Term Time Holidays: Worth the Risk?

Recent research from Nationwide shows that a family can expect to pay an extra £1,347 for a vacation if they go away during the school holidays; no doubt explaining why more than one in three don’t bother waiting for term to end before jetting off to sunnier climates. But taking your kids out of school without permission can not only lead to hefty fines, but also community orders and even a jail sentence. So are term time holidays worth the risk? At Savoo we look at the facts.

Penalties of up to £2,500

To take your child out of school during term time you have to get permission from the head teacher, but official guidelines say that this should only be given during exceptional circumstances- and it’s up to the head teacher how many days of holiday are granted.

Fines for unpermitted absence start at £60, but rise after 21 days. If you don’t pay the fine within 28 days you may be prosecuted- leading to a penalty of up to £2,500, a community order, or a jail sentence of up to three months.

Think this wouldn’t happen to you? Think again! A couple who took their children on holiday to Australia for three weeks were recently handed criminal records and an £800 bill after they failed to pay their initial £240 fine.

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Price hikes of over £1,300

Penalties might be high, but according to Nationwide it can cost you just as much to wait for the school holidays to take the kids away.

Between the first week in July and the first week in August, the cost of a one week holiday in Spain for a family of four rose by £1,347. This increase applies to staycations too: the price of a holiday at Centre Parcs rose by a whopping £860 over the same month.

And it seems that families with less money are being hit hardest by the law. Private schools break up ahead of state schools, and according to Travel Zoo the cost of flights can increase by over 80% in this time alone. One trade unionist has even claimed that working-class families who cannot afford to take breaks during school holidays are actually being discriminated against.

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Weighing it up

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of holidaying during term time?

Pros

  • Save money on holiday costs
  • Easier for parents to take annual leave
  • Resorts will be quieter

Cons

  • Financial penalties
  • Risk of prosecution
  • Missing important lessons and homework

So what are your opinions on taking children on holiday during term time? Have you done it before? Did it save you money? Let us know!

Related links: Travel Vouchers

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