Mum saves £10k by taking children on term time holidays - and plans to do it again despite fines
A mother from Essex said she has saved about £10,000 by travelling during the off-season with her children.
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A mother who has been fined several times for taking her children on holidays during the school year said she plans to do it again this year. The mum-of-two says she has saved about £10,000 by travelling during the off-season.
Rachel Smith, 33, takes her two school-going children, Brayden, 11 and Elianna, nine, on an overseas holiday every year during term time. The single mum who works in finance saved £3,000 last year by taking her children to Majorca and Magaluf in May and June instead of August.
Whilst she regularly receives £60-per-child fines, she says the decision is a "no brainer" as "it’s nothing compared to the cost of holidays in the school holidays". They have been on four holidays so far during term time, and are heading off to Majorca next week for another round of holiday.
Rachel, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, said: "Although I have a good job, as a single working parent I just don’t have the money to take my kids on holiday during the school holidays.
The cost is outrageous. Why should people, and most importantly children, be penalised because they can’t afford to pay £5,000 for a holiday in August?
"I’ve worked really hard and so do my children, why shouldn’t we get to go on a family holiday? Why should some children miss out on those experiences and only the kids with parents that afford it get to go?
"The cost is double, even triple, out of term time compared to in term time. So long as you look carefully at the school calendar and make sure it’s not impacting your child’s education, I think it’s fine."
The first holiday the family took during term time was to Ibiza in May 2018 when Brayden was five and Eliana was four. The following year, they visited Magaluf, Majorca, Spain, during term time.
Unfortunately, they were unable to holiday abroad for the next two years due to Covid.
However, they made up for their lost time by holidaying in Magaluf again in May last year, followed by a trip to Can Picafort, Majorca, Spain, in June.
Rachel received a fine for each of her children last year for their Can Picafort trip, amounting to £120, but says she saved £3,000 on the holiday. She also received fines for both children for their 2019 holiday, and a fine for Brayden’s absence during their Ibiza trip.
The family are planning another trip to Majorca next week, the day after Brayden finishes his SATs. Rachel said: "I don’t think them missing school to go on holiday once a year has been detrimental to their education at all.”
She added: "I always check the calendar carefully to make sure it doesn’t impact their learning too much. At the end of term they’re not doing much, and after SATs Brayden won’t be doing anything at school anyway.
"They’re both doing really well at school. Brayden got 40 out of 40 on his last SATs maths mock test. If it was impacting their education I obviously wouldn’t do it. They learn a lot from going on holiday too. They’ve been able to experience other cultures, they have a massive social awareness and they’re learning another language.
"They can even pack their own hand luggage. These are all things they wouldn’t be able to experience if we didn’t miss a few days of school. It would be out of the question. Schools shut to do teacher training and there’s been strike days. I don’t see why it’s deemed OK for them to miss school for that but not for a family holiday."
Rachel thinks that schools should implement a system where parents are allocated a number of days to take children out of school for holidays. She continued: "I think there should be a system where kids can have time off during term time.
"Just a few days a year, and there should be red zones at important times of the year like leading up to exams. I stand by taking my children out of school for holiday. I never had that growing up, so if I can give my kids that then I’m going to."