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Lawyer warns taking your child on holiday during school term time can lead to a prison sentence

Dominic Smithers

Published 
| Last updated 

While most parents will be hoping to get somewhere hot during the summer holidays, there may be a few who are planning on going away a little later, when it's a whole lot cheaper.

However, though it might be tempting to try and save a bit of money and miss out on the packed airports and traffic jams, it could land you in some deep trouble.

Nasir Hafezi is a legal trainer, ethics consultant and qualified solicitor.

And in a video posted to his TikTok account, he's urged parents to think again before taking their kids out of school for a holiday.

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Responding to a question around whether mums and dads in England and Wales can be prosecuted for doing so, Mr Hafezi says: "Taking your child out of school during term time without prior authorisation from the school is a crime, and can in worst cases lead to a prison sentence.

Parents could end up in trouble if they take their kids out of school for a holiday. Credit: Getty
Parents could end up in trouble if they take their kids out of school for a holiday. Credit: Getty

"You have to get prior permission from the headteacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time."

He goes on to explain that this can only be done via an application for special circumstances, such as 'to attend a funeral for a close family bereavement'.

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The solicitor adds that a class teacher has no say in the decision, and that permission can only be granted by the head of the school.

If parents don't follow the proper process, they could be found to have committed one of two offences, Mr Hafezi says.

The first is the 'failure to secure regular attendance'.

The maximum sentence for this is a £1,000 fine for each parent prosecuted as a result.

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The second, and more serious, offence is whereby a parent knows that their child is failing to regularly attend school and does nothing to stop it.

"This offence is reserved for parents who are persistently failing to attend school, that is 'persistent truant'," Mr Hafezi explains.

Mr Hafezi has warned parents about taking their children on holiday without permission. Credit: TikTok/tiktokstreetlawyer
Mr Hafezi has warned parents about taking their children on holiday without permission. Credit: TikTok/tiktokstreetlawyer

The maximum offence for this is a £2,500 fine per parent prosecuted, and a a community order or prison sentence of up to three months.

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However, this would only happen in very extreme circumstances, such as parents refusing to engage with support to find a solution, threatening the teachers at the school, or even encouraging the truancy.

It is much more likely that with minor breaches of the rules, parents will be hit with a £60 fine each.

If you do find yourself being taken to court, though, Mr Hafezi says there are a few defences you could use, such as having already obtained permission and demonstrating that your child regularly attends school. But it will be up to the court to decide.

So you have been warned.

Topics: Parenting, Travel, UK News

Dominic Smithers
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