Affordable Summer Holidays For Families At Last?
Breaks in the school summer holidays may about to become more affordable for families with as many as 70% of head teachers suggesting they will change term dates to allow off peak travel with the new legislation due in September. 60% claim their main reason for changing will be to allow families to take affordable holidays together.
Prior to 2013, head teachers were allowed to grant up to 10 days holiday leave per year for families wishing to holiday during term time but that was stopped by the then Education Secretary Michael Grove and now leave will only be granted in 'exceptional circumstances'. Parents flaunting this could be fined up to £120 for each absent child - or £60 if paid within 28 working days. Those who refuse to pay face prosecution which could result in three months' jail and a £2,500 fine.
Travel companies have to accept their part in proceedings too. As with all businesses there is a simple case of prices being affected by supply versus demand, changing term dates should help.
So what exactly will head teachers be able to do? What changes will there be to term dates? Cheaper summer holidays are all well and good but day to day many families struggle to find affordable childcare and if you have two children at different schools, perhaps -what happens if they’re on different holidays? No summer holiday, plus added childcare issues.
A report carried out by the Boston Consultancy Group stated that staggered school holidays - which were the most likely outcome of the changes - would result in cheaper holidays for families.
They wrote: 'In the next few years, the (travel) market will shift as schools adjust their schedules, and operators will likely contend with shorter peak periods when school holidays coincide, longer shoulder periods when fewer schools are on holiday at any one time, and shorter off-peak periods when only some schools (or possibly none at all) are on holiday.'
So in theory it sounds like good news for families. Parents have been campaigning for years for cheaper school holidays but now that it looks as though it will finally be implemented come September, is it really as good as it looks?