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Thinking of Vacationing During Term Time? Read This First

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Thinking of Vacationing During Term Time? Read This First

Amidst the perpetual winter prevailing in the UK, you may feel enticed to plan a family trip to sunnier destinations. However, if your kids are currently enrolled in school, can you embark on a holiday during the academic session? Thus far, the regulations have been somewhat lenient, with regional authorities having the discretion to penalize parents, or not. Nevertheless, starting from August 2024, a fresh national protocol is being introduced by the government, mandating all regional authorities to contemplate penalizing parents for vacationing during term time, with the fines escalating.

What amount would I be penalized for withdrawing my child from school?

So, what implications does this hold for you? Presently, the penalty stands at £60 per parent, per child, escalating to £120 if not settled within 21 days. The Department for Education (DfE) has now raised this in accordance with inflation. Consequently, if your child is absent from school for more than five days without the requisite authorization, you run the risk of incurring a penalty of £80 within 21 days, or £160 within 28 days.

The penalties per parent are capped at two fines within a span of three years. Beyond this threshold, the Department for Education stipulates that ‘alternative actions like a parenting order or prosecution will be contemplated’, potentially resulting in a penalty of up to £2,500.

What is the reason behind the escalating fines for school absences?

This alteration comes in the wake of a surge in the number of fines being dispatched for unauthorized absences post-pandemic, with a record-breaking 400,000 penalty notices being issued in England during the 2022-23 academic year. As per data from the Department for Education, nearly 90% of these penalties were associated with vacations during term time.

Is it permissible to take my children on a vacation during the academic session?

Given the surge in fines for exceeding a five-day school absence, you might ponder if it’s worth the risk to take your children out of school. Undoubtedly, children have encountered substantial challenges over the past few years, and education underwent impediments during the pandemic. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan remarked, “our outstanding schools and teachers stimulate children’s creativity, potential, and interpersonal abilities”.

Do vacations contribute to education?

However, certain parents are advocating on social platforms that enriching life experiences such as holidays and voyages can yield similar benefits, acquainting children with diverse nations, cultures, and individuals. Furthermore, with the ongoing cost of living crisis and the substantial spike in flight and accommodation expenses during summer breaks and mid-term holidays, embarking on vacations during school breaks can potentially become unfeasible. In light of these more stringent guidelines, it’s not surprising that numerous parents are opting to homeschool their children, providing them the opportunity to organize budget-friendly international trips during term times.

Nevertheless, to counteract the decline in school attendance since 2018/2019, the government is implementing a range of initiatives to encourage higher regularity in children’s school attendance.

What happens if my child is absent from school for different reasons?

It’s crucial to acknowledge that, although the majority of school absences are due to vacations, there are numerous children who encounter other obstacles preventing them from attending school. These challenges could stem from sickness, special educational requirements, or disabilities (SEND) which could lead to school-related anxiety. In such circumstances, it is imperative for schools, local authorities, and other support services to collaborate in assisting the child to facilitate their school attendance effectively.

Under what circumstances can you remove a child from school?

With the implementation of new school penalties scheduled for August 2024, just in time for the 2024-2025 academic year, you may be curious about the permissible instances for removing a child from school. According to information on the UK Government website, a child may be absent due to illness or if prior consent has been obtained from the school. Additionally, there may be more intricate reasons why a child is unable to attend school regularly, and it is advisable to engage with the school, educators, and relevant authorities to determine the most suitable solution for the child and their family.

Rebecca Lancaster serves as a Digital Writer for Mother&Baby, leveraging a decade of parenting experience with her two kids to aid others on their parenting voyage. With a writing background encompassing ten years of collaboration with prominent lifestyle brands, ranging from travel enterprises to culinary ventures, Rebecca has covered a broad spectrum from hotel evaluations to crafting guides for elite British cheeses. Her focus lies particularly on exploring new destinations and cultures with her children, albeit encountering minor obstacles in introducing them to diverse cuisines.

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