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Family fined £480 for taking children out of school to save £8,000 on trips to Disney World

Family fined £480 for taking children out of school to save £8,000 on trips to Disney World

The dad has said the school made them feel like their trip was 'criminal activity'

A dad has defended his decision to pull his kids out of school twice to go on holiday, saying it saved them thousands of pounds.

Paul Benson, 35, and wife Jessica, 34, were fined £480 for taking their children on holiday to Disney World in Florida, but say that booking their holiday in term time meant they saved a whopping £8,000.

The dad-of-three says the trips were treated like ‘criminal activity’ by the school, but they have no regrets about their September holidays as the price of their two-week stays were £3,700, rather than what would have been £12,000 in peak season.

Paul said: “It wasn't so much the fine that bothered us, but because of the fine, it meant it was a criminal activity to be able to spend time with our family.

“Teachers would remind us and say it’s affecting their education, and their education would suffer as a result.

"But our eldest child was one of the top performers in her SATs. So it contradicted what they were saying all the way along. We just found it a massive blow to us.

Ruby, George and Olive at Disney World, Florida.

“My wife said to me it feels like only the privileged people can have a holiday - the super earners who can afford to go. It’s not an equal opportunity.”

Paul, from North Yorkshire, first took his two kids - Ruby and George - out of school in September for a trip to Disney World, Florida, in 2018.

He then repeated the trip last year during the same period when the pair, now aged 12 and ten respectively, were accompanied by his new baby Olive, two.

But he claims that on both occasions he was warned about taking the breaks during school time.

“Our school is quite hot on attendance,” he explained. “The school basically informed us that they are going to pass it on to the local authority.

“And it’s the local authorities that issue the fine. Both of them we got them in the first week of December.

The family feel 'only the privileged people can have a holiday' due to the prices during the summer holidays.

“We’d got to parents evening and they say ‘Your child is not doing as well as you’ve gone on holiday and that’s going to have a massive impact on their learning'.

"And in September, the head teacher pulled me aside. They said, 'I hope you’re not planning to go on any trip to Florida or trips abroad this year as it’s going to impact your child’s education'."

Paul says that his wife, who works for the NHS, struggles to get time off work during school holidays.

He added: “My wife works for the NHS, so obviously during the pandemic, there was a massive backlog for operations. It’s very competitive when staff want to take holidays. She couldn’t really take time off during the [school] holidays.

“And they’re learning about travelling abroad and the different culture over there, different ways of doing things.”

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: UK News, Travel