One parent in six has lied to their child’s head teacher to spirit their offspring away for a holiday during term time, according to research.
Motives may be convenience, a once-in-a-lifetime occasion or simply because cost-conscious families are seeking a cheaper holiday.
Schools are on a mission to alert parents to the dire consequences of skipping lessons. They warn, for example, that 90% attendance over 5 years (absent for 20 days a year) is the same as missing more than half a year of a child’s primary education.
But there are times when head teachers may be willing to approve time off during term time, and it’s useful to know what they regard as ‘exceptional circumstances.’ Don’t neglect family Holiday Insurance before travelling.
What are 'exceptional circumstances'?
- Heads judge each case individually, but will not sanction term-time breaks on the grounds that the holiday is cheaper.
- A unique situation might involve a parent, grandparent or another close relative being so ill that this could be their last family holiday.
- A holiday to help a child recover from a recent major family trauma might also be approved.
- It could be an occasion that will never be repeated, such as Dad’s 50th birthday or Auntie Sophie getting married.
In such circumstances, up to ten days’ leave may be granted, although parents have no legal right to demand it. If a child already has an attendance record below 95%, schools are very likely to say No.
Another way around the cost problem may be to opt for a ‘big’ holiday during February or October half term, when prices are cheaper than in the summer and sun can still be found – as well as the opportunity for exciting city breaks.
The study revealing parents’ lies was carried out by Tesco.