by Telegraph Travel, The Telegraph, October 12, 2017
Are you planning to cheat this half-term with an early holiday? You’re not alone.
Half of British parents have admitted that they will take their children out of school for a holiday either side of the half term break, to avoid the higher costs of travel during school holidays, according to a new survey.
Not only are they breaking the rules by taking their children out during term time, but nearly half of them will lie about doing it.
A survey of 1,000 British parents from easyCar.com found that more than half (56 per cent) of parents will be taking their children out of school during this school term for a family holiday, despite the upcoming half-term break.
Of those parents, nearly half (46 per cent) confessed that they will lie about why they are taking their children out of school.
Nearly a quarter of parents (22 per cent) said they plan to pretend that their child is ill, while one in 10 will pretend that they have to attend a funeral.
Since September 2013, under guidance from the Department of Education, children can only be taken out of school during term time in “exceptional circumstances”.
If they skip school during term time, parents face a £60 fine. That doubles to £120 if it is not paid within three weeks.
Those failing to pay face prosecution – and a fine of a maximum of £2,500 following prosecution, or up to three months in prison.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of the parents said they would be prepared to pay the school fine if they were caught, just to avoid the high costs of holidays during peak periods.
Parents surveyed said the main reason for taking term-time holidays was that they would not be able to afford a holiday if they had to pay the higher half-term prices.
Two thirds (61 per cent) of those surveyed blamed the fluctuation of the pound since the Brexit vote on their inability to afford holidays.
The legalities of when a child must attend school and enforcement of the law in this area depends on the LEA and also whether you are in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Private schools set their own rules.
The only current exceptions where a child can miss school lawfully are when the child is too ill to attend, or if the parent has had advance consent from the school, which means that it is “authorised”.