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Leap in number of parents facing term-time holiday fines

Recent figures from Nationwide Building Society’s "Summer Spending Report" revealed that the premium for family holidays taken outside of term-time can be as much as £1,300.

With such a hike to the travel budget, many may not be surprised by the fact that parents are continuing to take their children on term-time holidays, despite the fines they will face. Now a new survey from the BBC, which received responses from more than three-quarters of councils, has revealed an increase in the number of such fines since the change in law came into effect in September 2013.

Lancashire emerged as the local authority with the biggest increase fines across this period, with a rise of 176%. This was followed by West Sussex (+146%) and Doncaster (+132%). Fines for term time holidays currently stand at £60 per parent per child per period of absence, doubling to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

Speaking to the BBC News about the situation Campaigner Stewart Sutherland, said: "Once the regulations came into force it became just a block ban, rather than schools and local councils considering each case individually. "It's now becoming the case that family holidays are just for the rich because so many working people either can't afford it or can't get the time off outside school terms.”

While many parents are likely to be less than happy with the fact that head teachers can no longer authorise term time absences, Schools Minister Nick Gibb highlighted the positive outcomes of the new law. He said: "As a result of the changes we have implemented, 130,000 fewer pupils are regularly missing lessons, which means 130,000 more pupils getting the chance of a good education that prepares them for life in modern Britain.

"We do understand the concerns of parents, however, and are introducing new rules to give all schools the power to choose their own term dates.” If your family is heading off on holiday in the coming months, it’s important to organise family travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 11 August 2014

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