Are we justified to play hooky for a holiday?

Every family needs a holiday; it’s a chance to spend some real quality time together away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However with school holiday prices going sky high, many parents are choosing to risk the wrath of the local authorities to take their children on holiday in term-time.

Recently Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, won the first case of its kind, to avoid paying a fine for taking his children out of school to go on holiday. Mr Platt quickly became vilified by those against his decision and hero worshipped by those in favour.

Reading about this in the press got me thinking about whether my wife and I would ever consider taking our children out of school for a holiday.

Paying and booking a holiday for four is not so easy, with prices and availability being at a premium, and I can totally understand that for some families taking a summer holiday can leave a huge hole in the family purse, so by taking the hit of a fine and the wrath of the headteacher, it can mean the chance of some quality time together without the threat of having to re-mortgage the house.


Many will say that it sets a bad precedent to allow unauthorised absences to go unpunished, that children follow the school rules and so should their parents. Indeed, there are other negatives for teachers too, who might have to set aside work so an absent child can catch up.

But having thought long and hard about if it were me, it’s my belief that if, like in the case of Mr Platt, whose children actually had excellent attendance the rest of the school year, the right circumstances and assurances are given, there should be no reason not to allow families to spend some much needed time together, and enjoy the enrichment that such family time brings to children and adults alike, and perhaps people that do might not be made to feel so ashamed.

Twitter: @eliistender10

About Giles Paley-Phillips
Each month award-winning children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips picks three of the best reads for kids.