Tour op urges parents to law-break

16th March 2014, by Abi Butcher

MountBase is offering to pay fines given to parents who take kids out of school

MountBase is offering to pay fines given to parents who take kids out of school

A ski tour operator is being lambasted for offering to pay the fine imposed on parents for taking their children on a ski holiday during time term.

MountainBase, a tour operator based in Bedfordshire that offers holidays in Morzine, made its offer in an advert on Facebook last week. The offer read: “Book a week with children at MountainBase / Inferno we will if you receive a fine from your school / local authority pay the fine on copy of a receipt from yourselves. This is based on any booking in March/April except the free ski pass option.”

But speaking on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine lunchtime programme on Friday, 14 March, Bryony Baynes, head teacher of Ashton under Hill First School in Evesham said MountainBase’s offer was an “outrageous gimmick”.

“It’s telling people ‘come on holiday, it doesn’t matter about education’, and encouraging parents to break the law,” said Ms Baynes.

MountainBase owner Lee Quince, himself a parent, agreed his company’s offer was “immoral” but told the BBC’s Jeremy Vine that it was up to parents to decide.

Last September, the UK Government introduced new regulations that stopped schools from allowing children 10 days a year leave for family breaks in ‘special circumstances’. If parents do take children on holiday during term time, they face a fine of up to £60 per pupil, rising to £120 if not paid within a week. If a parent refuses to pay, they could be given a further fine of £2,500 or face up to three years in jail.

In February, a survey by family operator Club Med, showed that half of parents would be willing to take their children out of school during term time — despite the fact it is illegal.

Mr Quince added: “As tour operators we are tarnished for increasing our prices during half term, but we have to be able to balance the books — we don’t get anywhere near the traffic at other times of the year. We want to encourage people to holiday at other times.”

Back to news

Recent news

Share |