Almost half of parents 'take child out of school for holiday'

Many parents admit that they have taken children out of school because holidays in the summer break are too expensive

Tes Reporter

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Almost half of parents have taken their child out of school to go on holiday, with many saying it is too expensive to go away during the summer break, a poll suggests.

More than one in four (27 per cent) of mothers and fathers say they have taken their youngster out of lessons for a trip on more than one occasion, according to a survey commissioned by Co-op Insurance.

And a further one in five (19 per cent) say they have done so once.

Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of those that have taken their child away during term time, or would consider doing so, said it is too expensive to take them on holiday during the summer holidays.

More than one in four (27 per cent) said they had taken the decision because it was the only time they or their partner could take leave from work.

And just under a quarter (23 per cent) agreed that it was quieter to go away during term time.

The findings, published as the six-week holidays approach, also indicate that some parents are taking their child out of school for a week or more.

Of those that have taken their son or daughter away during term time, 25 per cent said that their child had missed a week of lessons, while 8 per cent said they had missed up to two weeks.

Unauthorised absence

Some 8 percent said their child had missed just one day, 26 per cent said they had missed two days, 20 per cent said they had missed three days and 13 per cent said their child had missed four.

The issue of term-time holidays has consistently been in the spotlight since a government crackdown on school absence in 2013.

Parents can be fined £60 if their child misses school without permission – including for holidays.

This rises to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days. Parents who fail to pay can be prosecuted.

Ministers have argued that no child should be taken out of school without good reason, and that missing just one day can affect a pupil's chances of getting good GCSE results.

Around one in six pupils missed lessons last year for term-time holidays, according to government figures.

The statistics showed a rise in the number of youngsters taking at least half a day out of school to go away with their families, while at the same time the proportion of parents fined for taking their youngsters out of school without permission fell.

The majority of fines issued – more than three-quarters (77.5 per cent) – were for unauthorised holidays.

In May 2016, a father won a high-profile High Court case after taking his daughter out of school for a holiday to Disney World, Florida, without permission.

The case was later referred to the Supreme Court, where the father involved, Jon Platt, lost in April last year.

 The survey, by Atomik Research, questioned 2,000 parents in April.

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