Travel deals publisher Travelzoo has responded to the departure of Michael Gove as education secretary with a plea to his successor to address what it calls the ‘parent trap’.
The firm has launched a campaign opposing the government’s crackdown on term-time holiday leave which has seen parents fined for taking their children out of school.
Travelzoo claimed Gove’s education reforms are unpopular with teachers and spurred last week’s strike action.
And it has produced research to show the level of anger at “Gove’s much-loathed” fines” which started to be imposed from last September as part of a crackdown on absence.
The survey findings reveal that half of UK parents have admitted to lying to avoid these fines.
Travelzoo said Gove recently suggested that school holidays be staggered in a bid to reduce the cost of family holidays but has attacked the travel industry, accusing companies of trying to “fleece parents”.
In response to Gove’s departure, Louise Hodges (pictured), head of communications at Travelzoo said: “Travelzoo welcomes the news that David Cameron has appointed Nicky Morgan as the new Education Secretary.
“We very much hope that this change will mark the beginning of a more joined-up approach where the Education Secretary and the Sport, Tourism and Equalities Minister Helen Grant consult with the travel industry on critical issues such as the fines for parents taking their children on holiday during term-time and the current proposals to stagger school holidays.
“Under Michael Gove’s leadership the link between education policy and tourism was not adequately addressed.
“Our aim is to fight the parent trap – the toxic combination of these new fines, the highest flight tax in the world and the peak pricing families face when travelling during school holidays.
“We believe that the government should review the fining policy that is causing mass discontent amongst parents up and down the country.
“We are also calling for the removal of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax during school holiday dates – this tax is approximately the same per person as the controversial school fines and we feel that a “holiday from APD” would send a positive message to parents who do not flout the law and take their children on holiday during term time.
“We are also asking for a discussion between government and the travel industry on the best way to alleviate peak pricing – we believe that the current proposal to stagger school holidays in order to bring down the cost of travel is flawed.
“Gove’s Deregulation Bill proposes that staggering be implemented on a school-by-school basis, with each school having the right to choose their term dates.
“After talking to the many travel companies and hoteliers we work with, we are genuinely concerned that this method of staggering will not significantly drive down prices.
“It is possible that the main impact this approach will have is to simply create a chaotic situation where schools in the same town or region go on holiday at different times; an organisational nightmare for working parents with children in different schools who already struggle to cover childcare over the school holiday periods.
“We hope that Morgan’s approach will include establishing a long-overdue consultation between government and the travel industry.”
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