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Can I take my child out of school in Spain to go on holiday?

The Local Spain
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Can I take my child out of school in Spain to go on holiday?
Can I take my kids out of school for travel purposes in Spain? Photo: Bob Dmyt / Pixabay

There may be several reasons you take your kid out of school, but what if you want to take them out for a holiday, a family event or extended travel?


In some countries, taking your child out of school for a holiday or a family wedding abroad for example is not allowed, but what are the rules in Spain? Do you have to justify a specific event or reason or could it simply be that travel is cheaper outside of school holidays and you want to make sure you can get the best deal?

In Spain, according to the law, schooling is compulsory both in Primary Education and in Compulsory Secondary Education. Monitoring of attendance is carried out in classrooms to detect how much school a child is missing.

READ ALSO: What are the laws on homeschooling in Spain? 

The simple answer is yes, you can take your children out of school in Spain for travel purposes, but there are a few points to keep in mind.  

In Spain, it’s unlike the UK, where according to the UK government, fines for school absences start at £60, rising to £120 if you fail to pay within 21 days.

As long as the travel or holiday is justified and the school agrees, it can be done and you will not incur fines. 


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What are the steps involved?

The first point is that it’s important that you notify the school or teacher well in advance to ensure that it does not harm your child educationally.  

You need to make sure that the days of absence don’t coincide with an exam or an introduction to a new important topic for example.

If you inform the school far enough in advance, solutions can be proposed to compensate for the absence, this may mean homework while away.  

The second important point to remember is that it must be justifiable. You may need to take your children out for a particular reason such as a family celebration on a certain day or your job may not give you vacation time during school holidays.

Your possibilities to travel may be limited and may have to coincide with the school calendar.

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What is allowed and what is not?

It's really down to you and the school to come to some agreement that works for all. You must remember though that absences from school due to travel cannot become a regular occurrence.

It’s ok if it’s once in a while, but if it’s every month simply because you want to take a long weekend or every week because you don’t work on Fridays for example, this won’t be allowed.  

If you want to take your children out of school for extended travel, this may also prove to be a problem. A few days or even a week may be ok, but if it’s a couple of months, then your child may end up missing a lot of essential lessons.  

How long you can take them out for may depend on the age of the child, what work they might miss, and what your kid’s teacher or school thinks of your proposal. It’s important to make an agreement with the child’s best interests in mind and that works for everyone. Family time and travel can also be great educational experiences for kids, but you need to ensure they don't miss too much school. 

Before primary education, school is not compulsory, however, you must also justify absences when your children do not go to school.      


Are there consequences for regularly taking my child out of school for travel?

As mentioned previously, absences from school must be justified. If a student frequently misses classes without justification or if there is justification, but it is suspected that there may be a neglect of duties and that minors are being deprived of their right to education, schools are obliged to bring the situation to the attention of the social services so that the case can be looked into further.  

This is known as absenteeism and may result in fines or other punishments. Fines are set locally by municipalities and are usually around €1,500 for serious cases, but they can be higher in certain places.

These are usually only enforced if a child misses 20 percent of classes or more.  


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