We all know a holiday makes us feel better, and we all know that certain tour operators take advantage of families by hiking their prices during the school summer holidays… but is it really worth taking the risk of travelling during term time?
Well, British couple Stewart and Natasha Sutherland from Shropshire, decided to take the risk last September when they took their three children to Greece for a week, and as a result, they have just been fined £630 and ordered to pay £300 in costs!
Until recently, head teachers had the power to grant pupils up to 10 days’ leave for a family holiday in special circumstances, but it seems the new regulations have taken that power away, and absence during term time is only permitted during “exceptional circumstances”.
A very controversial subject, and one that is sure to raise the temperatures of hardworking parents who simply cannot afford the additional cost of a trip abroad during the school holidays, these new regulations could stop many children experiencing a family holiday, new cultures and the many other benefits that come with travel.
In court, Mr Sutherland stated that his job at the Ministry of Defence prevented him from taking leave during the school holidays, and that their September break in Greece was the first family holiday in five years… So is this fine justifiable?
Polls seem to indicate that many parents will ignore the new ruling, with over 130,000 signing a petition for the law to be overturned completely, and research carried out by consumer watchdog Which? suggests that the extra cost involved in booking a package holiday during the school summer holidays will most likely outweigh the cost of the fine.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said, “Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect” and “Parents should never simply discount a possible penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday, because this is a criminal offence and when doing so they are always risking prosecution.”
Like everyone, I have my own views on this, but what I will say is… I don’t think the above mentioned spokesperson is very well travelled!