Parents willing to risk fines for term time holidays

Measures designed to prevent parents taking children out of school for their family holiday appear to be failing. The often exorbitant prices charged by travel firms during the school holidays has given rise to an increase in truancy as parents risk being fined in order to bag a bargain break.

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A survey of 400 parents carried out by, revealed that almost half (48 per cent) admitted to taking their child out of class for the family holiday.

One third of those said their decision to take term time breaks was purely down to cost but one in four believe travel to be an important part of a child's education.

Term time holidays are now second only to illness when it comes the most common reasons for school absence, despite the threat of fines, or even jail time, for those condoning truancy.

But with prices being hiked by up to 42 per cent for a two-week family break during school holidays, many are simply taking their chances in a bid to get away.

From 2009 to 2010, more than 25,600 parents were fined for taking holidays during term time - a 23 per cent rise on the previous 12 months.

And figures published by the Department for Education found that approximately one third of term time days taken for holiday were not authorised by the school.

Bob Atkinson, from, told The Telegraph: "My advice to parents considering taking their children out of school would be firstly to seek permission from the school, secondly opt for taking time out at the end of the term rather than the beginning and finally, if you can select a holiday that offers clear educational benefit in terms of culture, language, history, art or skills, it may be a persuading factor for the school."

What do you think? Are you prepared to risk a fine to get a cheaper holiday or do you believe taking children out of school is a bad idea? Leave your comments below...