Term time holidays? What’s a mum to do?

ImageIt’s a moral dilemma I’m sure every parent has faced over the years so why did I find it so hard?

We have decided to visit my sister next year. She lives on the other side of the world so it’s not a family holiday we are going to do very often. In fact, it’s unlikely that we are going to make it again during the time my kids are still at school. 

After making the commitment to do the trip this Christmas I started to look at prices. OH MY GOD! It’s a long time since we have flown long haul and I realise that fuel is expensive and there is a bigger environmental tax on airlines these days with the world melting and all that, but. OH MY GOD!

Just have to say it one more time. OH MY GOD!

ImageFor us to take a family holiday over Christmas in the school holidays was going to cost us £6000! That’s before we’d booked anywhere to stay, topped up the iPad with any movies or even bought the kids a pair of flip flops and a magazine each. And I need a new bikini!

After a few days coming to terms with the fact that I might need to get a job just to pay for this holiday (another OH MY GOD!) a good friend suggested I look at the costs in January and February. Well I knew it would be a bit cheaper but hadn’t considered it as my eldest is at school and I don’t generally agree with taking them out to go on holiday.

Well… I quite quickly changed my moral mind and got the credit card out. All booked. 4 flights for almost half the cost of going in the school holidays.

ImageI had no idea the differences were so big. We don’t go on many holidays abroad as we have the campervan so I don’t think I have a real appreciation of what things cost. We both love the UK and tend to find it’s easier with the kids to holiday with our home on wheels. We have every possible kids activity packed on board (plus a constant supply of G&T’s), and to be honest, I’m not great at cramming a 2 week life in to a suitcase.

So why is it so unfair on people with kids. Even worse for teachers with kids.

I had a quick look online for a cheap last-minute holidays and a week all-inclusive in Ibiza is around £500. Go a week after the schools go back and it’s almost half! How is that ever fair for people with kids? We are the ones most desperately in need of holidays!

ImageI haven’t decided what I will do about school. I hope I am able to just be honest. Apparently you can get a fine but I’m sure it’s nowhere near the £3000 difference for going in term time. 

As I said, it’s a moral dilemma I struggled with (briefly) but realistically, to go in the school holidays was just not affordable. 

It’s been so long since I’ve seen my sister. I can’t wait.

So…

What’s a mum to do?

What the Department of Education say:

Headteachers have the discretion to grant leave, but they should only do so in exceptional circumstances. If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.

Parents can be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.

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14 Responses to “Term time holidays? What’s a mum to do?”


  1. 1 Lulu August 16, 2013 at 21:06

    The head won’t be pleased but just be honest and no way will she fine you. Especially if you help arrange the Xmas disco beforehand!

  2. 2 alison August 17, 2013 at 07:19

    sister here, they are actually coming to stay with a registered teacher (kev) !!! we will home school on the beach 🙂

  3. 4 mummybarrow October 4, 2013 at 07:34

    You see this rule really hacks me off. Do you follow Victoria Wallop on Twitter? @vwallop She took her children out of school and travelled round the world for a year. A WHOLE FLIPPING YEAR. The experiences they gained, life skills, knowledge of the world is phenomenal.

    I do wish our education system was not so obessessed with making our kids sit at a desk and learn and insist on a certain number of hours in a classroom.

    What an amazing lesson to go and see another country. One that probably most people can only dream of visiting. And learning about family. That family is important!

    Or the government could just ban the holiday price hike. It’s like a tax on families.

  4. 6 motherofmadcatsandbabies October 4, 2013 at 08:13

    It’s utter madness, isn’t it? My mother in law is 70 next year, in March, two weeks before the Easter Holidays start. My father in law is planning a huge party for her, and family and friends are flying in from all over, to be with her. She is quite frail, so it’s easier for her to stay put and people to come to her, and we all want to, but we will get fined and the head has said she probably can’t grant the leave, as she has to be seen to be fair, and she has already said no to other requests similar. If we fly in the term time, the cost is still astronomical because flights to South Africa are, anyway, but if we wait til the term ends, the cost goes up by nearly £1000!! We won’t be going, my husband will fly on his own, in term time, and we will have to join the party via Skype. It’s ridiculous that the government has such anal rules, and also that the holiday industry is allowed to up prices so much.

  5. 7 Caroline Job (@lunchboxworld) October 4, 2013 at 08:33

    our county has totally clamped down and won’t authorise any holiday in school time full stop. None. And yes, they are issuing fines with tight payment deadlines. So what are we to do? With an ageing father with dementia living in South Africa, we just can’t afford to go in holidays. It’s double the price and that is just the flight! Have you also seen how much the cost is down to airport taxes alone? The actual flight cost is barely anything. It is so wrong… so maybe we’ll go next year, after GCSE’s are done. Let’s hope his dementia doesn’t develop aggressively…

  6. 9 freefallinginto40 October 4, 2013 at 10:37

    I never realised how bad this was until, of course, I had a school age daughter. We used to go to Centreparcs once or twice a year because we all loved it so much, but I now can’t even afford a single trip there. The Monster hasn’t been once. How can I justify accomodation of over £1000 for 4 days when it used to cost around £400. That’s not including all the extra costs of eating or doing any activities. Daylight robbery.

    • 10 a field somewhere October 4, 2013 at 12:17

      Dreadful isn’t it. My friend is a teacher so its even harder as it’s not only her kids she has to consider but her job.
      Never been to Centreparcs, would love to go but its just too expensive

  7. 11 Hannah October 4, 2013 at 12:52

    I’ve cancelled our farm holiday next year because it is a week after half term it was cheaper to go I couldn’t afford the half term price. But since booked the county changed their rules and no leave will be granted at all it’s a £60 fine per child and I think per adult here we have one child in school atm so that’s £120 to pay to take the holiday it’s not right that it’s so pricey and it’s not fair missing holidays that are actually educational either

  8. 12 franglaisemummy October 8, 2013 at 08:57

    I’m with you – Hubs is French and they are always taking kids out of school for holidays in France (despite having far longer holidays than in the UK), so Hubs is very French and “I’ll take my holiday when I want, we’ll just say she had flu then”, which is a great lesson to teach your kids – the art of deception and lying! So far we’ve only done it for 3 days at the end of the school year (Year 1) and the head granted it, but I’m not sure she’d grant it again. We too are looking to take the kids for a year’s travelling round the world, but we’ll have to home school our eldest whilst away 😦
    Popping over from Ranty Friday

    • 13 a field somewhere October 8, 2013 at 20:01

      Thanks for dropping by @afieldsomewhere.
      Yes, it’s ridiculous isn’t it? Trying to broaden their horizons and having to lie to do it. I’m not sure I’m cut out for home schooling. Good luck!

  9. 14 Karen Wilkinson September 16, 2014 at 20:58

    Not sure if anyone from PWAS been in touch already but if you drop me an email we can give you an idea of things to put in your letter to the Headteacher, including the legal position & DfE stats showing that term time holidays have no impact on children’s attainment. (Really!).


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