More than two in five people back term-time holidays for families with 8-year-old children, a new survey has found.
But the research by NatCen, published by the Department for Education today, found that people were far less likely to look favourably on taking older children out of school for this reason. Just 25 per cent said it was acceptable to take a 15-year-old on holiday during term time.
The survey results come after one school in Lancashire warned families they could face a fine of up to £1,000 per parent per child for taking children out of school during term. Despite this, education secretary Damian Hinds has said he does not expect fines of this level to be applied.
The NatCen survey, which was carried out in the summer of 2017, asked about legitimate reasons for a child to miss school.
For 8-year-old children, 63 per cent of adults felt it was acceptable to miss school for a funeral, 52 per cent agreed with missing school for a one-off family celebration and 42 per cent for a holiday.
For 15-year-old children, 89 per cent of adults felt it was acceptable to miss school for a funeral, 52 per cent agreed with missing school for a one-off family celebration, but just 25 per cent felt it would be all right to go on holiday.
The survey was based on responses from more than 5,400 adults.
A landmark legal case that concluded in April 2017 upheld the right of a local authority to fine parents who take their children out of school for a holiday.
Jon Platt, a father who took his daughter on a seven-day trip to Disney World in Florida in April 2016, had initially won his case in magistrates’ court against the fine imposed by the Isle of Wight local authority.
He had argued that his daughter had attended school regularly during the rest of the year. The local authority took the case to the High Court, which ruled in favour of Mr Platt. The council then went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of the council.
Official statistics show that unauthorised absences from school have increased four-fold between 2006-07 and 2016-17.