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Thursday March 15, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Some parents are budgeting for the cost of school fines for taking their children on holiday in term-time, according to a new report.

An investigation by the BBC has found that parents across England and Wales have been fined about £24 million for failing to send their children to school during the past three years.

The figures are for England and Wales only as Scotland and Northern Ireland don't issue fines.

For some, taking the hit of a fine is clearly worth it.

It can be a lot cheaper than paying for a holiday for the family in the school breaks when costs are much higher.

Family skiingFamily ski trips can be pricey in the school holidays


















The debate over term-time ski and snowboarding trips is one that continues to rage, with widely varying opinions.

Some insist that a snowsports trip is more beneficial than a beach holiday so it's justified to take children out of school for a short period.

Children are learning something new and useful and are being active, they argue.

Others believe that even a week out of school -  for whatever reason - is potentially detrimental to a child's education.

Family ski breaksFamily ski breaks












The attiitude of headteachers and local authorities vary.

A number of Britain's up and coming skiers and snowboarders are given permission to have long absences from school so they can train in the mountains.

Last Spring PlanetSKI spoke to 17-year-old freestyle snowboarder Ciaran Tucker, who had been in the GB Park and Pipe National Academy for two years and spent the whole of last winter in Laax in Switzerland.

Ciaran was in his last year at school and did all of his studying remotely.

Ciaran TuckerCiaran Tucker in Laax, April 2017
















"They give me a lot of work to take out and keep me updated with what they are doing," he told us.

"They give me homework to do and I send it back."

According to the BBC investigation some councils are issuing penalties at a rate five times higher than the average.

They include the Isle of Wight, which fought and won a long legal battle against parent Jon Platt.

It issued fines at a rate of more than 60 per 1,000 pupils in 2016/17.

The average over that period was 12 penalties per 1,000 issued for truancy or other unauthorised absence.

A total of 155 local authorities in England and Wales imposed around 400,000 penalties over three years, although 19 did not supply data.

The BBC spoke to one father who said a two-week transatlantic family trip would have cost £8,000 in the school holidays rather £4,500 in term-time, so he was prepared to face the £60 fine.

Read more on this story on the BBC.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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