Earlier in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that parents could be prosecuted for taking children out of school and on holiday during term time without permission. Justices upheld a fine that had been handed down to a father for taking his daughter on an unauthorised week-long break in April 2015.
But now a study – carried out by GoCompare Travel Insurance – has just revealed that 53 per cent of parents who have children in school would be prepared for them to miss at least five days of school in order to go away during term time.
Some 11 per cent of parents said that they would actually lie to their schools about the absences, reporting them as sick when they’re actually off on holiday. And 21 per cent said that the threat of a fine wouldn’t put them off the idea – taking a child out of school without permission can result in a £60 fine which would double to £120 if not paid after 21 days. If the fine isn’t paid after 28 days, parents could face prosecution, a fine up to £2,500 or even a maximum three-month jail sentence.
“Britain’s parents are stuck between a rock and a hard place, facing fines for taking their kids out of school during term-time, or being left out of pocket by the price of family getaways during the school holidays.
“With no leeway on when they can go on holiday, families with school-aged kids are effectively being charged a family travel tax. This may explain why, despite term-time holidays being criminalised, many families say they are still prepared to take their kids out of lessons to have a family holiday,” GoCompare Travel Insurance’s Ella Hastings said.
Of course, part of the problem is that it can be very expensive for parents to take their kids away during school holidays. Providers can push their prices up because more people want to go abroad outside term time and hotels and flights get booked up quickly.
If you don’t want to risk prosecution, there are ways you can travel in holiday time and keep costs to a minimum. For example, trips between mid to late August are usually the cheapest and the further in advance you can book the less expensive it’ll be as well.
Holidaying during the middle of the week can also help cut costs, while looking out for special offers might be wise if you’re not too bothered about where you go. There are lots of places you can go to that won’t break the bank, such as Spain which has a lovely climate and is inexpensive – so perfect for a little family holiday once your kids have broken up for the summer.
If you do go away this year with the kids, just don’t forget your travel baby changing mat if you have very little ones with you. You don’t want to get caught short, after all!