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Sharp increase in term-time holiday fines
Friday August 8, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

More parents are being fined for taking their children out of school for ski holidays during term. Last year the law was changed making it virtually impossible for a school to grant permission.

Almost 64,000 fines have been issued since last September.

A rise of about 70%, according to a survey of local authority data by the BBC.

The new legislation says head teachers cannot allow parents to take their children out of school unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'. 

A family ski holiday is not judged to be 'exceptional'.

See here for the PlanetSKI story when the new legislation was introduced.

The survey shows parents received 63,837 fines in the academic year to July 2014, compared with 37,650 fines in the previous year. 

Many of these would have been in the winter months during the ski season.

Each parent can be fined £60 and that rises to £120 if unpaid within a week. If the parent refuses to pay for reasons of principle they can be fined up to £2,500 with three years in prison.

It means families that do not wish to break the law have to go skiing at the peak weeks of the season when prices are at their highest.

Already a single return flight to Innsburck in Austria next February is over £1,000.

A week for an adult in La Rosiere, France next season with Esprit Ski will cost £1,349 at New Year and £1,499 during the February half-term staying in Chalet Schatzi. 

The week after New Year is £779 and the week after half-term is £869. 

Multiply that to include another adult and the children and you get the idea of the difference.

Parents will save hundreds and hundreds of pounds if their children miss a few days of school.

Esprit Ski is one of the most popular specialist family ski companies and La Rosiere one of its most popular family resorts.

Interestingly most of the weeks for next season have sold out in Chalet Schatzi, but not New Year or Half-term.

Child participation is the futureFamily skiiing in French Alps











Next February has already pretty much sold out elsewhere for the UK tour operators as the holiday period for the main European countries is the same week.

The new legislation has drawn complaints from many parents.

Some criticise the hike in prices by the holiday industry. The issue was debated in the House of Commons, and there were calls for staggered scholl holidays as we reported here on PlanetSKI.

The tour operators and holiday companies say it is simple economics as demand outstrips supply and their costs rise too.

"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," said the schools minister, Nick Gibb to the BBC.

"One benefit of this may be that teachers, pupils and parents are able to take holidays outside of current peak periods. We hope parents and schools will make good use of this new freedom," he added.

See here for the full story from the BBC.

The PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove, and his wife have taken their children out of school. They are now at University and studying for GCSE's and A 'Levels and term time holidys are in the distant pass.  But did it harm their education? 

Here he looks back at how beneficial skiing has been for the children and the family; whether in the holidays or term-time.

For the spirit of the mountains

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