‘I’ve saved £10k taking my kids on holiday in term time – I’ll do it every year’

A mum who claims she’s saved almost £10,000 by taking her kids on holiday during term time says she "stands by" her choice. She even plans to do the same thing next year to save on cash.

Rachel Smith, 33, takes her children Brayden, 11, and Elianna, nine, out of school every year during term time – an act that usually results in fines. The single mum says she saved £3,000 last year alone by doing so.

READ MORE: Mum fined for child's term time holiday says she learnt more in Spain than at school

The mum, who works in finance, took the pair to Majorca and Magaluf in May and June rather than peak-season August which is far more expensive. In doing so, she frequently receives £60-per-child fines, but she says this is a "no brainer" as "it's nothing compared to the cost of holidays in the school holidays".

They family have jet off on four holidays so far during term time. Plus they’re ready to fly out to Majorca next week on another fun trip.

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 experience 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."

Rachel started her term time trips in May 2018 when the family flew to Ibiza when Brayden was five and Eliana was four. A year later they visited Magaluf in Majorca, Spain, during term time.

Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to their plans for two years. But, they more than made up for the loss by holidaying in Magaluf again in May last year, followed by a trip to Can Picafort in Majorca, Spain, in June.

Rachel was handed a fine for each of her children last year for their Can Picafort trip, amounting to £120 – but claims she saved £3,000 on the holiday by using term-time dates so doesn’t care about the fee.

She was given the same fines for both children for their 2019 holiday, and a fine for Brayden's absence during their Ibiza trip as Eliana was not yet required to be in mandatory school.

After Braden finishes his SATs next week they’ll be boarding a plane when they should be in school once again.

Rachel said: "I don't think them missing school to go on holiday once a year has been detrimental to their education at all. 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 culture, they have a massive social awareness and they're learning another language.”

She continued: “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 parents should be given a select number of days they are allowed to take their children out of school each year to make holidays more affordable.

She explained: "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."


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