Research conducted by metasearch site KAYAK in the UK has found 41 per cent of parents admit to taking their children out of school for holidays without permission.
The survey came after parents in Lancashire were warned they could face fines of up to £1,000 per child, per parent for taking children on holiday during term time without permission as part of planned crackdown.
KAYAK found that 69 per cent of parents who have taken their children out of school for a holiday informed the school of their plans and did not receive a fine. However, 13 per cent still received a fine despite speaking to the school first.
The survey indicated that 16 per cent of parents were not honest with the school about the reason their children were not in attendance and did not receive a fine, while only 2 per cent were not honest and were fined.
The firm said this indicates that “parents are more likely to avoid a fine by telling fibs,” as just 11 per cent of those who were not honest received a fine compared to 16 per cent of those who were truthful.
According to KAYAK, 39 per cent of respondents said the main reason they take their children out of school for holidays during term time is price.
The price comparison site’s data shows that, in many cases, the money parents can save by going on holiday during term time means it is worth paying the standard £120 fine set by the government, which is reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days.
KAYAK revealed a return flight to Lanzarote in the first week of this year’s Easter school holiday is £298 per person. During the first week of the following term the price falls to £141, an increase of 111 per cent during school holidays.
Another example of price inflation cited by KAYAK was flights to Malaga which are on average £148 during the second week of the Easter holiday but fall to £101 one week later. Meanwhile, Reykjavik falls from £163 to £109 during the same period.
Looking ahead to the summer holiday, price differences can be much greater. Flights to Orlando in the second week of the summer holiday cost on average £752, and the price nosedives to £415 the first week term resumes. This represents a price difference of 81 per cent or £337 per person.
KAYAK also highlighted flights to Sydney during the first week of summer holiday are on average £1,047, but during the first week of term the price falls to just £681 per person.
However, prices were not the only reason some parents favour holidays during term time. According to KAYAK’s research, 27 per cent of parents who take their children out of school for holiday say it is more convenient for them to do so, and 17 per cent believe that it is up to them as parents to decide when to take their children on holiday, not the school.
Cassian Silins, senior director of KAYAK, said: “Planning a family holiday can be stressful, and with prices skyrocketing during the school holidays, that stress can increase. It is simply a case of supply and demand – more people want to go at the same time, and therefore prices increase to reflect this.
“Given the current fine is £60 if paid promptly, it might not be a huge financial deterrent for parents when the difference in price between going away during the holidays and term time can go up to thousands of pounds when all costs are taken into account.
“However, we can see that even during school holidays some destinations go up less than others, and prices reduce towards the end of the school holidays – so with the right planning, taking a holiday in the last week or two can save parents hundreds on flight costs compared to going at the start or in the middle.”