Parents to be Fined for Term-time Holidays
The cost of a family holiday in term time is significantly lower than the same holiday taken in the school holidays. This difference in price often means parents take their children out of school for a summer holiday - a move frowned upon by schools and the Government.
In a move to end term-time holidays, the Government last year announced that it would enforce a penalty notice on parents who took their children out of school during term time without permission.
Prior to the announcement, a parent could take their children out of school for up to 10 days for a family holiday.
There’s lots of confusion about the new laws, even though the rulings have been in place since September 2013.
Each school across the country has published its own interpretation of the new law, which should be available either upon request or on the school’s website.
As a guide, each parent, should they take their child out of school without permission, or if permission was denied, will be fined £60 - that's per parent, per child, so £120 per child. For a family of four, two parents with two children, this equates to a fine of £240.
Parents have 21 days in which to pay the fine. If the fine is not been paid within this time frame, the total amount doubles, so a family of four’s fine would increase to £480 – this must be paid within 7 days or the parents will be issued with a court summons.
The only time permission will be granted for an absence in school time is under exceptional circumstances. There is no definition of what constitutes an exceptional circumstance, although, not being able to afford a holiday during school holidays does not constitute an exception.
If permission is granted, the Head Teacher will decide on the number of days that can be taken, and the return date. If the child is not back in school on this agreed date then a fine will be issued.
If you are given a penalty notice there is no appeals process. This means you are legally obliged to pay the fine, which, if left unpaid, will result in a court summons, with a fine of up to £1,000 and a possible prison sentence of 3 months for each parent.