Tuesday, 13 January 2015

School Fines And The Obnoxious Holiday Increases In The School Holidays

When the older kids were little, I used to have to take them out of school to take them on holiday as it was cheaper than taking them on holiday when it was half term. We made the most of Sun holidays and £5 Travelodge special offer rooms. We ere allowed to take the kids out of school for two weeks a year as long as it wasn't exam time, and aslong as they only stuck to 2 weeks a year. When we had these rules, nobody abused the system and nobody 'lied' saying their child was sick when secretly they are on a weeks holiday somewhere.

Dozens of parents have been convicted by magistrates' courts after refusing to pay penalty charges of £60 per child, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days. But if a parent could afford to pay the fine in the first place, they could probably afford to pay to take their child on holiday in the school break! Quite often when you look at it another way, sometimes if your taking a long haul holiday somewhere, it is still cheaper to pay the fines than go in the school break!

Here we have a UK based holiday firm with the prices of a week before the summer holiday and the prices for the week that the summer holiday starts, I used these as a comparison to show you how different a week can make on your holiday choice, a week before the summer holidays and a week in the summer holidays ...... a bit of a difference and as the summer gets hotter, the prices get more expensive. Those few Pounds make a difference for a family on a budget.

Another example of huge price increases is the holiday below. Both to the same hotel and a week apart, the holiday before the school breaks up is £315 per person and the holiday in the school break is a massive increase of £504 per person costing a huge £855 more for a weeks difference! In this it is definitely worth going on holiday in the school week.

There are many petitions flying around social media asking for the school fine to be dropped and instead allowing parents to take their children out of school in the term time and when you see the difference in prices you can understand why they want to do this.
The reason I write this blog post is because I recently was offered a week in a holiday park to review, but all the dates are term time, So as Miss Tilly is still officially 4 years old, I took a look at the Education Act 1996 to see what my rights were as a parent taking my child out of school. As Miss Tilly is still only 4, she doesn't officially have to be in school and I used that loophole to secure the week off school. I have been given full approval as her attendance is so good, So I would advise all parents look at the Education Act and see if this affects your choice too.
I do feel very strongly about the school fines and I personally feel that the government need to do more to bring down the costs of holidays in the school break, So I leave it with you Mr Cameron to look into the situation with a serious heart and think about families on a budget that cant afford to go on holidays in the school break, yet also cant afford to go on holiday in the term time for fear of the threat of a fine. This means parents on a budget cant afford to offer their children a holiday, and they are deprived, making them feel more of a failure and feeling like they are falling more into the poverty trap as they cant afford a holiday.
Taking a child on holiday can also be a learning curve for them, after all how else can you learn about culture in another country than going up close and personal with it, by living it for a week or two.


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