Is it ever okay to go on holiday in term time?


Ah, this is the one about paying three times as much to take our children away in the official school holidays. Got an opinion on whether councils should spread school holiday dates? Post it here.


This is a tricky one! Should councils spread holiday dates - no - that’s far too difficult especially for parents with children at schools in different boroughs. (I have 2 in Kent and 1 in Surrey because of where we live). I do recognise that families are being charged an excessive amount to travel during school holidays and this needs to be addressed. I noticed a £200 increase, per seat, to fly to Spain during the May half term this year, versus the week either side - as a family of 5 that’s an additional £1000 just on the flights! However, I also believe that it’s extremely disruptive for the teaching staff to have to spend time and effort with children who have missed school for a week on the beach. Let’s face it, most of these kids are not trekking the Himalayas, or turtle watching in Malaysia, and enjoying a cultural experience. The issue is that holiday companies are taking advantage of ALL parents and this point should be up for discussion in Parliament as a national issue not a local council debate.


This is a tough one because I can see both sides. We benefit sometimes from lower perices as we are in Scotland - our week in Cornwall at the beginning of July which is Scottish holidays but not English ones is £500 less than the first week in August. We’ve also in the past driven to Newcastle, Manchester or Liverpool t go abroad as it’s so much cheaper.

However - I do think taking kids out of school for a fortnight is a bit much. Different when it’s a couple of days before the end of term, but having kids off randomly through the year must be hugely disruptive to teachers and the rest of the class.

Everyone knows that this is an issue and it’s one of those inconvenient things which goes along with having school aged children.


I’m increasingly surprised that families appear to have additional days off to extended trips, presumably to reduce costs of flying home/ or extra nights of off-peak accommodation. Are rules just there to be broken anyway?


From what I’ve seen, anecdotally, parents with kids in private schools are less likely to take holidays during term time. I suppose one explanation is that if money is no object then paying premium travel prices won’t pinch. But for the many middle class parents who struggle to pay school fees, I think it’s more a case of why take the kid(s) out of school when you’ve paid for it? And consequently could it be that the fact that state-schools are free actually encourages parents to take holidays during term time because there is no opportunity cost to doing so? Food for thought …


There is another point to make about private education which is all 3 terms are shorter. Our children break up from July 1st onwards so we can take advantage of cheaper flights, hols etc in the summer. Also we get a 2 week half term in October plus longer Xmas and Easter breaks…the downside is a) the cost of their education (!) and b) longer school days to ensure the curriculum is covered. But this isn’t the answer either as longer school holidays may not work for families where both parents are working.


The problem with councils spreading holiday dates is that you will get brothers and sisters of different ages being on holiday at different times, and often extended families like to holiday together too, so this might not be possible.

There is no one answer to this, but as a general rule I think that yes, holidays during term time should be allowed in some situations. Obviously if there are exams to be sat then holidays should not be granted, however provided the children are able to complete the work that they would have done in class, along with any homework set, then I don’t see the problem. It’s different if the same children are going away every single term, but for some families term time is literally the only time that they can afford a holiday, so taking children out of school for a week every couple of years isn’t the end of the world. Fining parents isn’t the way forward, either. I don’t think that parents should be made to feel like criminals for trying to widen their child’s horizons.


I doubt very much of the majority of kids who take a holiday during term time do any homework or that parents diligently make the effort to help them catch up when they return back to school!

And, since when did a foreign holiday become a ‘right’…? I simply don’t believe that the only time some family’s can afford a holiday is during term time - kids have 12-14 weeks off per year and there are plenty of cheap(er) options closer to home…it’s a choice to deliberately break school policy.

Maybe the fines aren’t enough of a punishment or deterrent - after all - if we all decided to not go into work for a week or 2, despite being told that if we didn’t turn up it would be hugely disruptive for others and against company policy, would we still risk it for a bit of sun, sand and sea?


I agree with most of the comments above.
It’s outrageous that travel companies so blatantly exploit the opportunities school holidays give them.

I think, like above comments, there should be some legislation in place to help us. Something like a limit in fluctuation throughout the year in prices?

I realise some parents think it’s ok to miss a couple or a few days here and there. Maybe it doesn’t make that much difference at certain times of the year BUT another issue here is the ever increasing standards being imposed by the government.
By this i mean the government are just raising the bar in both primary and secondary. Not just a little either, it;s a big step and the expectation are much greater now.
The point is, maybe these few days here and there will now make all the difference?


When both my children were at primary school, we used to take them out of school a week before they break-up, because as one commented here, a week before the holiday, cost could be £1000 cheaper. We use to offer to take school work with us but the teachers said there’s no need.

On principle, we really don’t want to take our kids off school at term time, especially in the middle or beginning of term. I know that when I was at school, when I’m off for a couple of days, I feel lost when I get back. There were topics that my classmates knew that I didn’t have a clue. It used to take me a few days to catch up.

Now that my eldest is at high school, we don’t try to take them out of school for just a normal holiday.


That’s interesting Hope. £1000 cheaper??!! That is outrageous.
We’re the same as you, we don’t don’t do it and as a governor i have to preach the word of the school and say don’t do it.
I do understand why people do it though or at least sympathise.
The government will be getting tougher on this. Absence at school is a big problem and not just because of holidays.
Some parents consider it worthwhile to risk a fine because it will still be much cheaper that going on holiday in school holiday time and paying the premium.
The main issue is persistent absence but that’s a separate topic.


Yep! £1000!!! In fact, some goes up more than that. And when you’re talking that sum of money, it’s worth risking the fine. Personally, it’s not the fine that stops us, it’s the fact the kids will eventually suffer. We used to go abroad every year, but now we’ve limited our trips and stay closer to home instead.


This argument about holiday companies and exploitation is just not true - it’s basic supply and demand economics. Holidays are more expensive when there is more demand for them, and if you’re wanting to go on holiday in August, it’s not just British families taking their holidays at that time, it’s all of Europe. The airlines can’t magic up more planes or more hotel rooms, so prices rise. This is nothing new. I would be strongly against legislation in this area - it’s not the government’s place to get involved in this sort of economics.

It might make sense though to spread holidays about a bit, I know they do this in Germany where different regions take holidays at different times.


It is exploitation. Cars aren’t more expensive when the reg number changes, bacon rolls aren’t more expensive in the morning, Ice creams aren’t more expensive when it’s hot. Holidays are more expensive in school holidays because of greed. If they were forced to reduced the price in school holidays and increase them outside of that period, they wouldn’t see a reduction in revenue. I agree there is limited capacity but hey, it’s no different to a million other products and services.


Well holidays are different in that they can’t be stockpiled. Travel agents can’t keep a warehouse full of packages, flights or hotel rooms that they can call upon when demand peaks as most other retailers can. Other types of retailers often discount “out of season” stock which is why you can get cheap mince pies in January or swimming costumes in November.

Travel companies will only ever charge what people are prepared to pay as it’s not in their interests to raise their prices to a level people won’t purchase and have half empty hotels. This isn’t happening so people are obviously happy to pay the July/August prices. If they had a whole heap of unsold holidays, prices would come down. It is not the government’s job to interfere in the pricing of private companies. Nobody is forcing you to buy anything, in any market, which you consider overpriced.


I think holiday companies, airlines and hotels come across as more aggressive in this aspect compared to other kinds of businesses because they have been doing this so long, they’ve automated the whole thing - and that makes you feel worse. Try to book something for Easter now and you’ll automatically pay a higher price - even though there is plenty of capacity currently available. To us it feels like they are cashing in on something that hasn’t even happened. To them, they’ve been doing it so long that they know exactly how to quantify the premium that has to be charged.