17 June 2016
Increased Fines For Parents Taking Children on Term-Time Holidays
The number of fines for parents who took their children out of school during term-time has increased by 55 per cent this year, following a Government crackdown.
In the 2013/2014 school year schools and councils collected approximately £2.8m from 47,157 fines and this has risen to £4.5m from 74,000 fines over the last school year.
The figures were revealed after all UK local education authorities were sent a freedom of information request last month.
Previously head teachers could give permission for children to be absent from school for a short period of time for things such as holidays, but now they can only allow children time off in exceptional circumstances.
Nick Gibb, schools minister, said: “The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chance of gaining good GCSEs which has a lasting effect on their life chances.
“Unauthorised absence during term time doesn't just have an impact on the child's education, but also on teachers and other children.
“While family holidays are enriching experiences, the school year is designed to give families the opportunity for these breaks without having to disrupt their children's education.”
The average fine for taking a child out of school to go on holiday is around £60, however, both parents can be charged this amount in some cases and the cost can double if you have two children or if you delay payment by three weeks or more.
Despite this cost, some parents still find it cheaper to go on a term-time holidays with their children because travel companies inflate the prices during peak times.
As a result, many families will plan to go on holiday during the school term and just factor the fines into their holiday budget.
Isle of Wight resident Jon Platt, 44, refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised holiday to Disney World Florida during term-time and recently won his case in court, meaning he didn’t have to pay the fee. He argued that the Isle of Wight Council failed to show that his child didn’t attend school regularly and pointed out that his daughter had an attendance record of over 90 per cent.
This has left many parents confused as to whether they can take their children out of school to go on holiday, or if they will be fined for doing so.