Monday, June 06, 2011

Holidays in Term Time

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?


Don said...

I'm not sure whether my parents were lucky or unlucky, but I grew up in the days when foreign holiday travel was still an unaffordable luxury for most people, and all we managed as a family was one summer's week in Cornwall during the whole time I was at secondary school.

But the last "day" of term invariably ended just before mid-day, and we pupils spent most of the last couple of weeks (after the exams had finished) reading books or watching films in the Hall, while the staff marked the aforesaid exam papers.

It seems to me that this whole issue could be neatly solved simply by making the ten days off in term time an entitlement rather than a concession to be fought over. Okay, so a minority of parents would abuse it, but they're probably the same ones who now simply go ahead anyway and pay the fine.

Lilyofthefield said...

I took our children out of school every year for the week after Whit. My husband and I sat down and worked out how much we'd have to be fined to blow the saving of taking three children on holiday in June instead of August and reckoned we could pay the going rate for each child and still save.

In the words of "Fatal Attraction", she's six, what's she going to miss? Calculus?

Coldwater said...

An even better idea...don't just make it an entitlement, make it *compulsory* that you have to take your child out of school for 10 days during term time.

jaljen said...

Can they read, write and do sums? Yes? Is it GCSE week? No?

Take them on holiday.

Anonymous said...

That pizza offer is pricy. Go to Village Pizza - my favorites - for a good deal on very tasty pizzas.

Dave said...

Alistair said...

I was only ever taken out of school to go on holiday once and that was when I was about a month before my second Birthday. I missed two days of term which would simply have been spent doing nothing at all constructive. On the other hand people in my year, particularly at Secondary School, would frequently be missing during the final week of term before the summer. As the years went on this became a real blessing to those of us who actually wanted to learn (as crazy as that might sounds) as invariably the ones who disappeared were the ones who made life difficult by not wanting to learn. I expect to see many of them in my office in a few years time when they’re trying to get off their latest criminal charge.

Alistair said...

previous post should not read second birthday, but rather sixth birthday (I was thinking "second year of primary school" while writing it - silly me)

The Defence Brief said...

My parents took me out of school for a fortnights holiday somewhere in France when I was in the final year of primary school. I only realised it was a problem when I got back and the class teacher was really hostile toward me like I'd made the decision personally to annoy her!

Anyway, I don't remember a thing about the weeks either side of the holiday or anything we leant; but I do remember the one and only foreign holiday I ever went on with my parents and I'm pretty sure that things like that are worth more than a couple of weeks of school.

Incidentally, this was before SATS etc came in, but I did have to take part in the London Reading Test for which I got a D, weirdly the highest mark possible at the time.

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