The Whitehouse Consultancy

A majority of Britons (55%) believe that parents should be able to take children on holiday for a week if it means a “significant financial saving” for the family, according to a new ComRes poll commissioned by political communications and education policy specialists the Whitehouse Consultancy.

Support for term time holidays is particularly high among parents in the United Kingdom with children under 18 (64%).The poll also showed significant levels of support for parents being able to take children out of school for the final two days of term if it enabled families to make a significant financial saving (73%).

The results of the poll follow a number of recent high profile cases of parents challenging fines imposed on them for term-time absences, after former Education Secretary Michael Gove tightened rules on allowing holidays in term time. Parents are issued with a £120 fixed penalty notice for an unauthorised absence.

Three quarters of Britons (74%) supported the idea of children being allowed time out of school if a trip had “demonstrable educational value”. Taking children out of school for a family bereavement had almost unanimous support (90%), whilst absence for a significant family celebration also had broad support (69%).

Chris Whitehouse, Chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said:

“Despite his success in driving up educational standards in England, fining parents for taking their children out of school during term time was one of former UK Education Secretary Michael Gove’s more controversial policies, and this is reinforced by a poll that shows Britons believe they should have the right to take their children out of school if it saves them money on an annual holiday.

“While some parents working in the likes of the tourist sector will be unable to take their children away during the peak time of school holidays, the principal issue for many families is cost. Recent research shows that families can expect to pay in excess of £1,300 more if they travel during school holidays rather than during term time. Many parents will rightly question why they should face additional costs for following the rules, particularly if those costs make holidaying too expensive. The challenge for policy makers and schools must be to ensure that as many families as possible are able to take a holiday, without incurring astronomical costs or harming children’s education.”

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