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

The family say they were made to feel like criminals for going on holiday during term time (Picture: SWNS)

A dad has defended his decision to take his two children on holiday out of term time twice because it was £8,000 cheaper.

Paul Benson and his family, from Redcar in North Yorkshire, were shocked when their children’s school fined them £480 in total for two trips to Disney World in Florida.

He said the primary school ‘ostracised’ their children and the family were made to feel like going on holiday was ‘criminal activity’.

Paul defended the holidays in September 2018 and 2022 which cost the family £3,700 for a two-week stay for each, rather than £12,000 in peak season.

The 35-year-old 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.

They have been to Disney World Florida during term time twice (Picture: Paul Benson/SWNS)

‘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.’

The dad said on both occasions teachers warned the family including wife Jessica, 34, and their three children Ruby, 12, George, 10 and Olive, 2, about taking the time out.

The school said it informed Redcar and Cleveland Council about the unauthorised holidays.

Paul has called for councils to be more ‘fair’ after learning parents from other schools had not been fined for doing similar things.

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

Dad Paul said councils should be fairer when reaching a decision (Picture: Paul Benson/SWNS)

Jessica is limited in terms of how much time she can take off because she works for the NHS (Picture: Paul Benson/SWNS)

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

‘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.”‘

The dad said Jessica was limited in the time she could take off because she works for the NHS.

More: Trending

He continued: ‘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 holidays.

‘It was a massive sting trying to get Christmas presents, and then you get that massive £240 fine coming through the door.’

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has been approached for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check our news page.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *