Important warning for parents as new rules about taking children out of school for holidays are introduced

Here's everything you need to know about the new rules for parents who take their children out of school for holidays

Dad and daughter going on holiday
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Department for Education have implemented new rules and punishments for parents who take their children out of school for holidays in an attempt to 'boost attendance' in schools - here's exactly what you need to know. 

The Government has long been trying to help parents out. From dealing with childcare, like the 15 hours free childcare all parents receive to the 30 hours free childcare scheme the government promises will be rolled out by September 2025, to a new bill that could see added support for parents struggling with seriously ill children. But while they're all for supporting parents, they're also implementing rules that punish parents who break the rules. 

Their main priority over the past few months has been refining the rules and regulations over taking kids out of school for family holidays. And now there's some new rules coming into force this September [2024] for parents to follow as the government attempt to boost flailing school attendance levels. 

The new guidance will punish parents of children who are regularly missing school, namely parents in England who take their children out of class without permission for holidays. The punishment for this will be higher fines. Whereas the fines currently start at £60, with the cost rising to £120 if they are not paid within 21 days, the new fines will cost £80, and double to £160 if unpaid. 

The fines will be enforced as schools will now be required to share their daily attendance sheets with The Department for Education and local councils so they can pick out absences. 

The fines will be given out for 'unauthorised absences,' meaning any unjustified reason for taking children out of school, including for holidays. The reason for this focus is that between 2022 and 2023 more children took unauthorised time off from school than ever before, with nearly 400,000 penalty notices being issued to parents in England. 

Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, said of the new rules, “Our fantastic schools and teachers unlock children’s imagination, potential and social skills which is why improving attendance is my number one priority.

“Today we are taking that next step to further boost attendance and I want to thank those who are working with us including teachers and heads. Education standards have risen sharply across the country, with Ofsted ratings up from 68% to nearly 90% since 2010 – and pupils’ performance is ranked as some of the best globally – so it has never been more valuable to be in school.”

Much like how the government's Family hub scheme has enraged parents, with many saying it is not the answer to stopping school absence, the new fines have been criticised for unfairly punishing parents of students who struggle with mental health and therefore find it difficult to get into school everyday. However, Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that the new rules shouldn't impact these students as they focus predominately on pupils who are removed from school for term-time holidays.

"It is important to understand that these fines predominately relate to pupils who are taken out of school for term-time holidays. While nobody wants to be in a position of fining parents there simply has to be a marker that this is not acceptable.

“Not only does it affect the child’s education but it means teachers then have to spend time helping children to catch-up with lost learning. If everybody did this it would be chaos.”

In other school-related news, one in three parents believe the pandemic showed children do not need to go to school every day and if you have a child not settling at school, one mum shares her experience – and what she did.

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.