Money Wellness
A mum and three children are silhouetted against an airport window with a plane flying past
category iconMoney Saver
calendar icon01 Mar 2024

Fines for taking children out of school in term-time rise to £80

Parents will be fined £80 for taking children out of school in term time without permission as part of a government drive to increase attendance levels. The fines were brought in in 2013, and they started at £60 rising to £120 if they weren’t paid within 21 days. Because the minimum fine is £80, late payment fines will now rise to £160.

 New government guidelines tell schools to consider a fine after a child has missed five days' school without the head teacher's permission. It’s thought these new fines will come into place in September.

 Some are saying the root cause of the problem of parents taking children out of school in term time is due to holiday prices sky-rocketing during school holidays, and 89.3% of the fines from 2022-23 were for unauthorised holidays.  

So, how can you beat the high school holiday prices?

Check term dates in the UK and abroad

Sometimes your child's school may have different term dates compared to other schools in different parts of the country, or the rest of the UK.

When England breaks up for the summer holidays or Easter probably won’t match up exactly to when Scotland does. You might find it cheaper to fly from Scotland if their kids are still in school, for example. Or, go for a half term break in Wales before they’ve broken up for Easter, prices are still likely to be term time.

You can also check what other countries term dates are to find cheaper prices. For example, many European countries like France also don't have a May half term and this may mean you can get a cheaper holiday deal.

Have your ‘big’ holiday during half-terms

Booking over half-terms might mean you save more money than going away over the summer. While October and February are out of season for many holiday parks around the UK, there are plenty of other destinations you can catch the sun.


Some school trip firms, like PGL offer budget-friendly family adventures across England, and the centres are often open over the school holidays.

To get the best deals, you should waiting to book until six weeks in advance, as prices could drop. Costs will include accommodation and food.

Apartments instead of hotels

If you’re going abroad, it’s worth searching for villas and apartments as well as hotels, as they might work out cheaper. and it’s especially good if you’re going away as a big group.

Specific date but flexible destination?

You can use search tools like Skyscanner to search for cheap flights by date, and book your holiday around that.

Free child place finder tools

Parents can use this tools on travel agents like First ChoiceJet2 and Tui to find free places for their child on holidays overseas.

The deal is usually for one free child place along with two full paying adults. These deals do sell out fast for school holiday dates, but be sure to compare to check you’re getting the cheapest one.

Book six months in advance

Lots of places say you’ll get the best prices on last minute deals, and but research from Skyscanner found that you generally get the best prices for a holiday six months in advance.

According to Skyscanner, Tuesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly while Saturdays are most expensive.


Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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