Got children in State schools? Well, you’ll be familiar with the injustice of what TravelZoo are calling ‘The Parent Trap’ then – namely the fact that you have to pay a fine for taking your child out of school before the end of term means that holiday companies and airlines have a license to print money as far as holiday and flight costs go.
But the logic of the fine still seems a bit woolly to most parents. Sure, education is important and (as teachers will be quick to say) ‘rules are rules’ but the benefits of traveling abroad, learning to ask for an ice cream in a foreign language or playing ‘tag’ in a faraway playground, seeing a waterfall close up, learning about customs (and how to be patient going through Customs!) – not to mention the extra contact time spent with a slightly less frazzled Mummy and Daddy (maybe even somewhere so remote that they don’t have the internet to check emails) are not to be denied either. Or how about Great Uncle Albert’s 80th birthday? He can hardly change the date it falls on…
So, do you tell a little fib to get your child out of the classroom and only the plane? And do you justify it by telling yourself you’ll teach them more on vacation than their teacher would be doing anyhow?
TravelZoo recently conducted a survey and the results are eye-opening:
- One in five parents have already lied to their children’s school in order to avoid fines for taking them out of school for a cheaper holiday.
- Over half of UK parents said they were prepared to lie in the coming months.
- Two thirds of parents are also willing to ask their children to continue the deceit and pretend to their teacher that the reason for absence was not a family holiday.
- Over 60 per cent of teachers admitted pupils will mostly be playing games and 50 per cent said they will be watching films and cartoons on the last few days of summer term in both primary and secondary state schools.
So what’s the answer? Not to sit quietly and accept the situation, we think! One solution would be for Headteachers in different counties to slide terms by a few weeks (maybe Devon takes their holidays a fortnight before Yorkshire) and this would make the season longer for tour operators, thus hopefully pushing the price of holidays down.
Taking action to petition for Headteachers to once more have the power to grant discretionary days-off would also make a difference.
Holidays are a luxury, but the rewards and benefits they can bring to a family are un-quantifiable. For lots more information courtesy of TravelZoo go here.
Get informed. Let’s fight the parent trap.