According to a recent survey of 400 parents, just under half admitted to taking their kids out of school for family trips. Whilst a few liars claimed that travel was an important part of their child's education, most were honest enough to admit that the reason was simply because holiday prices are much cheaper during term time.
The last Government started fining parents for doing this, but this only ever happens to a tiny percentage (probably those who annoy the Head by not even trying to come up with a decent excuse). The fine is only £100 anyway, which is far less than you can save on the holiday cost, so it's not a bad gamble at all.
Whilst it's obviously a bit daft to take your child away just before their GCSE exams, it's hard to see how a child really loses out that much if they are only away for a week and are normally a good attender with supportive parents who will make them catch up the work that they miss. (On the other hand, if they are a nightmare child who is off all the time, then it probably doesn't make that much difference to their chances either- and you get a break from them.)
This isn't the accepted view in teaching, so don't quote me to your Head when you go and ask for time off to take your child to attend a 'residential course for conversational Spanish' based in Marbella.
ps with all the current vegetable worries, why not take up one of these pizza offers?