Fewer term-time holidays as parents heed warning in truancy crackdown

Families with school-aged children are choosing not to take their children out of school to travel, Flight Centre data has shown, as the government cracks down on truancy.

Flight Centre New Zealand general manager Heidi Walker said it appeared the messages from the Ministry of Education were getting through to parents.

New data had shown travel bookings during the winter holidays were up 10 percent from last year, while travel during the school term had dropped 30 percent.

It comes after the government announced in April it would start cracking down on truancy by introducing a “traffic light system” of punishments for students and their parents, including fines for parents and police referrals.

The focus included parents taking their children out of school to go on family holidays.

Changes also included daily reporting of attendance and changes to public health guidelines on when students are too sick to attend.

“What some customers are telling us is that many schools across the country now have firm rules against taking kids out of school for travel that’s not deemed as crucial,” Walker said.

Students working at laptops

Travel during the school holidays could be more expensive, Walker said, one reason parents might have chosen to go during the school term, but good deals could still be found.

“Booking well in advance would be my biggest piece of advice for those with school-age kids. Gone are the days where there would be last-minute deals to destinations.

“Though capacity has risen considerably, it’s still somewhat limited so as seats fill up, prices do inevitably go up.”

To get the best deal possible, Walker said people should try and book their travel 10 months to a year in advance.

Walker said family favourite holiday spots were still Fiji, Australia and Rarotonga, but data had shown there was a rise in some long-haul destinations including Bali, London, Los Angeles and Hawaii.

“Close-to-home destinations are always popular for families, especially when they’re limited to just a two-week trip, within the school holidays.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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