New research by an online travel agency in the UK has revealed that one in two parents with children aged between 4 and 16 plan to take them out of school during term time for a holiday, with 82% saying that they would be prepared to pay a fine. The majority stated that they didn’t think time out of school would affect their youngster’s education in the long run.
Half of parents with children aged between 4 and 16 years old in the UK are prepared to face potential fines over the next year after admitting that they plan to take their children out of school for a holiday during term time. The majority of these, 91%, will do so in order to save money on their family trip; whilst 24% admitted to doing the same during the last school year.
1,996 parents from around the UK, all of whom had school-aged children, took part in the survey conducted by online travel agency www.sunshine.co.uk. They were required to answer questions about holiday plans with their youngsters as part of ongoing research by the travel agency into holiday trends, particularly amongst families and parents.
Initially, everyone taking part was asked ‘Did you take your child out of school during term time for a holiday in the last academic year?’ to which 24% said ‘yes’. When all respondents were asked if they planned to take their children out of school over the next 12 months for a holiday, almost half (49%) said ‘yes’, suggesting that the number will more than double (an increase of 104%).
82% of the parents who did plan to take their children out of school over the next year said that they’d be willing to pay a fine to do so. When asked how much they would be prepared to pay, the average answer once all responses were taken into account was ‘£210.00’.
All relevant respondents were asked why they would take their children out of school for a holiday during term time instead of waiting until the designated holiday weeks, and told they could select more than one answer. The most common answers were as follows:
- To save money – 91%
- To coincide with a special occasion (e.g. their birthday) – 42%
- To coincide with the best weather in chosen destination – 23%
- To fit with when other family members can go – 16%
- To fit with my work commitments/annual leave – 9%
The majority of those who said that they did plan to take their children out of school over the next school year (66%) felt that time out of school during term-time would have ‘no effect whatsoever’ on their child’s education in the long-run.
When looking at regional differences, parents from the North West (and specifically Liverpool) were most likely to take their children out of school during term time for a holiday, whilst those in the South West (and specifically Bristol) were the least likely to do so.
Chris Clarkson, Managing Director of sunshine.co.uk, said the following:
“I often think parents act too quickly in terms of taking their kids out of school during term time for a holiday, because there are really good deals to be had during school holidays too. Sometimes, by the time you pay a fine, it could have worked out cheaper to go away in the actual holiday time that gets provided.
“Don’t act too impulsively and make sure you shop around for deals. You might be pleasantly surprised and your child might not have to miss any school at all!”