Following his disastrous A level results, the parents of James Ardingly have decided to take a gap year while he works for his re-sits next summer.
The couple had the idea after seeing the cheap deals available after many students chose to abandon planned gap years in favour of going to University before next year’s fee increases.
‘We scrimped and saved to buy that boy the best education possible and this is how he rewards us,’ said his father, John, 47, from the family home in Canterbury. ‘It was bad enough James missing out on both his choices, but what really hurt was receiving an offer through clearing from London Metropolitan University.’
Arguments about their son's progress had brought John and his wife Linda close to divorce but this opportunity has reunited them. John will take voluntary redundancy and some undeclared stock from his job at the doomed Pfizer site in Sandwich, while Linda will quit her job in riot control at a Ramsgate secondary school.
‘I set up a website and found hundreds of other parents in the same position,’ said Linda. ‘We’ve all let our houses for a year and rented an unused student accommodation block in Walsall; we've hired lecturers to teach and ex-army personnel to maintain discipline. The number of Facebook party invitations has fallen considerably.’
The couple say they intend to do every continent, try anything at least once and just chill generally, but tour company operators fear the worst. ‘We normally get away with shit facilities, some ladyboys and a bit of bungee jumping,’ said a representative. ‘We know sod all about the actual countries themselves. This lot are checking Trip Advisor, insisting on edible food and expecting a detailed itinerary.
'The kids don’t even wake up on the on the overland trip to Gibraltar to get to Africa, never mind drink, but this lot are demanding Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux at no extra cost before we even leave France. They wanted Tours as well but I told them they’d be too pissed to bother looking round.’