A new YouGov research carried out on behalf of Nationwide Building Society shows that over a third of parents take their children out of school during term time to get a good deal on a holiday.
The survey which was carried out on British parents of children attending school aged 5 to 16, revealed that parents are risking penalties and even the threat of prosecution as more than a third (36%) are taking their children out of school to avoid paying higher holiday costs.
Of those parents who did opt for term-time holidays, almost one in five (19%) say they lied and told the school their child was sick rather than admit they were off on holiday.
Whilst the issue of term time holidays has garnered more attention in the media and growing threats of financial sanctions by schools, only 6% of parents who took their children out of school admitted they had been punished as a result. The current penalty for unauthorised absence is £60, although courts could levy a fine of up to £2,500.
But given the fact that the premium for a typical holiday in Spain for a family of four could be as much as £1,347 more during school holidays compared with term-time, it's no wonder that parents are still tempted to face the ire of their children's headteacher, plus the threat of a fine, in order to save some significant cash.
For those who had opted to play hooky for holiday, the research showed that:
- 57% took their kids out of school for holiday at the end of term, compared with 18% who chose the start of term and 17% who went for a mid-term break.
- 72% of parents went for a foreign holiday during time term, which would result in greater savings compared with school holidays.
- 62% of children on term-time holidays were from primary school, but the figure almost halved for older children, with 32% of secondary pupils being taken out of school for holiday.