Half of parents taken children on holiday during school term

Half of parents taken children on holiday during school term

More than half of parents in England admit to taking their child out of school for a holiday during the school term, according to a poll.

And more than a quarter (29%) of 2000 parents surveyed said they were planning to take their children out of school for a family holiday this year, the majority (66%) doing so during the summer term.

Cheaper holidays and difficulty in getting time off work were the main reasons given by parents for taking their children on holiday during term time, the survey by LV= travel insurance found.

The survey also revealed that one in five (20%) parents had sought the school's for permission for a term-time holiday and had been refused.

One in eight (12%) admitted resorting to fibbing to take their children out of school for a holiday. The most common excuses included pretending their child was sick (35%), visiting ill relatives (20%), a family wedding (18%) and a trip for educational purposes (16%).

Of those parents planning to take their child out of school for a term time holiday, more than half (57%) said it was because it was cheaper, while 32 per cent said they felt forced to travel during off-peak times as they cannot afford to go away during the school holidays.

A quarter (26%) of working parents surveyed said they did so because of difficulties getting time off work during the school holidays.

Last year, the number of fines issued to parents for taking their children out of school for a term time holiday rose by 60 per cent compared with the previous year, but 43 per cent of parents said the cost of fines is outweighed by the savings made by booking an off-peak holiday.

Selwyn Fernandes, managing director of LV travel insurance, said: "The difference in price for taking a trip during the school holidays and during term-time is huge.

"It is not surprising that so many parents are willing to risk a fine of £60 when they can save ten times that by holidaying outside of the peak season.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said schools were expected to take a "tough line" on requests to miss lessons, as a few days off could leave youngsters struggling to catch up.

She said: "It's down to schools to consider requests for holiday absence during term time.

"Each request can only be judged on a case-by-case basis, but it is entirely at the head teacher's discretion, and is not a parental right."