I take my kids on holiday in term time, I don't care if I get fined, off peak holidays have saved me £10k | The Sun

A MUM has revealed that she deliberately takes her two children on holiday during term and says that it saves her thousands.

Catherine Warrilow, 43, says she takes her two boys Noah, 14, and Sully, 10, out of school at least once a year and claims that doing so means they can afford more luxurious trips.

While the mum and her partner Paul* know that they are at risk of being fined by the school, Catherine argues that their getaways are just as valuable as her sons’ schoolwork.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, she explains, “For us limiting our holidays to outside of term time isn’t really an option.

“I work full time and my partner is a key worker so unfortunately we have to work around his shift pattern which often means we are only left with term dates.

“Of course the cost difference is a huge consideration for us too.

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“The savings are astronomical, you’re talking about £1,000 difference between flying out on a Wednesday and a Saturday.”

Catherine, who works at daysout.com, says that she only ever takes her boys out of school one-three days of the entire trip and has no concerns that their holidays are impacting their learning, in fact she argues that it is enhancing it.

“My partner and I are both of the firm belief that travel is a massive part of education,” she explains.

“I can hand on heart say we’ve never had any concerns about them missing school work or falling behind.

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Mum-of-11 who has eight baby daddies says people always make assumptions

“Travel just puts learning opportunities in front of you whether that’s speaking a new language or learning the currency, trying new food or embracing a new culture.

“Of course I will counteract that with the fact that some of our holidays are totally resort based.

“But there is learning to be done by the pool especially as both of our boys are avid readers, you’ll rarely see them without a book in their hand!”

While Catherine and Paul are yet to be fined for the unauthorised absences they have been called into a meeting by the school to address the issue.

However, the mum-of-two says that it’s hugely important to be honest with the school when it comes to what the absence is for.

“You have to work with the school, not against it,” she says.

“I think if parents feel guilty or defensive about making that decision that’s where communication breaks down but it is hugely important to be open and honest. 

I can hand on heart say we’ve never had any concerns about them missing school work or falling behind

“Skipping school is a taboo subject and it really makes parents want to be more discreet about it. 

“They’re then not necessarily going to have a conversation with the teachers about whether they can catch up on anything they’ve missed.”

With Noah’s GCSEs approaching next year, Catherine says she will be extremely mindful when it comes to pulling him out of school.

“We always take care that the boys don’t miss anything important,” she says.

“You can debate whether SATs are important or not but the GCSEs are a bit different and that won’t be something I will risk sacrificing.

“We are careful to speak to our children like adults so that they feel they can be honest with us.

“But they have never voiced concerns about having missed anything, they have always gone back as better children after a holiday.

“I think the greater issue lies where children are continually absent or late for school, that is where education really suffers.”

As for the other mums on the playground, Catherine says that she has never had any negative comments about her term-time getaways, quite the contrary.

It’s maximised our budget and opened up a world of options

She says: “The only thing other parents ever say to me is that they are considering doing the same.

“I never give advice, you have to make the decision that’s right for you as a family and it’s as simple as that.”

Catherine says her trips have quite literally given her a world of options when it comes to family getaways.

“We have taken our children to places that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford had we not taken them out of the school,” she explains.

“It’s maximised our budget and opened up a world of options one hundred percent such as Mexico for example.

“Had we gone Saturday to Saturday we would never have been able to afford it.”

Last week dad Steven Doherty, 44, hit back at the Teachers’ Union after he was fined £240 for taking his children away during term time.

The Mancunian dad argued that the strike broke the same attendance rules and suggested the educators should be ‘fined’ in the same way.

However, Catherine, who aims to take her children on one big family holiday and a European break, says that the two issues are chalk and cheese.

She explains, “Going on holiday is not comparable to strikes.

“It’s our choice to go away and take our kids out of school but the strikes are not a result of teachers wanting to close schools, it’s a last resort.

“I am totally sympathetic, they are fighting to improve education for our kids.

“The difference is that no one is falling behind, the whole school shuts down so there’s no work to be catching up on.

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“If I get a fine that’s my responsibility, I’ve made that choice knowing that it’s a possibility.” 

*Name has been changed

Taking your kids out of school – the law

According to a BBC report, during the 2017/2018 academic year, Local Education Authorities in England issued almost 223,000 fines for children being taken out of school for term-time breaks – a rise of 93% on the previous year.

Once your child is registered at a school, the law says you must send them to school every day and on time.

The law changed in September 2013 and schools no longer have the freedom to allow parents to take their children out of school for up to ten days in term time.

Only in exceptional circumstances can you write to the headteacher and ask to take your child out of school.

The head will consider any application carefully and look at the reasons why you need to take your child out of school, the effect on your child's education, the number of days your child will be away, your child’s attendance record.

Then head will tell you when your child must be back in school.

Previously heads could grant 10 days of authorised absence but they are now unable to grant any at all.

It has been revealed that almost 20,000 people were taken to court in 2015 after their children missed school without permission – an increase of more than a fifth.

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