Following on from my previous blog about seeking consent from another parent to take your children abroad, further issues face parents wishing to take their children on holiday during school term.
The local authority can impose fines for unauthorised holiday absence for 3 days or more if parents take children out of school to go on holiday.
The fine is imposed upon all with parental responsibility. If the fine is paid within 21 days it costs £60 per child. However, if not paid within 21 days, the fine doubles. If the fine is not paid, both parents can be prosecuted.
Of course, as with any rule there are exceptions. Head teachers have a certain amount of discretion, but any absence must be granted only if there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. If there is a family funeral or other ‘exceptional circumstance’, the absence can be authorised and the fines are not imposed. This would include visiting a terminally ill relative or having to deal with a serious trauma or crisis. However, even if a parent can only take holiday from work during school term, this is unlikely to mean they escape a fine.
The fines may not be seen by some as a deterrent. It is generally the case that a family holiday during term time is much cheaper than during the school holidays. So, many families may do the maths and conclude that a fine
of £60 per child is worth paying to save several hundred pounds for a holiday!