Parents face fines for term-time holidays

14 May 2009

Parents are prepared to face fines for taking their children out of school to go on holiday because of the crippling cost of summer breaks outside of term time.

An online survey found that 31% of parents would allow their children to miss school to go on holiday, with those living in the North East the most likely to brave teachers’ disapproval.

Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995, schools have the discretion to grant leave of absence for up to 10 days per school year for such breaks during term time.

However, this must be applied for well in advance and the decision to authorise absence for holidays rests entirely with the school. In 2004, the government introduced fines of up to £100 to deter parents from taking their offspring out of the classroom during term time without permission.

However, one-in-five parents taking part in the survey with said this wouldn’t put them off taking a holiday outside of half-term, Easter or the summer and Christmas breaks.

Prior to these fines being introduced, only 18% of parents would be prepared to let their children miss school for the sake of a holiday. The rising cost of taking a break during the school holidays could be one reason for the rise.

According to Abbey, foreign holiday packages cost an average of 25% more in mid-August compared to mid-July. This rises to 40% for countries such as Portugal, but even UK resorts can increase in cost by an average of 39%.

As a result, 31% of parents taking part in’s survey said they would take their children out of school to avoid the expense of the peak season.

“At the moment, every penny counts, and the potential savings families can make by nipping off on holiday a few days before the end of term is too much of a temptation for many parents,” says Bob Atkinson, travel expert at

For people without families, this seasonal price hike is another reason to take a break outside of the school holidays. Abbey reports that, once school starts back in September, prices for holidays abroad drop by an average of 32% while UK breaks fall by more than 50%. 

Callum Gibson, head of credit cards at Abbey, says: “The unfortunate reality is that families pay a high premium for taking their summer holiday during the school holidays, with Britons who are holidaying abroad paying up to 40% more for the same holiday package in mid-August compared to mid-July.”


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