A couple from Trench have been fined by a court today for taking their children on holiday during term time.
Telford & Wrekin Council issued both parents with a £10 a day fine each for each of their three children which they doubled after the couple refused to pay. They were fined for 6 days that their children were out of school because “any time off is disruptive to the child’s education” even though one of the days they were on holiday the school was closed because their teachers were striking for free pensions and the right for bad teachers to get paid the same as good teachers.
The couple said that they had booked the holiday before new rules came in that took away head teachers’ discretion around holidays in term time but did admit that the school had already told them they wouldn’t be allowed the time off before they had booked it. They said they decided to take the holiday in term time because the father isn’t allowed time off from work during school holidays.
Their defence centred around the lack of an appeals process against the fines which meant they had no choice but to refuse to pay and go to court. It appears that the judge didn’t agree that this was wrong and ordered them to pay the fines, costs and a victim surcharge. Who the judge thinks the victim is isn’t clear.
Many families are unable to afford holidays because of the massive increase in costs by holiday companies outside of term time. It’s not unusual for the cost of a holiday to triple during school holidays putting them out of reach of lots of families. Some won’t go on holiday whilst others will get themselves into debt paying for a holiday they can’t afford.
Taking children out of school during term time isn’t something that should become routine but clearly there are circumstances where the child’s education isn’t affected significantly by taking a few days off school. If a child is over-achieving and is capable of catching up with missed work at home afterwards then where is the harm in taking a family holiday during term time?