Investigation needs to take place into holiday prices

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Parents are put in a difficult position when it comes to holidays.

Of course they want to take their family away on what is undoubtedly a well-deserved – and much-needed – break.

But holiday companies say they are only responding to the age-old question of supply and demand when they hike their prices during school holidays.

And there are those, probably without children, who will argue that it was the adults’ choice to have the offspring in the first place.

There will also be those who also say the prices will only rise to what the market will bear.

That though is not fair on hard-working families who are looking forward to a week or two in the sun and are left limited as to when they can go away.

It is easy to understand why some parents would risk taking their children out of school for a few days – even when they face potential fines of up to £120.

Schools are able to grant up to 10 days off in term-time for special circumstances but this is entirely at the headteacher’s discretion.

However, these rules do need to be applied consistently and fairly if they are to have any kind of moral authority.

There is a case in Leicestershire which has recently attracted national attention where a headteacher has been given four weeks off during term-time for her wedding by the board of governors. Some parents at the school are understandably aggrieved.

There needs to be an investigation into holiday companies and their pricing practices – with this kind of unchallenged monopoly on time, if left unchecked they will continue to run prices up higher and higher.

It is highly unlikely, or realistic, to expect holiday companies to reduce their prices to the same as those in term-time, but action does need to be taken.

Fortunately, persistent truancy levels are falling across Hampshire, which is to be commended.

But that is a very different problem to this one – persistent truancy does not generally come at the behest of the parents.