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patriciaann71 Sun 24-Apr-16 09:34:17

My daughter is paying £120 to take her 5 yr old son out of school for a holiday to Orlando. Another parent at the same school is also taking her two children out of school (same reason) but has confided in a "friend" that she is going to say that they are ill. What does anyone think of this?

Jane10 Sun 24-Apr-16 09:45:20

Well those children are learning a lot from their parents -education doesn't matter as much as getting cheaper deals on holidays. Not impressed at either of them.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 24-Apr-16 09:52:03

You can actually hand over cash and be allowed to take your kids out of school to go on holiday? shock

So, one law for the better off and another for the poor! Diabolical!

I'm on the side of the fibbers.

Lillie Sun 24-Apr-16 09:56:17

Sorry, I think holidays are valuable time spent together with the family, and I would have no problem in allowing parents to take their children out of school for a reasonable period of time. No need to make up stories about being "ill" when one of the children is bound to let it slip anyway!
Education does matter, but so does quality time with one's children, and the difference in cost between term time versus school holidays can often mean a holiday or no holiday at all.

cornergran Sun 24-Apr-16 10:04:14

Exactly Lillie. Our DGC will miss three days of school after the half term holiday as they are on a planned holiday from mid way in the previous week, but the experiences they will have will far outweigh the potential losses. Their parents have made no secret of it and because it is less than a week will not be fined, I don't blame them at all. However, with my school governor head on I know that some, please note I say some, parents were seriously abusing school absences and there needed to be a change. I'm not sure that the current system is the right change, it does discriminate. It is often debated in and out of school, but without a change in the law little can be done. Perhaps the teachers and ex teachers could share their thoughts on a better system?

annsixty Sun 24-Apr-16 10:22:05

With a child of under say 7, I would not worry about them missing a couple of weeks especially if their attendance record is good, but I would be straightforward about it. It can make a difference in cost of about £1000 to go in August. Our local primary schools used to have 2 weeks at Spring bank holiday but that has changed or is about to change.

ninathenana Sun 24-Apr-16 10:22:22

When our two were primary school age if we wanted a family holiday we had to take them out of school because H worked shifts and it meant he only got 7 consecutive days off when he shift pattern dictated, when they got to senior school we made do with days out. If we were lucky the 7 days would be during the summer holidays but could be any month of the year. We couldn't afford to go abroad so this would only happen if the 7 days were in the warmer months.
I know a lot of parents do this for financial reasons but that's not the only reason. Children learn in many ways, not just sitting in a classroom.

Elegran Sun 24-Apr-16 10:24:04

My sympathies are with the teachers here.

Has anyone ever had to make 30 cupcakes for some event? You buy and weigh out ingredients, mix them, heat the oven, fill 30 cases, and bake them. When they cool, you make the icing and decorate them. Job done. You can vary the designs as you go, but the job is done in one shot, and you can then do something else.

Now imagine that you only have flour for 20, but you must get those 20 done. So you only mix up enough for 20, make them and ice them. That is the job two-thirds done. Next day you have ten still to make, you have flour for all but only have fat for four. So you go through the whole lot again, mix enough for four, bake them, ice them. The following day you have six to make - plenty of flour and eggs but only eggs for five. All the work again for five. 29 made but one still to do. finally that one done and the job finished. Phew.

Meanwhile, each day you have 30 of something else to make, not just one job but perhaps a dozen tasks a day. Each time, you can't complete one thing because you don't have all the ingredients present. You are doing bits and pieces of everything.You can make preparation until your eyes are crossed, but each cupcake, each flapjack, needs to be measured and mixed separately.

Similarly with a class that has several children missing for a couple of weeks. All the lessons they missed have to be gone through again individually until they have grasped it and caught up with the rest. No wonder some of the cakes get burnt.

ninathenana Sun 24-Apr-16 10:43:30

Brilliant analogy Elegran

Eloethan Sun 24-Apr-16 10:43:54

I think that's a very risky strategy on several levels. It is asking children to lie and demonstrating that it is acceptable to lie. It is expecting them to be able to not let slip some details of their holiday (and anyway won't they be coming back with a tan?). I would have thought the school would require quite a detailed explanation of a 2-week absence and I'd be surprised if children could maintain a "cover story" very well. The school will inevitably draw its own conclusions and might decide to take the matter further. Even if it doesn't, they will form a very negative opinion of the parents.

I actually think that these fines for parents taking their children out of school are a very bad idea. I think it is important for families to have a holiday together - whether in this country or abroad - and prices shoot up during the school holidays. It means that less well off families - who may be more in need of a relaxing family break - cannot afford a holiday. I don't think a couple of weeks of school will do that much damage. We took our children out of school for six weeks (which included the Christmas holiday break) at the ages of 5 and 12 but the teachers gave them work to do while they were away. In fact, they were further ahead when we returned than the rest of the class.

gillybob Sun 24-Apr-16 11:00:07

My DS and DDiL took their 3 out of school for a week last Easter (2015) when the other grandparents took them (and the rest of their family) on an all expenses paid trip around America . There were 11 of them altogether. There was no opportunity for them to go any other time due to various work commitments and it was decided that taking them out of school for only 1 week would have little impact on their overall education. The trip was highly educational (space centre, Everglades etc ) and in the words of my 8 year old DGD's teacher "she learned more on the trip than she could have ever learned in the week at school".

Each parent was fined for each child being taken out of school although I have yet to find out where the money went. I expect it would be into the local authority coffers. It certainly did not go to the school as I asked the head teacher.

Jane10 Sun 24-Apr-16 11:07:04

Excellent analogy Elegran. Goodness knows how we somehow managed to get our children through school without having to go on holiday in school time. Obviously we were stupid in not offering our children any 'quality time' with us on a beach somewhere. Somehow, like most of the other families, we managed though. Holidays don't have to be abroad nor expensive. With so many official school holidays a year it can't be beyond families to arrange their trips during that time.

harrigran Sun 24-Apr-16 11:10:41

School years are very short and I think it is wrong to take children on holiday during term time, it is clear that the parents put their needs before the education of their children. A holiday lying in the sun is not essential for family happiness.

granjura Sun 24-Apr-16 11:12:08

Brilliant Elegran, and totally agree Eloethan, couldn't have said it better.

The money is nothing as compared to the money saved by going out during term-time. But the telling the children to lie? Terrible example- what a thing to teach the children!?!

About the cakes- spot on. We used to have parents asking for work to be taken on hols for the kids to do. For some subjects, not too difficult- but it does take time to put together- for some subjects, and especially for children who have difficulties in general or said subject- it can take quite a bit of time and effort on the teacher's time. And most of the time, kids came back with a note, or none- that they were far too busy to do the work anyway. And if done, it had to be marked and gone through with the kids (otherwise no point). More importantly, teachers often have to take time to help the child (children- as there are often, 2 or 3 from same class away at the same time...) to catch up. Some of you may have no idea how much time and effort that can take, distrubing the class and stopping progress from other children- or in teacher's own time during break, lunch or after school.

And often with children who have been given a lot of extra time because they needed support- only to see them falling back again, and needing more extra time- just when they were doing better....

As a teacher I spent hours in my own time, during breaks, lunch, after school- even visiting kids at home when ill for a long period of time, or injured, or pregnant- so they would not fail exams.... But for holidays? I did it for a while- but then we discussed this as a department, then as a school with Governors and Senior staff- and the conclusion was NO, no more.

Momey is one thing- but the loss of good will is massively worth more. Ask for help and support, and individual staff, Heads of Dept and Year, and other senior staff may well say, sorry- if your child's education is not valuable to you... and you have no respect for the education system, then why ....

granjura Sun 24-Apr-16 11:23:16

Funnily enough - I know many people who send their kids to expensive private and (so-called, what a daft name, and yes I understand the historical reasons..) Public schools, including boarding (one of them with her horse! yes)- paying 30 to 50k a year. Guess what, they would NEVER EVER dream of taking kids out of school during term-time- for some strange reason ;)

ninathenana Sun 24-Apr-16 11:28:19

Re my previous post can I ask what others would suggest as a solution?
H worked hard doing 12 hr shifts 2-3 times week. We thought he deserved his week of relaxation. Not lying in the sun on a foreign beach but a caravan in the UK. So he would either be holidaying alone or the children would have to have stayed with my mum.
I really don't want to turn this into an argument. I'm just curious

gillybob Sun 24-Apr-16 11:42:55

It's very easy for some people to say that they would never take their children out of school but are they really saying that some people should never be allowed to have a family holiday at all ? Many working parents only have 4 weeks holiday per year and quite often the dates are dictated by shutdowns etc. Whether you are going abroad or a caravan in the Lakes or even staying in your own back garden I think families have a right to a week together . My 2 granddaughters (8 and 10 ) are both well ahead of their school year group and taking a week out of school last year has done no harm to their education whatsoever . Incidentally my middle granddaughters teacher took a month off over Christmas as she went to Australia . Obviously the 13 weeks holiday weren't enough for her .

gillybob Sun 24-Apr-16 11:44:32

And why do people always assume that a holiday consists of lying on a beach?

NanaandGrampy Sun 24-Apr-16 11:55:32

I totally and wholeheartedly disagree with paying to take your child out of school for a number of reasons.

Firstly there is no FIRM guidelines on what constitutes reasonable attendance - on which this rule is based. Indeed a man in the IOW challenged and won this because what is reasonable to one is not reasonable to another. I believe ( and I might be wrong ) that the judge thougth attendance of 95% and above meant the child in question had fulfilled the requirements to be allowed to go without penalty.

Secondly there is no consistency. At a local school near us a single mum has to pay £60 a week to take her child out , a married couple £120 per child. So you're penalised for being in a relationship? Another school charges £60 PER CHILD PER DAY!

Thirdly , I totally object to the 'Nanny State' telling me what is good for my child which they wouldn't know from adam. Each child is wildly different. Each family equally so. I don't see how there can be a one size fits all policy based solely on attendance. Some children could sit through the entire lesson and learn nothing , some pick up the subject in a heartbeat.

I am obviously not advocating taking them out in exam years but you will never persuade me that taking a 5 year old out harms anything of their education. Travel is a learning experience in itself as is important family time which is so rationed in these days of both parents working. I took both my girls for many years. They learnt maths from foreign currency conversion, geography from the places we went and may , many other relevant and valuable lessons.

My girls made scrapbooks of every holiday , we took time to save things and then assemble them. It was a part of the holiday.

Sadly , you have no choice but to pay or get a criminal record unless precedent has now been set by the gentleman in the IOW. I don't know how this law crept onto our books because I am sure if more had known about it there would have been stronger protests.

Stansgran Sun 24-Apr-16 12:17:46

I once read that for every week a child missed at school they felt they had missed much more and felt at a loss when the subjects had moved on. I quite agree with Granjura that parents who pay for their children's education are extremely reluctant to take them out in term time although they probably have longer holidays. Gillybob it sounds as though neither the teachers nor the pupils value the education at the school your GCs go to. Perhaps education should be paid for up front rather than through our taxes and then parents can see what they are getting. And we wonder why other countries out pace in brains and commerce. It's a luxury to say oh they learn more on holiday with us or it's our right to go on holiday as a family. I still remember talking to a man in a place called Fatepur Sikri who was trying to sell a lighter to my DH (who smoked then) and talking to him he was struggling to pay for the schooling of his children. Somehow taking your own child out of school in term time is like throwing mud in those people's faces. I bet Malala's father never went on holiday in term time.

granjura Sun 24-Apr-16 12:30:38

There are THIRTEEN weeks school holidays per year - 13 ....

Oh yes, we loved it when Leics did have the textile fortnight, first 2 weeks in July- and we could go camping in France and be with the Scotts only- cheaper and less crowded. Brilliant.

Would love to take the grandkids skiing outside half-term- much much less expensive and crowded (for us skiing is not 'posh' but a way of life btw)- GC are very bright- they learn about the culture, geography, speak French, etc.... But it's just not going to happen- because we respect their school, the teachers and the education system. And because if you area Governor- it would be so hypocritical.

How much time do you think teachers, senior staff and governors should spend debating, and going over appeals, etc, for dozens, say 100s, of families arguing over their reasons for taking kids out of school??? Don't they have better things to do and other issues to solve? How do you justify, as a Head and staff + Governors- that's it's OK for one family to go and trek in Nepal, or go skiing in FRance as they will look at glaciers and speak a bit of FRench, but not for another family to go to Disneyland or Benidorm???

I am so aware of hte fact that any comparison with elsewhere is like a blood red rag to an angry bull- but her goes- parents in France, Germany, Switzerland or most of Europe would not even THINK of taking kids out of school during term-time- truly and honestly. Wouldn't even enter their mind. I've been on the education committee for my region for 5 years now, not a single request, apart from o3 children going to Kosovo for 3 days for grand-mother's funeral. Fact.

Lillie Sun 24-Apr-16 12:39:29

Private schools are exempt from this ruling, so parents can't be fined anyway. We actually have 20 - 30 fewer days schooling per academic year than state schools, but some parents for various reasons still take their children away in term time.

ninathenana, I think no one is coming up with a solution because there probably isn't one. If the UK school holidays were lengthened, say mid - June to mid - September, the holiday companies would only adjust their peak season rates accordingly. I think it might be a bit easier for families in France, for example, when the whole country shuts down for the month of August, including the workers, so father, mother, children can all "holiday" together - more often than not in their own country! Then there is less excuse for allowing children to miss school at other times. I can't see the UK downing tools for a month though!

Eloethan Sun 24-Apr-16 12:40:25

When we took our daughter and grandson (his Dad died when he was 5) for a week to Kefalonia, he wrote a diary every day and did drawings of the flowers he saw there. It was a wonderful week which we all remember very fondly. We did a bit of "lying on the beach", swimming, etc., but we also travelled round the island and discovered many things about its history (its role in WW2 etc), terrain and the natural disasters that had befallen the region. I wouldn't want to deny such an experience to another family and even if you stay in this country the prices often double during the school holidays.

I can quite see why children at public/private schools are less likely to be taken out of school to go on holiday. If people can afford private schooling the chances are that many of them can also afford to pay the increased price of holidaying at "peak time".

The fact remains that this rule is discriminatory in that it negatively affects the less well off far more than the better off. I think that there are a multitude of reasons why some children fail at school and I guess that - unless children are taken out of school on a regular basis - holidaying in term time has very little bearing on the matter.

Lillie Sun 24-Apr-16 12:40:57

granjura - interesting points, I was typing while you posted.

Maggiemaybe Sun 24-Apr-16 12:52:24

I was always grateful when a local half term would occasionally fall a week later or earlier than most, so you could fit a break in that wasn't at peak price. When we lived in Hamburg many years ago, they had a very sensible system of rotating the main Summer holidays. Your school area had a full calendar month, either June, July or August, closure. So only a third of the country's schools were closed at once, which at least meant that there wasn't really a peak season. I don't know whether this still applies.