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600,000 school days lost as Scottish parents take kids on term-time holidays

Parents in Scotland have blamed travel company price hikes as the reason why they continue to take their children on a family holiday during term time.

The latest figures have revealed that the number of children missing school has risen almost two fold over the last ten years, climbing from a figure of 343,842 in 2003-04 to a current figure of 623,246. While the Tories have argued that they can “sympathise with parents” when it comes to the annual holiday conundrum, they went on to say that “pupils benefit most from being in the classroom”.

A spokeswoman for the National Parent Forum said: “We all know how important family time is, particularly when money is short. But we’d encourage parents to avoid taking their children out of school during term time, as it does impact on their learning.

“It would be helpful if holiday companies did not increase their prices so much during school holidays.” Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon added: “It is worrying to see such a large increase in days missed due to unauthorised holidays.” Current guidance from the Department of Education reveals that while headteachers do have the discretion to grant leave, this is unlikely to be authorised for the purposes of a family holiday.

Research revealed earlier this year showed that more than a third of parents (37%) would be prepared to pay a fine, which could be up to £60 under new rules, to ensure a cheaper holiday outside of term-time. Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel's Consumer Editor, expressed “sympathy for families who are restricted to taking their holidays during school vacations - especially during the longest recession in living memory.”

He went to add: "The laws of supply and demand at a time when the whole of Europe takes its holidays, mean that August prices are often twice those in June, camping holidays quadruple in cost, and flights and ferry fares on peak summer weekends can also be up to four times more expensive than at quieter times." One way to save on your family holiday costs is to secure the best price for your family travel insurance. You may also want to read our feature on how to have a family holiday at term time prices.

Date Created: 16 December 2013

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