Schools Fine Parents for Taking Kids Out for Vacation

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LONDON, England (WHNT) – A couple in England decided to take their children on vacation in Greece for a week-long holiday. The couple accused the government of imposing “inflexible” holiday rules on headteachers, according to

The couple told the court that they took their children on vacation during the school year because they had inflexible work hours during the school’s summer break.

The school rules say students cannot be out of school for anything short of exceptional circumstances. Stewart Sutherland and his wife Natasha said they do not blame the school or the headteachers that imposed the rules. They do blame the government.

All of this is under the 1996 Education Act in England.


We want to know what you think about this rule. Should parents be fined for taking their children out of school, or does this go too far in trying to keep children in school? Share your answers on our Facebook page. We’ll have some of your comment in the News Pulse on WHNT News 19 at 9:00 p.m.  It airs every weeknight on WHNT2.


  • Valorie

    Typically what happens in Europe is coming our way in the next decade or so. What happened to vacations like Andy took Opie on a trip during school and he was required to write a report on it so everyone had a chance to learn from his opportunity. Our schools are getting very inflexible. I despise what our education system has become, therefore I have chosen to home school my child. We recently took a 3 week trip to California then across county to Minnesota and fit in school on most day, a field trip to the beach, Mount Rushmore and Walnut Grove, MN. It was quite educational. Common sense has left education, politics and parenting for the most part. Sad.

  • Tracy Burton

    Well here in Alabama you can get permission from the principal to take your kids on vacation,you just have to make sure there is something they can learn on the vacation.

  • Brenda Hester

    If you choose to home school your child, please don’t put them in front of a computer as an attempt to teach them Algebra 1. I teach 9th grade advanced geometry in Alabama public schools. When the material gets to difficult for parents, they often decide to enroll their children in public schools. I have often seen transcripts of “A in 8th grade Algebra 1” from home schooled students and it is so sad how far behind they are from the students who took a real Algebra 1 class in Alabama public schools. (I know there are some parents who do a great job. But I have found this to be the exception and not the rule.)PLEASE DON’T TRY TO TEACH YOUR CHILD ALGEBRA 1 UNLESS YOU KNOW ALGEBRA 1 AS WELL AS SOMEONE WITH A DEGREE IN MATH.

      • T K Johnson

        Mrs.Hester, I taught public school in three states, and as a result of what I saw I decided to home school. I have had many students who were seniors and reading on a second grade level. I am now teaching adults who wish to take the GED. All of them have had at least a 10th grade “education” and many are completely illiterate. Please don’t preach to home schoolers until you fix the problems of public education. I can assure you that after working in both the home school world and the public school world that while there are folks doing a poor job in both settings the worst by far are in the public schools. Also, before you start whining that it is because public schools just don’t have the money let me remind you that home schoolers are working without one dime of taxpayer money. The monumental problems with public schools are not caused by a lack of money but by a boneheaded philosophy of education and a educational bureaucracy that does everything it can to protect its turf and the most incompetent teachers in the system while frustrating the good ones. I could easily name a dozen public school teachers (current and former) who now home school as well as twice that many that have told me they wish they could home school their children. A degree in “Education” is proof of nothing other than the ability to make a pretty bulletin board, I have seen parents with nothing but a high school degree do amazing things as home schoolers. What matters most is that they WANT to do a good job. They can find the resources.The only thing that I will agree with you on is that sticking kids in front of a computer and expecting them to learn is foolish. But of course, I know you’ve seen enough of that in public school to realize it doesn’t work.

  • Alicia

    I think we would all do well to remember who the children belong to. It should be up to the parents to decide when the child can and should be out. I believe the attendance standards in place right now provide good guidelines but still believe the final say should be up to the parent as long as the child is maintaining good grades.

    • Brenda Hester

      T.K., I am only speaking from my experiences. As you read, I am only asking parents of home schoolers to actually teach them Algebra 1 before they send them to public schools and have us try to catch them up. I have only seen one 9th grader come out of home schooling with an “A in Algebra 1” who was anywhere close to the other students. I know there are many parents who do a good job. I just think it would be difficult for anyone to teach algebra, geometry, chemistry, biology, English, physical education, calculus, American history, world history, government, health education, music, physics, literature, finance, and art. More power to them.

      • Branko Pezdi

        Brenda, you are basing your premise on an anecdote, whereas the statistics clearly show that home schooled kids are better educated than government schooled kids. Why do you think it would be so difficult to teach the basic subjects you mention? I know that I could teach them better than most government school teachers, but I don’t qualify for a government school teaching job because I don’t have one of them edumicashun degrees.

  • T K Johnson

    And I am only speaking from mine which are from both sides. Yes, it is difficult to teach all of these subjects. However it must be even more difficult for those who are “qualified” according to the education establishment, since they are clearly doing an even worse job. Please get out and meet more home schooled kids. You might just be as shocked as I was many years ago when I started seeing a real sampling of what was going on in home schooling. Education begins with an open mind.

  • skillpot

    Anytime a child is taken out of school to accompany parents on a vacation, the child will learn more than if in the classroom!

    • T K Johnson

      Since you did not aim the comment at public schools as well, that was not your only point. Monday morning why don’t you go around to all of your fellow teachers and tell them they don’t need to be teaching if they don’t know their subject or care about whether it is being taught. You won’t do that will you? And don’t tell me all your teachers are competent. Even you don’t believe that. Get your nose out of the latest AEA propaganda and meet more home schoolers. Open your mind just a crack, Brenda. The fresh air will do wonderful things for you.

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