Should parents be fined for taking term-time holidays?

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Mums and dads who take their children out of school early to get a cheaper deal abroad face a £60 penalty but the Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw wants higher fines to stop more families from doing it.

Holidays are around 40 per cent more expensive during school holidays.

More than 60,000 families across Britain have been fined by councils for taking children out of school without approval.

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.

What are your views on this?  Have any of your family members been affected by these fines? Do you think imposing even higher fines is the answer? 

Should parents be fined for taking term-time holidays?

669 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Pete H
18th Aug 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
There is a big difference between taking two weeks off for a holiday in term-time and taking the odd Friday off for a long weekend away - especially when the child is not in a key period for revision or exams. Common sense from the Head teacher on each individual case is surely what is required here.
NannyNicol
14th Aug 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
As a retired teacher I see no great harm in children going on holiday with their parents for a week, or even two, in term time.

Many parents are unable to go on holiday during the summer break as they are busy looking after the sick or keeping law and order. Even if their jobs are not in public service, the increaseprice of taking holidays during the school break means many children would be unable to visit foreign countries at all.

Going away as a family has many social advantages and is often as educational, if not (in a lot of cases) more so, than sitting in a classroom learning from paper or screen. Seeing the pyramids has to be more worthwhile than just 'finding out' about them, for example.

Besides all that - whose children are they anyway: the parents' or the States?? Most children will easily 'catch up' on what they may have missed, and come back enthused about what they have done .
Sueki4
10th Aug 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
One of the reasons for fining parents is that holidays taken in term time now count as unauthorised absence (ie truanting ). These figures are published as part of a school's league table performance. Headteachers are no longer able to use their discretion when allowing time off.

It is also worth noting that pupils have to be in school a certain number of days each year. Some schools tack training days onto holidays, but rest assured that all pupils in state schools do the same number of days and indeed hours.
Barbara58
31st Jul 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
Again, no finite response to this poll.
Why don't parents put pressure on the Travel Companies, agents etc to level out the costs?
I do believe that, next to great parenting, Education is so important and to miss even 1 week can leave a child struggling to catch up.
Although I can't really afford long holidays and, having travelled the world, I would prefer to go somewhere quiet and child free - just in case I end up next to a 'nightmare holiday family 'neighbour' from you know where'.
Finally, many parents dodge the wrath of the school powers that be by taking their hols 2 weeks before end of term when, by coincidence, the children all have a bug or measles etc etc. The tan has faded by September!
celtwitch
31st Jul 2015
-1
Thanks for voting!
I think we have a national obsession with jetting off to somewhere hot for 2 weeks of being slumped on a sun lounger. We turn up at the airport 2 hours before flight time to be processed, patted down, have our handbags emptied on the table and our laptops scanned for anything suspicious.
Then when we arrive at our chosen destination we find broken toilets, dirty swimming pools and sullen staff who couldn't care less about us and our holiday. Next comes the relentless nightly attack by swarms of blood thirsty mosquitos, ants, cockroaches and flies landing on our food at every meal.
You don't get that in a tent on a Welsh campsite, do you?
nome
31st Jul 2015
-1
Thanks for voting!
If a child is ill for 2 weeks during termtime, are they fined. Once a year absence hurts no child unless its GCSE OR A LEVEL YEAR.
wiffler
31st Jul 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
It works both ways. Keeping to school timetable is a lesson in responsibility and timekeeping. Schooling should be within these hours, no homework, no teacher training days, no "free periods".
EvaM1
25th Jul 2015
-1
Thanks for voting!
I do not want parents to be fined for taking children out of school for an holiday,why do teachers not get fined for having teacher training days.because they lose our kids schooling more than parents
scandiman
22nd Jul 2015
0
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Why is it OK for teachers to have a training day, where pupils turn up to be registered and are then sent home? Parents have to take leave or arrange child care on those days. How many days education is missed when pupils are taken on school trips, some of which have no educational value? On occasions these are just before Christmas and include a visit to hypermarket in Calais. Judging by the quality of some teaching, a child missing a couple of weeks once a year is unlikely to do do harm.
Roger1946
22nd Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
So long as you don't blame the teachers or school when your children don't make the grade and fail to get the better paid jobs that those who have forfited a foreign holiday for a few years.
Anne Bradbury
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
Schools are closed for at least 13 weeks of the year and it's not a necessity for children to be taken abroad for holidays. There are plenty of children whose parents can't afford holidays abroad. Surely holidays can be taken during school holidays and if prices are too high for a holiday abroad then there are plenty of beautiful places in Britain they can visit.
freebird
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
Not everyone can take holidays in school holidays and afford it.What about the ones that work in the holiday business they have to take them when school hols are finished.It is not fair for the travel business should not cash in on this.
jakeylou
21st Jul 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
I think it's disgusting that parents get fined for this because most. normal working class people wouldn't be able to afford a family holiday especially if there are a couple of children
ourgrandkids
21st Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
I do not think they should be fined for a family holiday ie two weeks because the children gain a lot of knowedge regarding travel,Language ,customs etc .
I do belive they should be fined if the children are taken out of school for a month or so because that is far too long .
Head Teachers should have the final say in the amount of time out of school for hollidays as they have the school attendance records at hand
janetann
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
When I spent some time in a local school on teacher training I was shocked to see how many parents put such a low value on education. A lot of time was wasted trying to find a suitable time for class activities when most of the class would be present. One family actually went on holiday the week before an important exam.
susie24
21st Jul 2015
-1
Thanks for voting!
Years ago we didn't have all this rubbish 2 week's a year don't hurt any schooling!!it'd ok for teacher's they can afford hols in summer hols lots of people cannot..... They forget about the inset days they have what's that all about??
NannyNicol
14th Aug 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
As a retired teacher, I'd like to point out that I had to go into work for a lot of the school holidays, to clear my room and then prepare work and room for the coming year.
My husband and I could not afford to take foreign holidays with our children, unless it was camping and we got an early deal on ferries. Happily, my mother lived on the south coast, so our summer holidays were mostly spent at Grandma's.
HJR58
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
When I worked in a hospital it was very difficult to get time off in school holidays as many of us had children. We always wrote to the head teacher and never had a problem. Family holidays are important.
Litcho1
21st Jul 2015
4
Thanks for voting!
The government should be harassing the holiday companies to make them regulate their prices to enable families to go away in school holiday times. Also what about the people who cannot always take their holidays to co-incide with school holidays
Gowergirl
21st Jul 2015
4
Thanks for voting!
I was a secondary school teacher for 35 years.Taking children out of school at secondary age does affect their education.I witnessed this so many times.I don't believe that fining parents is the answer though.Teachers need to make parents aware that a long absence from school is not to their childrens' advantage.
janetann
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
sadly a lot of parents don't value education to start will - expectations for their children seem to extend no further than the Benefit Office.
Litcho1
21st Jul 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
What about the times when the school closes for some reason or other, can the parents fine the school for jeopardizing the education of their children. A big no there then.
stewy51
21st Jul 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
I think this is a joke Everyone knows travel broadens the mind visiting different cultures - even in their own country - and some of the activities that schools undertake (in school time beach parties, trips to the beach where they only get time to sit on the sand for 1/2 hour and eat their packed lunch) have very dubiuos educational value
jentie51
21st Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
The only way we could afford to take holidays was to take them during term time.

I do not think my children suffered by missing a week or so of schooling each year as we used to visit museums, places of interest, learn about local culture, wildlife etc.

They are now responsible, employed adults, so do not think their schooling suffered unduly by missing a week or so each year.
Instead of penalising parents for taking time off during term time for holidays, we should be concentrating on ensuring that holiday companies, transport and hotels do not cash in by charging extra cash during school holidays. If this were to happen then there would be no reason for parents to disrupt their children's education. They can't really be blamed for this action when there is a potential saving of £500 per family (depending upon numbers).
Issy
21st Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
I personally think that the travel agents should not be allowed to hike up prices in school holiday time as this is extremely unfair on parents in the first place also this would alleviate the need for children to be taken out of school in term-time
queenb
21st Jul 2015
4
Thanks for voting!
Parents should not be fined. I worked in a large secondary school for fifteen years' during this time these fines were introduced. It isn't holidays that have an impact on learning, its the children who are absent from school by taking days off every week, or who are constantly late for school. It's usual families with social issues. You could guarantee that families who took their children out of school to holiday would have children with high attendance. The wrong parents are being penalised. And what happens to the fine money? Where does it go?
twinter
21st Jul 2015
6
Thanks for voting!
Parents should not be fined, it's really about common sense, I live in a rural area therefore farming families are very busy during the summer months and consequently want to take their family holiday in June. There really should be some leeway eg parents could take their children out of school for a maximum of 10 days per school year. Also the high school near us is being rebuilt so the children are having an eight and a half weeks break this summer!! Is the government going to pay the parents for this extra time away !!!!!
Tweed48
21st Jul 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
It's totally immoral that holiday companies charge so much more during school holidays. They are hurting those less well off as we all know how expensive it is bringing up a family. Many children these days don't get a summer holiday away from home because they can't afford it. This goes doubly for those with teacher parents. This stops them having the life experiences that is education too. Therefore I feel they should be allowed one week during the school term for an off-peak break the date agreed with the school when it will be least disruptive to the child's education.
Wellington189
21st Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
Firstly if the Government wishes to impose these fines they need to regulate the holiday companies and airlines so that they are not charging prices that are inhibiting for many families. Secondly, schools and education authorities need to look at a child's absence overall. Many children miss school where there is no valid reason to do so and these parents don't receive a fine. A holiday is a much needed break for families and many cannot afford school holiday prices or be able to take their holiday leave at these times. A holiday can be as much a vital part of a child's education as anything learned in school - a common sense approach is necessary but sadly this Government and common sense do not go together!
jeaniembe
20th Jul 2015
-1
Thanks for voting!
Education is important. Children should only be taken out of school for emergencies and then they should not be fined. The holiday companies are disgraceful in regards to their prices. However it is not essential to take children abroad for holidays. The teacher who is grouping all training days together has come up with a good idea.
Munsterlander
20th Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
Holiday companies are a total rip off. When we go on holiday its always out of the peak dates but when we had kids we used to pay a fortune when we wanted to go anywhere and that includes the UK. the government need to sort this out
Jo Kingham
20th Jul 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
The problem is holidays are just so expensive over the school holidays - people have no choice as they can't afford to pay the inflated prices. Our school doesn't fine if they have over 95% attendance and it's only a few days. I think the fining varies by Local Authority and school. On most occasions it's still cheaper to pay the fine and take them out than going during the official holiday times. In the USA they have different school holidays by States, maybe that could be something to look at so holiday companies could reduce the prices as the peak would be over a longer period?
Tweed48
21st Jul 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
Like the idea of staggering holidays tho this may cause an issue if parents have children in different schools. But worth looking at,
Wilf
20th Jul 2015
6
Thanks for voting!
No I do not think parents should be fined. Like everything in life a bit of moderation and common-sense should prevail. Maybe parents should be able to take kids out a maximum of 10 days per year. there are always reasons why parents want to go on holidays that take a few school days as well. Our Kids are now in their 20s but when they were small we took them out of school on some holidays. the schools were not particularly pleased but at least we didn't get fined! One of my friends in London on wanting to take out his kids from school recently was told he could be taken to a magistrates court for his kids being out of school a few days in term time...seems a bit excessive!!!
boyscout1
24th Jul 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
you will only be taken to court if your childs absence from school is unauthorised, and excessive. a few days in term time would not be seen as excessive unless it was being added on, to already poor school attendance.
regarding term time holidays, there are no longer such things as term time holiday and the only authorised leave of absence from school the headteacher should be allowing, is for extenuating circumstances.

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