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Children holidaying in term time.

(48 Posts)
Sago Wed 27-Jul-22 10:31:58

Often when travelling during term time we are amazed at how many children there are at airports/ferry terminals with their parents.

It was something we never did, although I can understand the huge savings I wonder if the parents ever consider the impact it may have on their child’s education.

I would be very interested to hear from a teachers perspective.

Rosie51 Wed 27-Jul-22 10:57:45

While most of those children will be missing school a few may be home educated, which seems to be growing in popularity. My friend who home educates says that's a big perk, being able to choose holiday dates etc Private schools often have a longer summer break than state schools. Scotland has different summer holiday times from England, I don't know about Wales or Ireland. When we traveled in June I can't say I noticed many school age children, it was mostly babies and toddlers with only the odd primary school aged child.

I suppose it depends upon how often, how long and the age of the child as to whether or not it would impact negatively on their education. Presumably the parents who take their children out of school don't think it is having a negative impact, which is not to say they're correct about that. It's not something we ever did, much to my children's disappointment.

I'm not a teacher so can't bring that perspective, but from what I've read over the years, most really don't approve. Don't parents get fined now for unauthorised absence? I'd have thought that would cut down the frequency.

M0nica Wed 27-Jul-22 11:07:23

Some times the reason children go on holiday in term time is because their parents cannot for some reason tkae leave in school holidays.

When my children were in primary school, my husband was an offshore surveyor working for a company in the offshore energy market. Because so much was happening offshore, and it was highly dependent on wind and weather, he was not allowed to take more than a couple of days leave between April and the end of September.

We took leave during school terms, usually close to the year start. We were in a situation where our children were academically advanced and the teachers had no concerns about them missing a week's schooling once a year.

Many children lose as much schooling through illness.

Smileless2012 Wed 27-Jul-22 11:13:55

Twice, when our boys were at primary school we took them out for a week for a holiday in Florida for two weeks. One coincided with half term.

I'm going back nearly 30 years but at that time, children were allowed up to 10 days I think it was, in any one academic year.
The cost is one consideration and of course not all parents are able to take annual leave during the school holidays.

As with you M0nica the teachers had no concerns and it never impacted negatively on the boys.

NotSpaghetti Wed 27-Jul-22 11:40:44

If you worked in the forces when I was younger you may never have got a holiday away at all if you had to wait till the leave period and school holidays were in unison!
I expect it's much the same now.

Callistemon21 Wed 27-Jul-22 11:48:54

Scotland has different summer holiday times from England, I don't know about Wales or Ireland

Rosie51 Wales used to have different half-terms than England which was a benefit in that the price for a short break was much reduced.
However, border counties at least seem to coordinate half terms now which is a benefit for parents who may work in schools across the border.

When DD was small we took her out of school for the last week of the summer term and her teacher said she'd learn much more going to France than she would at the end of term in school.

Greg37 Wed 27-Jul-22 12:02:44

I am a retired teacher and I can see both sides of the argument. It can be tricky when children miss a chunk of learning and you need to find a way to catch them up. I do understand that parents can't always go away in school holidays though. What used to annoy me was when parents expected me to provide 2 weeks of work for their child while they were away.

Chardy Wed 27-Jul-22 12:05:47

As a secondary school teacher, I was always sad when pupils missed the first week of term. The seating was sorted out, so they ended up sitting where no-one else wanted to sit. Kids had caught up with holiday gossip, bonded with new pupils and teachers, spent time with new form tutor, head of year, found out what clubs are available that year, new facilities etc. And the subject teachers had laid down their expectations.
As for the last week of term, it's the time people say goodbye, plan for meeting up in the holidays, reflect on the year and set targets for next year, try to get things finished off.

nanna8 Wed 27-Jul-22 12:09:09

There are no rules about when children go on holidays with their parents in many countries. I know the uk is different here but I am not sure I agree with their rules. My daughter and her family went to Japan for a few months and their primary school teacher was wise enough to say they would learn more over there than they ever would in a classroom . So it was and the middle child particularly found she was able to negotiate the trains and understand the Japanese symbols much more than my daughter. She was proud to be their guide and map reader.

JaneJudge Wed 27-Jul-22 12:10:54

Ours broke up last week (state) and some broke up two weeks ago here (private) England

GagaJo Wed 27-Jul-22 12:13:57

I once had a lovely student. He was bright, sharp, a bit cheeky and a total joy to teach. His family took him out of school 2 or 3 times a year for beach holidays.

His holidays often coincided with end of term/unit assessments and coursework. In year 10, he missed 3 out of 4 assessments. These assessments formed part of his GCSE English Language grade.

The consequence of this was that he achieved 2 grades lower than he should have done at GCSE. Effectively he failed his English GCSE in Year 10.

Because his grade dropped, he was moved down from 2nd to top set (nice, lively students, good at English) to bottom set (SEN students, many with extreme behaviour issues) where his grade deteriorated even further.

His parents answer? Schedule assessments when we (his family) aren't on holiday! As if the rest of the year group didn't factor into any other decisions.

As I said, lovely boy. I loved him and had a great relationship with him. It was very sad.

Yammy Wed 27-Jul-22 12:14:05

I was a teacher too when marked SATs were taken in Infants.It was a large three-class intake and we had to have a particular exam room to do their Sats when they returned.
I got asked for holiday work and reading books that often came back in a sorry state. Though I can understand some need the cheap rates or fathers holidays are fixed.
I thought parents got fined if they took their children out during term? Maybe that depends on the Education authority. Also, all school holidays do not coincide in England, some break up much earlier than others. I once got a great long holiday moving from the midlands to Newcastle.

Stiller Wed 27-Jul-22 12:23:55

We sometimes take our children on holiday and they miss a couple of days. Same with our friends. The kids are fine. If you know your child struggles academically perhaps you would avoid missing days entirely. But by and large, I am sure many parents who do this don’t have children who are failing miserably at school. It’s possible you are seeing children travel more because their parents are doing a bit better economically. Times change. No big deal smile.

geekesse Wed 27-Jul-22 13:30:15

I’m a teacher and parent of several (now adult) children. There will always be some families where education of any kind isn’t a huge priority and some for whom it is very important. Families from both camps make decisions about term-time holidays. For those for whom education isn’t a big deal, the holidays probably won’t have any educational benefit, though that doesn’t mean that holidays are not intrinsically a good thing. For those who do prioritise education, even a bucket and spade beach holiday can be academically enriching.

My kids regularly missed the last week of every term because we went to live in France for several weeks three times a year. In that time, they all became moderately fluent French speakers, learnt French and European history and geography, did loads of sport with local youngsters as part of the village school holiday programmes, and acquired a good understanding of French and Breton culture, music, religion, arts and food. Travelling to and fro meant they all learnt to read road maps, handle money in two different currencies and cope with managing tickets, passports and getting through port formalities patiently and efficiently. It was like doing a French exchange three times a year at no cost to the school. Nowadays, I’d be considered a bad parent and fined for providing such an enrichment to their education. I’m inclined to think that if I were raising children now, I’d seriously consider home-schooling rather than deferring to the increasingly aggressive and rigid demands of the current education system.

Smileless2012 Wed 27-Jul-22 13:35:39

I think I'd be the same geekesse as I agree with you describing the current education system as increasingly aggressive and rigid. I'm just glad we don't have children of school age now.

Grandmabatty Wed 27-Jul-22 13:37:24

My cousin used to take her children out of school for two weeks just before the exam diet started. Neither of them achieved what they were capable of because they missed crucial revision. She couldn't see the impact. As a teacher myself, I objected to having to provide work for pupils who were going on holiday. It was never done.

VioletSky Wed 27-Jul-22 13:47:42

I think the main problems are:

1. That schools are judged by attendance in various ways.

2. When children are told by parents to lie to teaching staff about being poorly to avoid fines.

I am in the position where it is my job to do interventions etc to help children catch up and for classes with no TA that is an issue because teachers are already trying to differentiate the learning and its an added complication.

Number 2, when it happens is heart breaking though. Our relationships with children are built on trust and respect. By asking a child to lie to us, that trust and respect is damaged and can lead to children becoming less focused on their learning in general and more likely to act out in other ways.

We spend 7 hours a day with people's children, just be honest, take the fine.

SusieB50 Wed 27-Jul-22 15:30:07

Forty years ago I took my children away in school time for about 3 or 4 years when they were in primary . The reason for this was that my DH was in the construction industry and as a junior manager at the time got last pickings for dates. The head teacher was fine about it and they had to do a project or daily account of what they had done to show her on return . They loved doing it every evening and I still have some of them . But we would never choose beginning or end of term for the reasons given previously. Once they reached 10 or so , DH had climbed the ladder a bit !

aonk Wed 27-Jul-22 15:32:00

When I was a primary school Governor I remember the Head saying in response to comments about how expensive holidays are during the school holidays that she couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t go camping as she did! It’s the parents who deserve the holiday. They work hard for it and pay for it. The children would be fine at home. Teachers need to bear this in mind. If parents want more comfort and luxury why should they be forced to go camping?

GagaJo Wed 27-Jul-22 15:33:29

Hang on. Why are you holding teachers to account for this? Teachers have zero input over policy. Heads, local authorities or government yes.

MissAdventure Wed 27-Jul-22 15:40:16

I think the answer probably depends (on here, at least)
On who is planning to take a child out of school, and how people who don't know them at all judge they will be spending the holiday.

Ladyleftfieldlover Wed 27-Jul-22 15:41:20

Son and his partner are looking after a friend’s house in Barbados this summer for four weeks. Son’s partner misread the date when school restarts so my granddaughter will miss the first day back. She will be in a new class - Year 2 - but her previous class are moving up together and she has met the teacher. It’s still a shame though.

Mollygo Wed 27-Jul-22 16:06:17

It’s difficult. I could never take my children out of school in term time for obvious reasons.
Some parents are apologetic-their work limitations or finances mean holidays in term time or never.
Some parents demand work, which isn’t given although I do suggest diaries they could share on return and suggest reading.

Some parents are rude-“ They’re probably not going to miss much anyway.”

In the past, I’ve been incredibly grateful for a break whilst some children were taken out. They were disruptive in class and sometimes violent. While they were away, my bruises healed. The rest of the class also benefited by their absence.
Fortunately TA’s working 1-1 with EBD children make life easier now and the missed work is easier to catch up.

GagaJo Wed 27-Jul-22 16:58:11

My lovely student (who failed GCSE English due to missing 3 assessments) was apologetic. Obviously, he wanted to go on holiday, but he said sorry to me, for him missing the assessments and told me his parents didn't listen when he told them what he'd be missing.

Jaxjacky Wed 27-Jul-22 17:23:06

Here in Hampshire the fine is £60, with the cost of holidays during the school holidays I can understand the temptation. I didn’t do it and my daughter works in a school so obviously not, but prices are extortionate.