The appeal of a term-time family holiday is clear: lower prices, less crowds, and you may feel your child is gaining experiences they just would not get in a class room.
But you may want to think twice about this if you live in Lancashire, where the local council is considering charging parents a hefty fine if their child is out of school during the term.
Parents across the UK are already subject to a penalty notice of £60 per child for unauthorised absences, which rises to £120 if it isn’t paid within 21 days.
Lancashire County Council – which has issued one of the highest rates of fines for unauthorised absences (6,876 fines between 2016 and 17) – are trialling a scheme whereby parents could be fined £1000 per child for taking them out of school during term time.
The trial scheme was brought to public attention when Sara Richardson, a head teacher at Lancashire-based Balladen Community Primary School, mentioned it in a newsletter to parents.
It reads: “Lancashire County Council are currently trialling a new system for dealing with unauthorised holidays and breaks during term time.
“This involves an increase in the financial penalty to parents of up to £1000 per parent per child rather than the current fixed penalty notice of £120 [if not paid within 21 days] per parent per child.
“This system is still at the pilot stage but please be aware this may come in to effect at some stage.”
However, it would seem this change, if it happens, will certainly not be imminent. Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, said the plans were at an ‘early stage’.
She told the Sunday Times: “We are considering any possible action that could be taken in the future to reduce unauthorised absences.”
Meanwhile, the average family holiday taken during the school holidays costs £2,417 – thanks to sky-high flight prices in July and August.
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