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Up to 1.8m* families set to trade school days for cheaper holidays

16 May 2013

Up to 1.8 million* UK families with school age children have or are considering taking them out of school for some or all of their holiday leading to millions of missed school days for British youngsters. The new research, commissioned by Gocompare.com, also found that on average, parents willing to take their children on holiday in term time were happy for them to miss up to 6.3 days of teaching.

The research also found that 93% of parents willing to take their children out of school feel that travel companies and airlines unfairly push up prices during the school holiday periods and 65% say they simply can't afford to take a holiday when schools are closed.

Brit families will spend an average of £1982.00 on their annual holiday but those families taking some or all of it during term time estimate that it knocks an average of £664.00 off of the cost of their holiday.

  • British families spend an average of £1982.00 on their annual holiday
  • Families taking some or all of their holiday during school term time estimate they save an average of £664.00
  • 75% of families taking their children out of school would take the whole holiday in term time to get a better deal

Of the British families which have already booked or are considering taking some or all of their holiday during school term time:

  • 65% say they can't afford to have a holiday during the school holiday periods
  • 73% would be happy for their children to miss 5 or more school days
  • 23% would be happy for their children to miss 10 or more school days
  • 74% ask the school's permission to take their children out of school
  • 70% take their children out of school anyway even if the school refuses permission
  • 39% have lied to the school about their children's absence in order to have a holiday during term time

Just 14% of parents said they only have holidays with their children during school holiday periods. In the survey, 60% of parents who would take their children on holiday in term time said that their children's school was sympathetic to requests for term time holidays. However, 70% said that they take their children out of school regardless of the school's decision. More than a third (39%) have lied to the school about their child or children's absence in order to have a holiday during term time.

Plans to ban term time holidays and impose automatic fines on parents who take their children on holiday during school time were floated by the Government in February 2012 but later dropped for fear of a backlash from cost conscious parents.

Jeremy Cryer, head of travel at Gocompare.com, commented: "It's an unfortunate fact that the cost of holidays, hotels and flights increase substantially during school holiday periods. This leaves many parents with the difficult decision of whether to take their children out of school to take advantage of lower prices or to bite the bullet and pay the school holiday rates. With an average cost saving of over £600 it's clear to see why many parents choose to take the saving over the schooling.

"Many parents would also argue that a child's education should be more than just time spent in the classroom and that travel broadens a child's horizons, gives them valuable family time and adds to their life experience. If it comes down to a choice between their children missing a few days of school or the family missing out on a holiday altogether, our research shows that millions of parents would choose to take the holiday."

-ends-

Notes to editors:

Gocompare.com commissioned an online survey which ran between 19th-23rd April 2013. The survey was conducted among 436 randomly selected British adults. The adults were all parents with school age children who had been on holiday in the last five years. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

* - There are 7.739m families in UK with dependent children (source ONS Families and Households 2012). 24% (105 of the 436) of survey respondents with school age children have booked or are considering booking a holiday with some or all of it taking place during the school term. 7.739m x 24% = 1.857m

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2012/stb-families-households.html#tab-Families