Parents: term-time fines are fine by us

Published on : Tuesday, November 5, 2013

download-4The threat of a £60 fine for a rule-breaking term-time break is not a deterrent for more than a third of parents, reveals the World Travel Market 2013 Industry Report released today (Monday 4 November).



Education Secretary Michael Gove is cracking down on headteachers’ right to give parents discretionary leave, so families face fines of £60 per child for holidays which clash with term-times. News of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy hit the headlines over the summer, in advance of the new rules which came into force in September 2013.



According a survey of 1,001 UK 2013 holidaymakers by World Travel Market, which takes place in London this week, more than half of the respondents (55%) were aware of the legislation.



Just over half of the respondents had children (514) and more than a third of these (37%) say they would be prepared to pay a fine of £60 per child to take them out of school during term time for holidays.



Figures from the Nationwide Building Society in summer 2013 showed the extent of the price differentials – and why parents are prepared to break the rules, as even with fines term-time breaks are much cheaper than the school holiday rates.



A UK break to Center Parcs in Wiltshire, for example for a family of four, was £1,038 in early July, but the price rose to £1,928 when the school holidays began.



For a EuroDisney break, prices ranged from £2,262 in the first week of July to £2,631, while a package deal to Spain ranged from £1,501 to £2,558 over the same periods – an increase of more than £1,000 for those who wait for school holidays.



Reed Travel Exhibitions, Senior Director, World Travel Market, Simon Press said: “The cost of school holidays in term-times has long been a bugbear for many families who complain of rip-off prices in peak season.



“But the travel industry has to price its products according to demand and more people across Europe, not just in the UK, want to take holidays in July and August, at Easter and at Christmas, so prices rise during these times, which exacerbates the price differences.”



He added: “However, the industry does what it can to help cash-strapped families and package tour operators offer thousands of free child places for early bookers and lower fares for children.



“The trade is also lobbying over the issue, such as Travelzoo and its e-petition to Parliament, which aims to fight the ‘parent trap’ of government legislation, taxes and higher school holiday prices.



“It will be interesting see how the new rules affect term-time bookings – but looking further ahead, there is hope on the horizon as schools will have greater freedom over the length of terms and holidays from September 2015.”



Source:- WTM London


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