British parents have spoken out recently about the "unfair" fines given to parents who take their children on holiday during term time. Usually, to remove kids from school during term you need permission from the school.
Anyone who doesn’t get permission can be handed a £60 fine per child per parent. One mum claims she still takes her little ones away outside of the school holidays despite the fee.
Helen Walker, from North Lincolnshire, has two children aged eight and 11. She takes them away with their dad and thinks schools should be more "flexible".
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The major reason why parents like Helen take their children on holidays during term time is the astronomical cost of a half term or summer break. Earlier this year, the Mirror analysed price differences between term time and school holiday breaks and found that families could save £1,000 a pop.
Helen told the Daily Star: "We've taken them out last year to New York to celebrate their dad's 40th birthday which fell in term time. We're also taking them out in July to go on a Norwegian fjords cruise as it's our 15th wedding anniversary.
"Other times we've staggered a holiday partly into May half term and partly not due to cost and going with other people. My son is year 6 so has completed SATs and the school have said now it's time to have some fun!"
Helen pays £60 per child in fees per parent meaning each holiday costs an additional £240 in fines. Schools may use them as a deterrent to keep children in schools during learning periods.
A staggering 5,148,548 school days were lost through ‘unauthorised term-time holidays’ in the 2021/22 school year, Department for Education data shows. But, it’s little wonder with the cost-of-living crisis making the fines more affordable for families than holidays in summer.
Helen explained: "The fines are not fair especially after Covid when we were expected to have kids at home and were told it wasn't detrimental to them. Paying per parent isn't fair either we would pay double a single parents amount it should be based on the child.
"Schools can hold strikes and, in this school year, two extra days off have been added for queen's funeral and coronation. There needs to be more flexibility."
The mum isn't the only person to think this way. One Twitter user, parent Stephen Jury told Daily Star: "Not for a big two week bash, but guilty for the odd day for Center Parcs."
Meanwhile, Rachel Smith, 33 takes her children aged 11 and nine out of school during term time each year to holiday destinations like Magaluf, Majorca and Ibiza in Spain despite getting £120 fines. The single mum says she saved £3,000 last year alone by doing so.
Rachel, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, said: "Although I have a good job, as a single working parent I just don't have the money to take my kids on holiday during the school holidays. The cost is outrageous.
“Why should people, and most importantly children, be penalised because they can't afford to pay £5,000 for a holiday in August? I've worked really hard and so do my children, why shouldn't we get to go on a family holiday?
"Why should some children miss out on those experience and only the kids with parents that afford it get to go? The cost is double, even triple, out of term time compared to in term time. So long as you look carefully at the school calendar and make sure it's not impacting your child's education, I think it's fine."
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