Family holidays during school term time

Parents are discouraged from taking family holidays or trips abroad during term time.

Children who miss significant period of time in school miss out on important teaching and learning and this absence can seriously harm the children’s progress and attainment.

Parents and carers are legally responsible for ensuring their children attend school regularly and schools are responsible for making sure they receive a good education. It is important that children and young people regularly attend school because every school day counts.

Parents can demonstrate their commitment to their child’s education by not taking them out of school in term time for holidays.

If parents take their children out of school without first seeking the school’s permission or take their children out after permission has been denied, could receive a penalty notice fine of £60 per parent per child. A family of two parents and two children would receive a fine of £240. From 1 September 2013 parents have 21 days to pay the fine. If the fine is not paid within this period the fine doubles to £120 per parent per child and has to be paid within 7 days. Failure to pay the fine at all will result in Bradford Children’s Services taking the matter before the Magistrates Court where they could be fined up to £1,000.

The procedures are clear:

  • Parents do not have a right to take their children out of school during term time for holidays or trips abroad 
  • Families must seek permission from the school before taking their children on holiday. Every school has a policy and procedure for applying for leave of absence during term time which will be available from the school. Many schools within their policies will describe circumstances where leave of absence will not be granted. For example during national tests or exams 
  • Headteachers will only grant permission for leave of absence from school in exceptional circumstances. If permission is granted the school will determine the number of days of absence they will authorise 
  • Before granting a request for leave of absence in term time a Head Teacher will consider, the time of year of the request and the duration of the leave of absence, the child’s attendance record and the child’s ability to catch up and the schools policy on holidays in term time 
  • If a family go on holiday without permission, their child’s absence will be unauthorised and the family may be fined £60 per parent per child. 
  • If a child does not return to school on the agreed date after leave of absence they could lose their place in the school which would mean the child would have to start a new school

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