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Can I take my kids out of their Norwegian school during term time for a holiday?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Can I take my kids out of their Norwegian school during term time for a holiday?
Here are the rules on whether you can take your kids on holiday during term time. Pictured is a beach in the summer. Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Travelling during the holidays can be incredibly expensive. So, you may be tempted to travel during term time, but what do the Norwegian rules say?

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Unfortunately, many families face the highest travel costs when their kids are off school. 

As those without kids will know, the main perks of travelling outside peak times include lower prices and fewer crowds - what’s not to love? 

Therefore, in some countries, it can be considered totally normal to take kids – especially younger ones – out of school for a holiday. But is this possible in Norway? 

In Norway, the Education Act states that all children have the “right and duty” to attend school. 

Under the law, it is the parent’s responsibility, or the children’s carers, to ensure that the children receive that education. 

When children are absent from school without it being cleared by the school, their parents risk being fined. When and how many families will be fined appears at the school’s discretion.

The consequences for taking your children out of school during term time also vary depending on their school level. 

For children in primary and secondary school, you will need to apply for permission from the school for the absence to be authorised. Parents can apply for leave of up to two school weeks (or ten school days). 

Even when applying properly, local authorities and schools can still choose to turn down the request. Requests will also generally be turned down during periods of testing. 

In some cases, schools can accommodate and grant the holiday time and ensure that the children have work or assignments to keep up their education. In other cases, schools will have a blanket policy of rejecting holidays outside of term time. 

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However, if the holiday was combined with a family event, such as a wedding or christening abroad, it may have more chance of being given the green light. 

Therefore, you must speak to the school and local authority before committing to an expensive holiday.

The consequences for older children can be more severe than a fine.

Pupils in high school (videregående) with an undocumented absence rate of 10 percent face not receiving a grade in a subject. This means missing just a few days could put a grade at risk. Furthermore, days where the student is absent also appear on their final diploma. 

Additionally, there isn’t a way for high schools to authorise holidays as an absence. Authorised absences can only be granted for health, welfare, religious, and other events that the student cannot miss and high-level sporting and cultural events. 

This consequence to the student’s grade is on top of any action parents may face for taking their kids out of school.

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