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Holidays in Term Time


Taking children out of school during term time for holidays is back in the press once again. The High Court has backed father Jon Platt who refused to pay the fine he was issued after taking his six-year-old daughter out of school for a trip to Florida.

Term time absences

My husband and I have hugely differing views about this. I categorically would not take my daughter out of school for the purpose of going on holiday. My husband thinks taking a child out of school during term time is an absolute no-brainer. I totally get why people do it and why he has this view. For the sake of shifting the departure date by a week savings can run into £100s of pounds for a family. Obviously that’s very appealing and a £60 fine is no deterrent at all in this scenario. I absolutely deplore the travel industry for creating this situation and realise that sky-high costs during school holidays can be a barrier to many.

I have never wanted to take my seven-year-old daughter out of school for even a day (obviously I would if there were extenuating circumstances). She takes her attendance at school very seriously and really wouldn’t want to miss a day. I think her consistent attendance has contributed significantly to her attainment in general. I also know how many new things she learns in the course of a week. I think it’d be really disruptive to her learning and unsettling for her on a social level to take her out term time for a whole week.

I don’t really buy the argument that the main reason for pulling kids out of school for holidays is that they form an integral part of their learning. Whilst our holidays usually do contain a fair amount of culture, the primary reason for going is just to have fun and chill out as a family; I’m sure this is everyone’s main motivation.

Teacher absence

Let’s turn it around… Teachers are similarly constrained and have to take their holidays out of term time. Imagine if a child’s teacher absconded for a week. Parents would be up in arms and would say that a week’s absence would seriously impact their child’s learning.

Teachers work hard enough as it is, do they really need the extra burden of getting children that have missed a week back up to speed?

Could there be a solution?

For me, the key is to make it as difficult for the travel industry as possible. Could different counties stagger their holidays? I know a number of schools in Nottinghamshire whose Easter 2016 holiday deviated quite a bit from ours in Surrey. Could this be rolled out further? Or could the lead be taken from the South Wales school, which used all five of its inset days consecutively to create an additional week holiday?


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.


  1. I agree with you 100%. At Wilson’s we grouped insets together and had an extra October half term week one year which was great except Joe was at school still and no I wouldn’t take him out! As far as the cost goes, it is what it is and you have to budget for it. As I teacher I have always had to pay school holiday prices but that’s life. If every parent took their child out teachers jobs would be a nightmare.

    • It would be chaos for teachers if everyone did this. I thought I’d probably be in the minority with this view, so happy someone agrees 🙂

  2. A thorny issue, but I agree with you Fran. Unless it’s a special occasion (e.g. a wedding), children shouldn’t be taken out of school for holidays. Not only is it disruptive to the child, it is also disruptive to the class as a whole. Imagine how much disruption would be caused if everyone took their child out of school for a week or two a year! The travel industry charging more in school holidays is simple supply and demand, so unless something is done to stagger holidays, this will never change. Families may need to choose less expensive holidays, but if my children are anything to go by, an inexpensive camping trip is just as exciting as a week or two in the sun. Unfortunately I think the recent court decision in favour of the father who chose to go on holiday during term time will only lead to more legislation in this area, which will make it more difficult for parents to take their children out of school when there is a genuine special event.

    • You’ve summed it up exactly as I would. Also think you’re completely right about the type of holiday. We’ve been on expensive ones and very reasonably-priced ones and the children don’t differentiate between them at all!

  3. We’ve taken Chloe out for an extra week before half term so we can go on a holiday of a lifetime to Disney – couldn’t afford it in the summer hols plus temp would be all wrong, so timed it to miss as few days as possible. This is her first holiday abroad for 3 years, and her attendance record is very good – 1 day off for sick, she even made it in the day her sister was born! When I asked for extra work & spellings for the week she’d miss I was told to go & have fun, and if Chloe had time to write about what she did each day that would be great, but not to make a big thing about it. If it’s taken at the right time to minimise disruption then I think it’s fine.

    • I’ve seen a few of your pics; certainly looks like the holiday of a lifetime!!

      Sounds like you planned it very carefully to minimise disruption and obviously general attendance is a big factor also.

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