Caravanners becoming increasingly acceptant of school term time holiday fines

Parents will take school fines over paying expensive holiday prices

by Ellie Pritchard

With the increase in the price of holidays when school is out, parents are in defiance of being fined for taking their children away during term time

Parents looking to escape on their summer holiday early by taking their children out of school during term time in order to avoid a stark increase in prices are becoming more acceptant of fines implemented in order to prevent them from doing so, it has emerged.

With holiday prices rising rapidly during school holidays, many parents across the UK are willing to risk being fined £60, including over 1,000 parents in the county of Derbyshire alone.

Since 2012, Derby City Council has issued 3,075 fines to parents who have irresponsibly taken their children out of school.
During the 2012/13 academic year, 775 Derbyshire parents were fined, with the figure increasing to 1,196 during the 2013/14 academic year.

With one week still left to go for some schools, 1,104 parents have been fined this academic year, equating to a minimum of £184,000 in fines issues to parents who fail to abide by the rules.
Many Derby Telegraph readers said they would be happy to take the fine in comparison to forking out hundreds of pounds extra for a holiday out of term time.

One unhappy caravanner, Nikita Rusko, said: “Yes, I will continue to take my child out of school during term time as well, until the government start forcing holiday companies to lower their prices during the holidays. The difference is ridiculous!

“I’ve priced up a holiday for August at Haven. It would cost me nearly £1,000 for Monday to Friday in one of their basic caravans, yet if I were to book the same caravan on the same site but in June/July it would be about £200?”

Frustrated parent, Jimmy Watt agreed, saying: “The holiday companies take the Michael. There was £600 – £1,300 difference on some holidays we looked at.”
Jackie Wood was also left feeling outraged by the price of holidays during school holidays. She said: “We once booked a caravan at a Devon holiday park for a week during Easter and that cost us £580.
“If we had booked exactly the same caravan for a week during the six weeks summer holidays it would have cost us well over £1,000 and that’s in the UK!”
But there were other parents who didn’t agree with taking their children out of school to go on holiday was justified.

Annabelle Rowe said: “I personally don’t take my kids on holiday in term time, we go to the seaside at Easter when it’s a bit cheaper.

“I don’t think doing it as a one-off is a huge deal but I know of parents who do it three or four times a year, which is a lot of school to be missing really.”

The fine system was introduced by MP Michael Gove following abolishing the right for schools to give the okay for students to be awarded with up to ten days of holiday when he was education secretary.

This new rule ensured that parents were issued with a £60 fine if their child’s absence was not authorised by the school. Those who refuse the fine are subsequently faced with a further fine of £2,500 and could even face jail for a maximum of three months.

Of the increase in parents taking their children out of school during term time, Sir Michael explained to the Sunday Times: “I would like to see the fines raised. We have too many parents taking their children out in term time.”

The MP, better known for his Plebgate scandal than imposing fines on cash struck parents who struggle to meet exorbitant prices many holiday companies charge during school holidays, continued: “If parents are behaving irresponsibly then the state is right to say, ‘This is wrong and you are being a bad parent’.”

What do you think? Can taking children on holiday during school term time can be justified once in a while? Leave a comment below or voice your opinion in our CaravanTimes forum.