08 January 2006
Over 75% of parents say it is OK to take their kids on holiday during school term time, according to a new survey.
As Tony Blair plans to introduce £50 fixed-penalty notices for parents who play "holiday truant", 78% of them have rejected his plans in a survey on leading family travel website takethefamily.com. Despite the threatened fines, the ”Every Lesson Counts” campaign, as well as travel industry plans to offer discounts and free child places during school holidays, parents are still planning to take their kids out of school during term time to save money.
SCHOOLS BREAK UP. PRICES SOAR UP.
This February half term, a week in Lanzarote with Expedia will cost from £3,294 compared with just £1,299 the week after (Aparthotel Lanzarote Paradise plus flights and car).
Lucy Ace, managing director of takethefamily.com, said: "Parents have just had enough of these price hikes. Yes, the government has tried to make a difference. But what good is a £50 discount or a free child place
if the overall holiday cost is so much higher.”
"It's OK for Tony Blair's family jetting off to Barbados and staying in Sir Cliff's holiday villa but most families simply don't have that sort of money."
"At takethefamily.com, we believe parents should be allowed to take full advantage of their 10 day allowance. Especially if it's used for educational trips.
"That could be improving language skills by ordering a croissant in a Paris cafe or learning about the pyramids first hand on a trip to Egypt.”
"Such trips are hard enough for parents with normal prices. But the extra increase during school holidays makes it almost prohibitive."
In the takethefamily.com survey 34% of parents said a maximum of 5 term time holiday days was OK, 29% said they simply do it because it”s cheaper while 15% said it was acceptable for educational trips only.
A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "Taking a holiday during term-time can mean children miss important school time and coursework. A term-time holiday is all too often seen as the rule. It should
be the exception."
Head teachers can authorise 10 days holiday during term time. But they are increasingly coming under pressure to do so only in exceptional circumstances.