As many as 90,000 parents have been issued with fines for taking their children out of school during term time.
Research conducted by Santander showed that Lancashire county council issued the highest number of fines, handing out 4,279 penalties in the 2014-15 school year.
However, the trend was evident in schools across the country, with the total cost of the fines amounting to a staggering £5.6m estimate, a sharp increase on the estimated £1.5m issued in 2012-13.
It’s thought that many parents are flouting the rules to save money on holidays abroad – Santander found that families pay around 68% more for their trips if they’re taken within the designated summer break.
TV presenter Amanda Lamb commented on the findings: ‘While summer holiday premiums can add an unnecessary expense to a family’s budget, there are other ways parents can look to reduce costs rather than taking a child out of school.’
‘Flying in the middle of the week rather than at the weekend can be cheaper as can waiting until the end of August or early September when prices are often lower as most people like to get away at the start of the summer holidays.’
So what are the rules on taking children out of school during term time?
If you want to take your child out of school during term time, you’ll need to seek permission from the head teacher in advance.
It used to be that holiday days could be given at the discretion of the head master or mistress for pupils with good attendance, but the Department of Education tightened their legislation in 2013, and now permission will generally only be given in exceptional circumstances, such as funerals.
It’s up to the head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.
Taking your child out of school without permission could incur a fine of £60, which increases to £120 if not paid within 21 days. You can choose to appeal the fine, but if it’s not paid within 28 days you may risk prosecution.