Father's Court Victory Causes Huge Spike In Term-Time Holiday Interest + Drop In Summer Holiday Bookings

Posted by Sue Anderson, 24th May 2016

Since the news broke on Friday 13th May of a father's victory at the High Court after he refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter out of school for a holiday, we have witnessed unprecedented demand for term-time family holidays and a fall in the number of bookings for trips during the school summer holidays.

44-year-old Jon Platt refused to pay a £120 fine when he took his daughter out of school for a holiday to Florida, arguing that her attendance had otherwise been perfect. His case went to court and he won! So, we analysed both searches and bookings made on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th and compared them to the previous week in order to uncover the impact that the father of two's court case had on people's holiday decisions.

When our data team first looked at booking statistics from the aforementioned weekend, they noted that there had been an 88% increase in the number of family holiday bookings (classed as two adults and one or more child between the ages of 5 and 16) during school term time compared to the previous weekend. However, when looking at family holiday bookings for the summer holiday period (end of July and August), there was a 32% decline in bookings for this period when compared to the previous weekend.

Next, on-site searches were analysed to determine what impact the news on Friday 13th had on people's holiday interest over the weekend. Searches for family holidays to be taken during school term time increased by 92% when compared to the previous weekend, while searches for family holidays to be taken during the school summer holidays fell by 45%; correlating to the booking trends that the team witnessed.

According to the bookings made on our site over the weekend for family holidays to be taken during school term time in 2016, the majority of parents plan to take their children out of school in the first week of July or the last week of September; suggesting that these will be the periods of time when most children will be having unauthorised absences from school for the purpose of a holiday.

The government announced that it would consider making alterations to the law as a result of Mr Platt's court victory, which is great news for parents. This would have such a positive impact on families, particularly in the financial sense, but it seems that many parents are already taking this court case as a sign that they too could get out of a fine if they take their children out of school for a holiday; especially those who've already booked! Everyone should be wary though until the law is changed, unless you are prepared to pay the fine. Not everyone could be as lucky as Mr Platt and going to court can be very costly; not forgetting the fact that each case would be treated differently depending on the child's attendance and other factors.
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