Travelzoo Parent Trap Study Reveals What Parents and Teachers Really Think about Term Time Holiday

A new study by travel deals company Travelzoo has revealed the lengths UK parents are now prepared to go to in order to avoid the government’s controversial fines for term-time holidays. The study also uncovers the untold story of what UK teachers think about the fines and about skipping school early to get a cheaper holiday.

Travelzoo’s ‘Parent Trap 2015 Study’ polled over 2000 parents of state-school children, and 500 primary- and secondary-school teachers. The study found that one in five parents had 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. Just 13 per cent of parents polled believe families should not go on holiday if they cannot afford it during school-holiday dates.

With the end of term looming, UK schools face the prospect of dropping numbers of children attending school until the last day of term. Over a quarter of UK parents are considering taking children out before the final day of term in order to access cheaper holidays both in the UK and abroad.

Travelzoo’s Deal Experts researched the increase in the price of holidays departing a week before most UK state schools break up and found that a typical week in the sun for a family of four at a popular European destination increases by an average of £800 between 15 and 22 July.

But what do the teachers think?

The poll of UK teachers explored what actually happens on the last few days of summer term in both primary and secondary state schools. 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. When asked if missing the last two days of school would have a severe impact on their education, eight out of ten teachers said it would not. . Of the parents polled, 31 per cent believe their children do very little at the end of term and therefore leaving early would have minimal impact on their education.

Louise Hodges, spokesperson for Travelzoo commented: “Clearly a good education is the top priority for parents and teachers alike. However, when you consider that even UK teachers admit the last couple of days of summer term are not critical to a child’s education, it is easy to see why some parents are taking the decision to leave a few days earlier and access cheaper holidays. Few parents believe that losing several hundred pounds so that their child can watch a DVD in class makes financial sense. With more than half of UK parents prepared to lie in order to avoid the fines and over 64,000 fines issued from September 2013-2014, it’s clear that the current system isn’t working.”

According to the survey, three quarters of the teachers who were questioned said they’d experienced parents lying to them since the penalties came into force; 49 per cent said they felt the fines were affecting their relationship with pupils' families.

More than half of the teachers polled said they thought head teachers (rather than local councillors) should be given back the power to grant discretionary absences.

Hodges added: “The fining system is messy, confusing and makes law-abiding families feel like criminals. The government scrapped airport tax for under-12s this year – but that felt like an election sweetener, and clearly more needs to be done if parents are still lying to schools. We don’t endorse unauthorised absences, but we urge the government to reconsider the black-and-white nature of the fines, scrap APD for all passengers during school-holiday dates and to join us as we sit down with travel companies, parents and education groups over the next few months to explore solutions to a problem which is clearly not fixed.”

Travelzoo has created an accompanying Video News Release featuring the views of a disgruntled parent, plus further Travelzoo information on the Parent Trap and the impact of these fines on domestic tourism, explained by Visit Cornwall. To view the VNR click here.


Visit the Parent Trap blog for further information.



* The study comprises two bodies of research: 2,000 UK parents of state school children aged 5-16 years old were surveyed by OnePoll, on behalf of Travelzoo, between 13 and 22 April, 2015; 500 UK teachers of state schools were surveyed by YouGov, on behalf of Travelzoo, between 16 and 25 June, 2015.

About Travelzoo

Travelzoo is a global media commerce company. With more than 28 million members in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific and 26 offices worldwide, Travelzoo® publishes offers from more than 2,000 travel, entertainment and local companies. Travelzoo’s deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value.

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