The government, however, is considering a reversal of an earlier proposal that would have placed an outright ban on parents taking children on holiday during term time. The ban is being replaced by steeper fines, which may deter already poorly off middle-class parents from considering such vacations.
The government is planning to implement a tougher system of fines for parents who regularly take their children on vacations during term-time, in order to take advantage of off-peak holiday costs. Parents may face penalties of up to GBP120, double the current fine of £50 to £60. The money will be subtracted from child benefits should the parents refuse to make the payment. The penalties come with a 28-day payment clause.
The UK Government’s truancy adviser, Charlie Taylor, said in an interview, ‘Some parents simply allow their children to miss lessons and then refuse to pay the fine. It means the penalty has no effect, and children continue to lose vital days of education they can never recover. Recouping the fines through child benefit, along with other changes to the overall system, will strengthen and simplify the system. It would give head teachers the backing they need in getting parents to play their part.’
Taylor will be submitting his report, commissioned by Education Secretary, Michael Gove, as part of his recommendations to tackle regular absences by school children.