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Almost half of parents ‘take children away in school term time’

Almost half (41%) of parents admit to taking children on holiday during term time with price cited as the main reason.

Research by travel search engine Kayak found that 69% of parents who have taken their children out of school for a holiday informed the school of their plans and did not get fined despite stricter government regulations governing term-time breaks.

However, 13% said that despite speaking to the school, they still received a fine.

Sixteen per cent of parents were not honest with the school about the reason their children were not in attendance and didn’t receive a fine.

Just 11% of those who were dishonest received a fine compared to 16% of those who were truthful.

The main reason parents take their children out of school for holidays during term time is price (39%).

Cost is not the only reason some parents favour holidays during term time.

Of those who take their children out of school, 27% say it is more convenient for them to do so, while 17% believe that it is up to them as parents to decide when to take their children on holiday, and not the school.

In many cases, the saving parents can make by going on holiday during term time can be significantly more than the standard £120 fine set by government, reduced to £60 if paid in 21 days.

A return flight to Lanzarote in the first week of this year’s Easter holidays comes in at £298 per person – but during the first week of the following term, the price falls to just £141, according to the travel site.

This represents a price increase of 111% during the school holidays and would cost a family of four £628 more in flight costs alone.

Malaga flights are on average £148 during the second week of the Easter holidays, but fall to £101 one week later. Reykjavik flights costs fall from £163 to £109 during the same period.

Price differences can be far greater during the summer peak. For example, flights to Orlando in the second week of the school summer holidays cost on average £752. Yet the price drops to £415 the first week after term resumes.

This represents a price difference of 81% or £337 per person – a difference of £1,348 for a family or four for flights alone, according to Kayak.

The company’s senior director Cassian Silins said: “Planning a family holiday can be stressful, and with prices skyrocketing during the school holidays, that stress can increase.

“It is simply a case of supply and demand – more people want to go at the same time, and therefore prices increase to reflect this.

“Given the current fine is £60 if paid promptly, it might not be a huge financial deterrent for parents when the difference in price between going away during the holidays and term time can go up to thousands of pounds when all costs are taken into account.

“However, we can see that even during school holidays some destinations go up less than others, and prices reduce towards the end of the school holidays – so with the right planning, taking a holiday in the last week or two can save parents hundreds on flight costs compared to going at the start or in the middle.”

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