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Defiant parents vow to carry on term-time holidaying despite risk of prosecution

27 June 2017

Families with school-aged kids still taking drastic action to avoid the ‘family travel tax’

  • 53% of parents of school-aged children would be prepared for their kids to miss five or more days of school to go on a term-time holiday;
  • Parents estimate they could save £652 by taking a term-time break compared with taking one during a school holiday.

Defiant parents are vowing to carry on taking term-time holidays despite the risk of being criminalised for their child’s unauthorised absence, a new survey* reveals.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that parents can be prosecuted for taking their children out of school, without permission, for term-time holidays.

However, new research from GoCompare Travel Insurance, found that just over half (53%) of parents of school-age kids would be prepared for their children to miss five or more school days per academic year in order to go on holiday.  11% of parents said they would lie to the school about these absences, reporting their kids as sick when they are in fact on a term-time holiday.

Gocompare Travel Insurance’s ‘Term-time Holiday’ survey also revealed that the threat of a fine would not prevent 21% of parents of school-aged children from taking a term-time holiday, while only 16% of parents said that they agree with fines for term-time holiday absences.  However, 23% of parents surveyed said they wouldn’t take their kids out of school to go on holiday.

Parents taking a child out of school without permission risk a £60 fine, which doubles to £120 if paid after 21 days.  If the fine still isn’t paid after 28 days, parents face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500, or a maximum three-month jail sentence.

Holiday prices rocket during peak school holiday periods.  On average, the parents of school-aged children surveyed estimated that this adds £651.60 to the cost of their getaway; 16% reckon they could save over £1,000 by holidaying in term-time. 

To find out just how much more a term-time holiday costs, GoCompare Travel Insurance looked at prices for a seven-night holiday for a family of four during term-time (June) compared with a break during the school summer holidays (August).

The August price of a self-catering, two-bed apartment in Tenerife** (£2,464.96) was more than double that of a term-time holiday in June (£1,230.49).  A UK-based holiday in a two-bed lodge at Center Parcs*** costs £850 more in August (£2,008) than in June (£1,158).       

Ella Hastings from GoCompare Travel Insurance, commented, “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.”  

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*On 25 May 2017, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,005 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.  476 of respondents have children aged between the ages 6 and 18.

**Tenerife holiday comparison figures sourced via GoCompare’s partner weholiday.co.uk: Prices are for a seven-night holiday at a two-bed self-catering apartment at the Royal Tenerife Country Club and are inclusive of accommodation, flights and all taxes.  Term-time dates: 24 June 2017 to 1 July; school holiday dates: 5 August to 12 August.

***Centre Parcs holiday comparison figures are for a seven-night stay at Elveden Forest in a newly refurbished two-bed Woodland Lodge.  Term-time dates: 23 June 2017 to 30 June; school holiday dates: 4 August to 11 August.