Booked holiday during term-time.......

(23 Posts)
distraught05 Sun 15-Jun-14 00:27:16

I have just returned to work after having my third baby. I was annoyed to find that holidays had been approved for my colleagues for the whole holiday year until april 2015, without my line manager contacting me to ask if I had any requests. Whilst there are still holidays available, nothing during summer hols or october or feb half terms. (I cannot take them at christmas or easter as I work in retail. Its in my contract.)
As well as the obvious childcare issues during school hols, we are desperate for a family holiday. We havent been away for over three years, and whilst I know some people cant even afford that, the main reason I have gone back to work early is so that we can afford nice things like an annual (hopefully) holiday.
The next available holiday was two weeks in october, just before half term, which I basically had to take. I booked a family holiday without really thinking about the school, as I have never taken the kids out of school before. They both have 100% attendance and I know other parents who regularly take term time holidays and the school doesnt seem to do anything.
However Ive now become aware that this may be a problem, as apparently the school have toughened up on this and wont allow hols anymore.
I dont know what to do. Obviously we are still going, I certainly couldnt afford to lose my money, and its our only chance of a holiday for at least another 10 months or so, by which time the baby will be 2 and it will be even more expensive.
Do I be honest with the headteacher, appeal to his better nature, and risk refusal and a fine (possibly up to £480!!) or lie and say that they are ill (really dont want to do that). Im the sort of person who always does the right thing and never seems to get anywhere.
Really stuck on this one!!

dietcokeandcadburys Sun 15-Jun-14 00:29:53

Pay the fine. It's shit that you have to go in term time, but it's the law. You might find that because you're not going in school holidays it will be cheaper, even with the added cost of the fine, and less busy. So overall you'll end up having a better holiday than if you went at peak times.

distraught05 Sun 15-Jun-14 00:40:13

So should i tell the school were going or ask for permission, even though were going anyway?

Sparkle9 Sun 15-Jun-14 00:43:48

Check the school's policy. At my school the fine doesn't kick in until after 10 days unauthorised absence so two weeks wouldn't incur a fine.

I'd tell them. You might as well be honest. You might well get the fine, but lying about sickness is likely to get found out unless your DCs manage to not say a word about their holiday before or after, I imagine both being off at the same time might raise suspicions anyway. There might not be much they can do to prove you lied but it is likely to sour the relationship with school.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sun 15-Jun-14 00:57:50

There's no way you can get away with lying about 2 whole weeks' absence. Get a letter signed from your boss saying "distraught is not allowed to take holiday at any time other than these two weeks" and that might carry some weight.

dietcokeandcadburys Sun 15-Jun-14 01:55:43

Yes get a letter explaining the circumstances and then simply tell the school that you're going away. Don't ask because if you do and they say no, it will look worse on your part if you go anyway.

ravenAK Sun 15-Jun-14 03:25:13

I'm a teacher.

I'd write initially & ask permission, explaining circumstances re: not allowed time off elsewhere. Definitely get a letter from your boss clarifying that no other dates are possible & attach a copy.

If you are lucky, & HT is secretly sympathetic, you just might get away with it - one of my year 9 tutor group was permitted a week off in similar circumstances but that had been booked before the new guidelines came in.

The likelihood is that you'll be knocked back, but you may well not actually be fined if attendance is otherwise good.

No point going down the 'simply tell them you're going' route. That's quite likely to make you the example the school reluctantly makes to deter others; much more so than if you explain the circumstances & ask nicely for them to make a discreet exception.

The only reason not to ask would be if you were planning to throw a sicky, & that's not do-able for two weeks, anyway.

FishWithABicycle Sun 15-Jun-14 04:41:08

I agree with above: be honest, give full info about why this is only possible date, and factor the cost of the potential fine into the holiday budget.

AuntieStella Sun 15-Jun-14 07:17:53

Think you'll just have to grit your teeth and budget for the fine (check your LA's policy).

The school is very unlikely to attach weight to a letter from your boss, as they will know you have been on maternity leave and therefore could have taken holidays this year in Feb half term, Easter holiday and May half term. Affordability of holiday won't be a consideration.

distraught05 Sun 15-Jun-14 08:07:45

Thanks everyone. Lots there to think about and some great advice.

ContentedSidewinder Sun 15-Jun-14 08:20:56

It does depend on the school whether they fine you or not. I took my sons out for 6 days this year.

But when I asked for permission (which I knew they would refuse because it was a family holiday) I did tell them that I had worked around SATs (year 6 child) husband's job, transition into secondary school days, I've never taken them out ever in 7 years etc holiday of a lifetime (Disney Florida) happy to catch ds2 up on any work missed etc.

So obviously it was refused but I wasn't fined. Neither was my mate who took the almost the same 6 days and she had done the same last year.

The only thing that may go against you is that we are asked not to take them out in the first term due to settling issues. But you can put your case forward about your employer allocating holidays whilst you were on maternity leave etc and this is the only holiday you have been granted.

Please don't lie. Or ask your children to lie. Nothing worse than a "sick" child returning to school all tanned telling everyone they can order an ice cream in Spanish! But also what does that teach them? That it is okay to lie to teachers? Slippery slope grin

Ememem84 Sun 15-Jun-14 08:50:56

I don't think if have booked a trip if if just come off maternity leave personally as would have had time as said above to have holidays at Easter half terms etc while on leave.

However, I'd write to the school and ask but would be prepared to pay the fine. I'd probably also try to find out exactly how much it'd be (I know above you said roughy £480) and would put that amount aside incase.

I do think it's rubbish how holidays are so expensive during school holidays. At present I'm lucky in that I'm not restricted to school holidays and actively try to avoid them at all costs. But am dreading the time when I can only choose certain weeks.

Enjoy your trip!

distraught05 Sun 15-Jun-14 09:19:31

Just to explain on here (although i know it wont make a difference to the school) there's no way i could have afforded a day out never mind a holiday on mat leave. I actually returned to work two months early because we couldn't make ends meet. The very first think i wanted to do was book a holiday. ��

VivaLeBeaver Sun 15-Jun-14 09:24:10

Are you sure the cost might not be £480?

Our school charge £60 per session per parent. A session is a morning or an afternoon. So £120 a day per parent. So £600 per week for each kid.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 15-Jun-14 09:25:01

Sorry, £1200 a week for each kid even as its per parent.

tallulah Sun 15-Jun-14 09:40:06

It isn't per session, it's either for "the absence" or the week, depending on the LA.

£60 per child per parent so either £240 or £480

TSSDNCOP Sun 15-Jun-14 09:48:27

Surely there's no point asking for permission for something you've booked and have no intention of cancelling.

I'd ask for a meeting with the Head, explain the circumstances and see if they will make an exception. If you budget for the fine, you'll be pleasantly surprised if he waives it.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 15-Jun-14 09:48:49

Well our school definitely charge £60 per parent for the morning and £60 for the afternoon. One of my friends has had a letter spelling it out in black and white.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 15-Jun-14 09:50:17

And I dont think it depends n the LA, seems to depend on the school. Another friend is a head in the same LA and he doesn't fine as he says he doesn't believe in it.

Another friend her school doesn't charge, still same LA. she said they haven't decided what to do yet.

OnlyLovers Sun 15-Jun-14 09:59:31

On a different tack, what about work? Is it legal for an employer to allocate holidays without taking into account someone who's due back from maternity leave?

lljkk Sun 15-Jun-14 10:19:02

In Norfolk OP's fine for 2 children off 2 weeks before October 1/2 term would be £240 max. I think OP might be able to claim exceptional circumstances, though. Worth asking.

ContentedSidewinder Mon 16-Jun-14 11:14:59

From gov.uk website

Penalty notice
Instead of being prosecuted, you can be given a penalty notice. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If you don’t pay the fine you may be prosecuted.

and from the department of education

Payment of Penalty Notice
The penalty is £60 if paid within 28 days of receipt rising to £120 if paid after 28 days but within 42 days. The payment must be paid direct to the local authority. The parents can only be prosecuted if 42 days have expired and full payment has not been made.

This is instead of being prosecuted.

So I think being charged "per session" may well be illegal.

And it is definitely down the the head of the school, not the LA.

I have heard a rumour that the "per parent" was being challenged as the discrimination of 2 parent families.

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