Parents risk fines with term-time holidays


More than half of parents are willing to risk fines by taking their children on holiday during term time, according to a survey by Direct Line.

The hike in travel and accommodation prices during official school holidays mean many parents are risking the wrath of head teachers in order to save money.

With holiday prices during the summer averaging 43% (£790) more than during term-time – according to data from Santander – it is easy to see the dilemma faced by parents throughout the country.

Government guidelines state that schools can impose fines of £50 to parents if their child has an unauthorised absence, and schools are free to implement additional policies and penalties.

Swayed by savings
Yet many parents (43%) say they don't know what the policy is at their child's school. Cutting holiday costs is a top priority for most, with big savings tempting many to take the controversial decision to book a trip during term time.

Of the parents willing to take their children out of school for a holiday, two-thirds (67%) of the respondents who said they would consider taking their children on holiday during term time would do so for a saving of £500 or less, while one in six (17%) would take their children on holiday during term-time for a saving of just £50.

Risk to studies
The study found that the age of children and the importance of their studies in later years had little effect on parents' willingness to book term-time holidays, with almost half of the parents of 14-18 year olds (48%) willing to take their children out of school during the crucial GCSE and A-level years.

Frances Browning, spokesperson for Direct Line, said:"Parents may feel they have a tough choice: either pay over the odds to travel with the crowds during the school holidays, or take their children out of school to save hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a family holiday.

"If a school imposes fines for absences, the holiday savings might not be worth the cost, so we recommend that families look for other ways to save on their holidays."

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