School holiday price Facebook rant goes viral after father's rage at expensive breaks


A frustrated father who posted an angry rant on Facebook about school holiday prices has struck a chord with parents across the nation.

Paul Cookson had only 250 friends on Facebook when he posted the ‘SCHOOL HOLIDAY RANT’ but his 100 words of outrage were shared nearly 150,000 times.

Next to a picture showing how Centerparcs raised its price of a £699 villa by £300 during the school holidays, Mr Cookson wrote: “I am sick to death of being ripped off with this country.. I choose not to take my daughter out of school term away on holiday and stick to the set school holidays - but why should I be penalized by doing the correct thing as a parent??? it’s becoming a joke and it's time parents should take a stance to these corporate money grabbing monsters..”

The post was shared thousands of times and before long, mum-of-two Donna Thresher was inspired to set up a government e-petition calling for holiday companies to stop charging extra outside of term time. Now it has reached over 100,000 signatures it is eligible to be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee.

Mr Cookson also set up a group on Facebook to allow parents to share their holiday price increases and boycott companies who they feel unfairly penalise them for having children. Peter Higgins, a self-employed father of four runs the Facebook group Holiday Price Increases along with Mrs Thresher and Mr Cookson.  He told The Independent: “These increases have got more out of control than they ever have and they’ve slipped under the radar. Realistically what I’d like to see is companies coming together to discuss these issues with the group. At the moment they are hiding behind supply and demand but really it’s greed. Ideally we’d like government legislation to cap these price increases. Families are scared at this new legislation meaning they can’t take holidays in term time. They want a break but they don’t have the money to take it in school holidays.”

Parents are not allowed to take the children out of school during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances.” following regulations that came into force last September. Previously schools could grant up to 10 term-time days a year for children to go family holidays

Earlier in January Stewart and Natasha Sutherland were ordered by magistrates to pay £1000 in costs after taking their two children out of school for a holiday in Greece. They had refused to pay the original £360 fine. At the time he said: “We haven’t been able to get leave in the school holidays at the same time for five years and we desperately needed a family break.

“I know how important education is but family time is important, too. The children’s behaviour and schooling has improved massively since our holiday.”

Justine Roberts, CEO of Mumsnet told The Independent: "With the introduction of fines for taking children out of school during term-time combined with sky-high travel costs it feels like a lose-lose situation for parents. Three quarters of our users think holiday companies are exploiting parents who have no other choice about the dates they travel. Obviously it's hard to refute the laws of supply and demand but equally looking at it from a cost plus basis, holiday companies seem to be happily making extraordinary profits out of families and not surprisingly many feel they are being ripped off as a result."

The Association of British Travel Agents defended raising prices during school holidays, telling the BBC it was a simple issue of “supply and demand.” They said that a potential solution would be to stagger holiday dates so that all the schools didn’t break at the same time.  However teachers are against this, saying it would cause chaos in the classrooms.

"Staggering school holidays will make it  difficult for families to take holidays at the same time if different areas or  even schools in the same town are breaking at ad hoc times.   While it is obviously  a problem that holiday companies hike up their prices during the school holiday period they could of course simply charge more for a  longer period of time. "

Center Parcs told The Independent: "Our pricing reflects the seasonality of the supply and demand for our breaks. We reduce our prices significantly during off peak periods to reflect the lower demand at these times.

"It is also worth noting that the success of our business relies upon us re-investing millions of pounds each year into our Villages, in order to maintain the high quality short break experience with which we have become synonymous."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own