Half term’s on the horizon and I’m checking holiday flights in the hope of catching some Autumn sun. But the prices are beyond sky high.
One website I looked at came up with a whopping £2,000 to fly a family of four to Cyprus during half term, yet one week later those same four seats cost £800. And on holiday website TravelSupermarket.com you can shave £1,000 off a week’s stay in Lanzarote by postponing your trip by a week.
With this continued hike up of school holiday prices I’m not surprised recent figures from the Department for Education show 24,000 children miss school every day, largely due to cheap term time holidays.
With big savings to be made, let’s be honest most of us are probably a little bit tempted to take our children out of school to save money…
I’m not ashamed to admit we enjoyed some great family holidays during term time while my daughter was at primary school, although always with the school’s permission.
Government guidelines, as you’d expect, are against taking children out of school, although head teachers can authorise up to ten days absence a year.
Whether you get the go ahead is down to your school, so if you do want a term time trip it’s about convincing the school your child’s education won’t suffer. A good starting point is checking the school’s policy before talking to the head and offering to take homework with you.
If the school refuses and you go anyway, a ‘no show’ can be classed as truancy which can incur a £100 fine. But for cash strapped parents it’s not hard to see how the threat of a £100 fine can easily be outweighed by the potential huge holiday savings.
With Government proposals for a double inflation rise in air passenger duty from next April, it won’t surprise me if more parents don’t flout the law in order to give their kids a holiday.
Sue Hayward is a money and consumer broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue writes and talks on family finance on both radio and television and contributes to many of the women’s magazines and money websites. Sue’s written two books, the latest of which is ‘How To Get The Best Deal’.