Money Wellness
Illustrated image of a family with two kids going on holiday. Parents to face fines of up to £2,500 for taking their kids out of school for holidays. Fines for unauthorised absence set to increase in August
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calendar icon11 Jul 2024

Parents could face fines of up to £2,500 from next month for taking their kids out of school to go on holiday

Parents planning to jet off before the end of the school year to save money on holidays abroad risk being fined up to £120.

And those who choose to extend their child’s summer break to go away in September, will face even heftier penalties with fines set to rise by £20 next month.

Fines for authorised school absence were introduced in 2013, with the aim of reducing non-attendance. And haven’t been increased since they were introduced.

Currently, if your child misses school without a good reason, local authorities can intervene and issue a fine of £60, rising to £120 if it’s not paid within 21 days. But whether you’re fined is down to the discretion of your local authority with some opting not to issue penalties.

But a new framework will be launched in August, which will see all councils having to follow the same rules, including fining parents when a child has missed 5 days without authorisation.

The amount parents are fined is also set to increase to £80 if paid within 21 days, or £160 if paid within 28 days. Parents may even end up being prosecuted and could face fines of up to £2,500, community service or up to three months in prison. They could be issued a parenting order, which means having to complete parenting classes.

School time absences have to be pre-authorised by your child’s headteacher and are only issued in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ Legitimate reasons for absence from school include:

  • Medical grounds – such as ill health and doctor or dentist appointments. Although the school can ask for medical certificates as proof of illness.
  • Religions reasons – certain days hold special relevance for various religions including Christmas and Easter for Christians, Eid for Muslims, Diwali for Hindus and Passover for Jews. Pre-authorisation may be approved to mark these celebrations.
  • Lack of transport – your local authority must provide transport to school in legally defined circumstances. Otherwise, lack of transport can be a valid reason for children missing school.
  • Other reasons include funerals and interviews.


Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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