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Term Time Holidays: 'Cheaper Holidays' Hope For Parents When Headteachers Get Power To Set Term Dates

13/02/2015 11:44 | Updated 20 May 2015

Cheaper holidays hope for parents when head teachers get power to set term dates

Cheaper holidays are on the horizon for parents when headteachers are given the power to change term dates to allow off-peak travel.

From September, heads will have the authority to set their school's holiday dates instead of the current centrally-administered system.

Research by the Boston Consultancy Group found that almost 70 per cent of school leaders plan to make immediate changes so that families can enjoy more affordable holidays.

It will be a welcome relief for families who for the last two years have faced having to pay through the nose for out-of-term holidays, or fines of up £60 if their children take time off unless for 'exceptional circumstances'.

Parents who refuse to pay face prosecution, three months' jail and a £2,500 fine.

Some 63,837 penalties were issued to parents in the academic year to July 2014 in England, compared with 37,650 fines throughout the previous 12 months.

However, the report's authors 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."

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) told The Independent: "The reason prices rise during school holidays and other busy periods is due to supply and demand.

"Abta believes that a potential solution... is for education stakeholders to look at staggering the dates that schools take their holidays by region."

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