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It is plainly obvious why parents are keen to go on holiday during term time, parents know it and education providers know it too. It is simply scandalous how much prices go up during school holidays because the demand is there. The Guardian found holidays could go up by £3,000 which is simply unaffordable in the current cost of living crisis.
My dad, for example, who has a bungalow listed on Sykes Cottages has seen his price automatically set by them and it can go up 4 fold during these times. He has no say in the prices.
The increase in cost is so much that simply taking your child out of school seems worth it, to some families it could be the difference between having a holiday or not. But, there are rules around doing this and it is not something which us automatically a given or that your child’s school will just look the other way. Although, they might.
If you are taking your child out of school during term time for a holiday, there is a good chance that the school will want to know why. They have a responsibility to educate your child and the school have put things in place for all of their lessons during that week, so it is reasonable.
The parents have a legal obligation to arrange education for their children, whether it’s with a state school, private school or home education.
Let’s get this straight – children can only be permitted to miss school if they’re too ill or you have had advanced permission. The second part is the focus of this article.
Do you need to write a letter to take children on holiday?
You need to get permission to avoid a fine, and most people ask permission with a letter. Even if you get it verbally, you’d still need to confirm it in writing afterwards.
Telling the school why it is important for your child to take time off may make you more likely to be allowed and avoid fines. Others may opt for a sob story.
Some schools may have a pre-made form you can fill in rather than a letter, with many parents preferring this method as its straight to the point.
It’s best to do this at the earliest convenience and the school has no obligation to grant this request.
What do you put in a letter about taking your child out of school for a holiday?
First thing which is important in this letter is to be honest. The school may check the letter and if you are lying or withholding information, it’s likely that they will find out – it’s important to remember they are not obligated to accept the letter.
You need to explain why taking your child (and any other children) on holiday is so important and why it needs to be during term time.
Here’s some example of ‘good’ reasons-
- Financially, you can’t afford holiday prices outside of term time. As painful as it is to say, if going on holiday any other time is completely unaffordable it might be worth putting this in.
- You or your children have been going through difficult personal issues and the holiday is a break for mental health
- The father of the child only gets limited access and it is them taking them
- Visiting family who are unable to visit themselves
- Visiting friends or family who are at the end of their life or suffering with a terminal illness
The letter should be well written and show the importance of taking this time off. The more detail you can give, the better your chances are that they will grant permission for a day or two out if needed.
To avoid fines, there are also things you can add to the school holiday letter to improve your chances, but again you should be honest and you should honour any promises you make
- Ask for any work set for the holiday period, and make sure it’s completed
- Mix the holiday with a weekend to minimise the amount of time off
- Don’t make a habit of term time holidays
Is this letter a big deal?
No, not really. Most schools are aware this can happen from time to time. Term time holidays are ludicrously expensive and often the difference between the two is much greater than a fine. However, your child’s education is important so making this a habit or going away for a significant amount of time is not in their best interest, or yours.
What if you lie in the Taking Child Out of School For Holiday Letter?
You may be taking a risk of being found out, which can lead to more than just fines. It can lead to mistrust with the school and visits from the child welfare services. It is illegal to take a child out of school for a holiday without permission – by being open and honest you are more likely to get it accepted or at the worst case just a fine.