that they have a right to take their children out of school for a holiday and that head teachers will automatically grant up to 10 days absence. Neither of these is true and heads have to abide by strict guidelines when deciding whether or not to authorise an absence.

These guidelines cover exceptions for parents whose work means they can’t take holidays out of term and where the absence would cause little disruption to their education. It also allows for a family crisis, such as bereavement, where they need to spend time together.

If the holiday is not authorised then parents could be facing a £60 fine per parent per child. If this isn’t paid within 28 days it increases to £120. After a further 14 days the parents can be prosecuted.

holidays in term time

What’s wrong with Term Time Holidays?

Many studies have shown that there is a direct link between academic results and a consistent attendance at school, even in the lower years. Parents often use the very start or end of term as an excuse for getting a cheaper holiday. However, even these times are important in a child’s life.

At the start of a new term pupils learn about their topics for the next few weeks. If they miss an important section of work then it can be hard to catch up. The beginning of the new academic year is a time when teachers get to know their new class and conduct informal assessments to see what level they’re at.

Some might see the end of term as simply an opportunity for pupils to have fun, playing games and not really learning a great deal. However, activities at the end of term can be just as crucial for a child’s development. These often include sports day, the school play or an offsite trip, which can all encourage team work.

The financial savings of a term time holiday can be significant, but this needs to be considered alongside the educational value of having good attendance. However, with big savings to be had, a relatively small fine will probably not dissuade all parents.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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