Term-Time Holidays

Term-Tme-holidaysQuestion: How much can parents be fined I they take their children on holiday during term time?

Answer: A massive £2,500 – They can also face a community order or even 3 months in prison.

In 2013, the government introduced strict new rules and policies on parents being able to take their children out of school for holidays. Now, two years on, the rules have come under much scrutiny once again.

Recently a man named Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, had his particular case thrown out of court because he refused to pay the fine of £120 he had received for taking his daughter to Florida back in April. However his absence request was rejected by the school, although she did have a 93.8% attendance the previous year.

He argued that education authorities can’t tell him what is right for his kids and only he himself knows what is right for them. – Which is a fair point!

He also insisted that his daughter’s education didn’t suffer from a one week’s holiday.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association found that 86,010 fines had been handed out by 98 councils in 2014-15 for pupil absences, for either holidays or truancy. The figure had risen from 62,204 in 2013-14 and 32,512 in 2012-13.

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, said that taking children out at term-time for holidays can affect the education of other students and disrupt the planning for teachers. He also said “Our data shows that just a week off per year leading up to the GCSE courses can reduce the chances of that child getting good GCSEs by about a quarter.”

Craig Langman, who founded the organisation “Parents Want A Say” who campaign for the laws to be changed, said “only 7% is down to term-time holidays. So it’s a massive sledgehammer to crack a nut.” – He also pointed out that the remaining 93% of all schools absences are down to truancy.

He then went onto say “At the end of the day, take the law back to what it was in 2013, when head teachers had the discretion of up to ten days on a case by case basis.”

In my personal opinion, I believe the government need to change the laws, even if it is a few minor changes. It seems to me the government and educational authorities don’t understand that it can be cheaper for families to take holidays during certain times of the year. I also think that, in similar cases to Mr Platt from the Isle of Wight, that authorities shouldn’t be so quick to hand out fines and prosecutions. After all, his daughter is only six-years-old.

If you’d like to know more, then you’ll find answers to your education questions in the Education Quizzes Knowledge Bank. The consequences of term-time holidays is just one of the topics covered in our library of articles aimed at finding answers to the questions asked by parents. As well as covering all aspects of education, from the Early Years Foundation Stage all the way up to university, it also has tonnes of information and advice on parenting issues, such as promoting self-confidence in children and protection from online dangers.

So, what do you think? Are the rules fair enough as they are or do they need changing to give parents more of a chance if taken to court? Would you risk the possible fines or prison sentences to take your children on holiday?

One thought on “Term-Time Holidays

  1. Surely this is a typical example of one size DOESN’T fit all. I agree with Mr. Langman when he says that head teachers are in the best position to decide when a penalty needs to be levied. There’s a world of difference between uncaring parents who take their children out of school on a whim and the ones who demonstrate a genuine commitment to education but simply can’t afford the cost of a holiday unless they book it in term time.

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