One in four parents pretend child is ill to go on holiday

Some 25% of parents are likely to pretend their child is ill during term time to take them on holiday, a survey has found.

Monday, 4th July 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:13 pm
Taking the kids on holiday ... easier said than done sometimes

The findings into how working parents juggle holiday leave revealed a quarter admitted to having “played truant” in the past by telling a school their child was ill or making another excuse to take them on holiday during term time before the cost rockets.

Parents in the Midlands, London, the north east of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and East Anglia were most likely to have taken their children on holiday during term time in the past after claiming they were ill, the research by Nationwide Savings found.

Those in Scotland and the south-west of England were least likely to have used a pretend illness as an excuse.

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Holiday firms charge premium prices for family holidays outwith term time which some parents say forces them to take their children out of school before the end of term.

For example a five-day break in Woburn Forest Centre Parcs from 6 June 2016 was listed at £499 for a family of four booking a two-bedroom Woodland Lodge, but jumped by £650 (130 per cent) to £1,149 from 25 July for the same holiday.

Parents in England face fines of £60 per child per parent for unauthorised absences, rising to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days .

In Scotland the summer school terms finish around the end of June, a fortnight earlier than in England and Wales meaning parents can take advantage of cheaper holidays at the beginning of July.

Pupils in Scotland can be taken out on term-time holidays only in exceptional circumstances such as a parent being in the armed services or to allow a family to recover from distress.

In May Jon Platt, who took his daughter out of school for a holiday, won his case against paying a £120 fine in the High Court in London. The UK government has since said it will consider altering the legislation.

A recent Freedom of Information request revealed 98 local education authorities issued 50,414 fines in 2014-15 for children being taken out of school for term time family holiday in England – a 25 per cent rise on the year before and up 173 per cent from the 18,284 fines in 2012-13.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell of Nationwide Building Society said: “As our research shows, planning a family holiday can be a tricky process, with parents revealing not just the financial pressures but also the impact on family and working relationships.”