Image via Shutterstock
The travel company at the forefront of a campaign to allow children to take holidays in school term time has welcomed the backing of the Liberal Democrats.
The former government coalition party pledged its support at its conference in Bournemouth.
The Lib Dems said: “It’s vitally important to offer more flexibility to schools and headteachers to help families who need to take a break together.”
Research by Travelzoo has found parents can save as much as 40% by holidaying during term time.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “With 50% of parents admitting they have taken their child out of school – to avoid high holiday costs – this announcement from the Liberal Democrats will be welcomed by families.
“The current policy, which involves fining parents who take their children on holiday during term time is counterproductive. Generally paying the fine – which is charged per child for each unauthorised period of absence – is cheaper for parents than booking a holiday out of term time.
“Shockingly. nearly three quarters of teachers admit they have found parents are lying about reasons for children not being in school – this is a direct result of the removal of the ten days discretionary leave under [former education secretary] Michael Gove’s policies.”
Travelzoo found that almost half (49%) of teachers involved in a recent YouGov survey commissioned by the company said fining parents for unauthorised absences is having a negative effect on teachers relationship with pupils’ families.
More than half (52%) think head teachers should be given back the powers to grant discretionary absences.
“While there is no quick fix, allowing schools to stagger their holiday dates and giving parents the ability – on a case by case basis – to take their child out of school during term time, would help families deal with the ‘parent trap’ of unaffordable holidays and restrictions on when they can spend time together on holiday,” the spokeswoman added.
“We are working with various head teachers, the travel industry and teacher groups to better understand how to make holidays affordable to every parent, teacher and child in the country whilst still making sure all children have a good education. It’s not an easy problem to solve but it’s one we feel strongly about.”