Is taking children out of school for a cheaper holiday worth the fine, asks Raw Labels

Is taking children out of school for a cheaper holiday worth the fine, asks Raw Labels

With more and more media attention being turned on parents who have chosen to take their children on holiday during term time, manufacturer of iron-on clothing labels and ID wristbands Raw Labels is asking if the money saved on cheaper holidays is really worth it.

With the number of fines almost doubling in 2019 after more and more parents decide to take their child or children out of school to enjoy a family holiday, the Department for Education has revealed that 222,904 fines were issued for unauthorised holidays in the 2017/18 school year, up by about 107,000 on 2016/17 figures and has further increased this year although year-end statistics are not yet available.

The fine for an unauthorised absence currently stands at £60 per child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days and the risk of being taken to court after this period.

However, it is not the school itself that levies this fine on the parents, and it is the Learning and Education Authority (LEA) that provides penalty notices for such absences. Many of these fines have been ignored by parents who feel that it is their right to remove their children from school should they wish with the main reason behind unauthorised absences being the lower cost of family holidays outside of term time.

Schools do have the ability to grant time off to children in exceptional circumstances, but state that a cheaper holiday is not one of the reasons that they allow. Instead, this leave is granted in the cases of family bereavement, religious reasons and illness.

If parents are planning on taking their child out of school during term time, not only need to consider the financial implications of the fines per child, but also the amount of learning and development they will miss during their absence.

Taking a child away from their education and lead to gaps in understanding in key subjects, leaving them to fall further and further behind when they finally return to school.

Raw Labels sympathises with the plight of parents having to dig deeper than ever to afford the annual family holiday, but believes that it is the holiday companies and tour operators that should be held to account and forced to offer more affordable holiday options to families outside of term time instead of putting pressure of schools and educators.

Only then will parents be in a position to afford a family holiday, avoid fines from the LEA and continue with their child’s education.

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