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Should parents take their children on holiday in term time?

(187 Posts)
suzied Sun 09-Apr-17 06:17:56

I wondered what people feel about this in relation to the recent court case which ruled against the parents. As a former teacher, it used to annoy me when a child went off skiing or on a Caribbean cruise just before an exam and was surprised when I wasn't happy to rush round and photocopy a transcript of every lesson they had missed and go through it with them in my lunch hour. However,, this court case only happened because Michael Gove removed the discretion of the headteacher to decide whether it was ok for a child to go on holiday and made it a blanket ban. I think that discretion should be reinstated as missing a few days of school isn't that harmful in the long run to most childrens' whole education. Seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Anya Sun 09-Apr-17 06:24:45

I feel like you do suzied i.e. It is a bind when children miss school, especially in linear subjects such as maths, when they might have missed out on activities which are introducing a new concept.

But a week, at the HT's discretion should be manageable. It's these bullish patents though who see it just as their right that rub me up the wrong way.

cornergran Sun 09-Apr-17 07:01:35

Depends when in the term and the age/stage of the child and their class group. Yes, give the Head some leeway. I think a blanket ban is OTT in this situation, a common sense approach much more helpful.

aggie Sun 09-Apr-17 07:26:08

I missed school due to hospital admission when we were doing tables( in the dark ages ) and never managed to catch up , so I can see how taking children on holiday can harm their education . Holiday Companies charge less at quiet times to fill beds

Marydoll Sun 09-Apr-17 07:49:51

When I was a teacher, I used to get frustrated when parents took their children out of school for holidays, as it impacted not only on their own learning, but that of others. I would have to spend time on individual tuition when they returned, trying to help them catch up, meaning that other pupils who would have benefited from my support did not receive it. The pace in schools is so fast nowadays, that there is no time to do what we are expected to do, without added work.
On the other hand, if I knew in advance and it was in special circumstances, I saw no problem in the head teacher using discretion. We had families who would just take off to Spain for a fortnight and not inform the school. They never thought of the consequences of their actions.

Humbertbear Sun 09-Apr-17 07:52:00

I missed the introduction to algebra due to an operation and only caught up thanks to my brother in law. On the other hand I had also missed several chemistry lessons and I never caught up. I taught Home Economics and it was infuriating to have children miss a lesson where we planned a practical which meant that the following week, when I was teaching a practical lesson I also had to set work for those who weren't cooking and they were invariably disruptive to the rest of the class.

Christinefrance Sun 09-Apr-17 07:58:56

Yes aggie but the mark up during school holidays is astronomical in some cases. I think there are times when children should not be taken out of school e.g. prior to exams. I agree with others the Head teacher should gave some discretion over this. There are problems then when families have children at different schools. Parents who flout the law are not setting a good example to their children. A law cannot be ignored just because you don't agree with it.

Lillie Sun 09-Apr-17 08:09:40

I have no problem whatsoever with children being taken out of school in term time, occasionally, if it is to have important quality time with the family (and it doesn't have to mean going away on holiday).

Welshwife Sun 09-Apr-17 08:18:12

What annoyed me was when the parents would ask for work to take with them! Most times the child would come back never having picked up a pencil. Then I changed tactic. and suggested the child made a scrap book and put in it postcards, tickets for rides as well as little diary bits and maybe photos. Very few children ever did this but those who did, came back with a lovely memento of their holiday.
Even for young children I found it was disruptive to the learning not only of the child but the others in their group and if you had a good number going one after the other it was a pain in the ar*e !
To have the last couple of days of the term off was the best time to go. - the worst was the first few days in September as they missed the new groupings and classrooms etc.

Welshwife Sun 09-Apr-17 08:21:54

Meant to say - here in France the holidays are staggered - three groups - early, on time and late. The areas for the holidays were redefined last year but several departments in an area are off at the same time. This does help the situation a bit. Part from Easter bank holiday itself only a third of schools will actually be on holiday that week - some will have gone back to school having had the holiday and others have it a couple of weeks later. The calendar our post lady gives us has all the holiday dates shown and colour coded by areas.

Badenkate Sun 09-Apr-17 08:23:44

Apparently it is a real problem for a child to miss a week's schooling because of going on a family holiday, but perfectly acceptable for a school to refuse to take a child for several weeks because it was unable to cope with a leg in a cast, as happened to youngest DGS.

ninathenana Sun 09-Apr-17 08:31:58

I agree, age and in senior school stage of school year should be a deciding factor for the Head and it should be at the Head's discretion.
We took ours out of school twice in their primary years. Not for financial reasons but for UK holidays because H worked shifts and his shift pattern meant that he only got 2 lots of 7 days off in a year and one 14 day period and could not submit holiday requests, so if we wanted a family holiday which as H worked damn hard for and deserved we had to take it whenever those 7 days fell which could be any month of the year.
Nobody seems to consider shift workers in all this.

ninathenana Sun 09-Apr-17 08:34:26

That's rediculous Badenkate

MaizieD Sun 09-Apr-17 08:35:34

I know it's a bit naive, but instead of penalising parents it's a pity nothing can be done about the outrageous prices charged by the holiday industry at during school holiday times.

As families become more fragmented at the school I worked at we were having children being taken out in term time for 2 holidays; one with mum and one with dad. Or even one with grandparents...

I have seen all the arguments for and against and, on balance, I don't think it's a good thing to do.

harrigran Sun 09-Apr-17 08:36:37

Children should not be taken out of school for family holidays and why do people think they are entitled ? Time in school is brief enough as it is.

Lillie Sun 09-Apr-17 08:39:07

Yes, shift workers nina, and in our school lots of armed forces' children who need every precious minute of family time.

Iam64 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:08:04

One of my friends taught at one school and her two children were at different local schools. They struggled to find two weeks when their school holidays coincided. This was when 'Mill" holidays still took place in our area. The holidays were staggered with local towns starting their break as others returned from theirs. It worked well for us because our break was the last week in June, first in July. We had cheaper, quieter holidays but didn't work for my friend's family.

I retired four years ago but when I was working I knew a number of children from Irish traveller families who were taken out of school in June, returning mid or late September. During the extended break, they travelled using the caravan they lived-in, or kept at the side of their house. Similarly, children with family in Pakistan were sometimes taken out for up to 12 weeks for an extended visit to their family homeland.

I've little sympathy for the father in the current case, who took his child out of school for two weeks to go to Disney World. He could have afforded the premium charged by holiday companies. I sympathise with people whose work patterns don't allow them time off during the set school holidays. I'm sure most head teachers would be sympathetic to that kind of situation, or family ill health/bereavement issues.

ninathenana Sun 09-Apr-17 09:08:49

So true Lillie

norose4 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:10:43

At the age of 10 I was quite poorly & off school for 7 weeks, I was too ill to do school work at home & wasn't given any extras to catch up, I will never know whether or not I would have been a Genius! ? .... However from reading some posts I can see that it must be difficult for teachers if as ,has been said they are the ones putting in the extra work/ effort to get these children up to speed. That seems to be unfair to me, so I think that parents should have to accept that no extra time /help will be given to their children to catch up & that the onus to do this would be on them.

merlotgran Sun 09-Apr-17 09:19:17

So much time and trouble wasted just because he wouldn't pay the fine. I can just imagine his legal team laughing all the way to the bank.

A very expensive trip to Disneyland. Serves him right.

Niobe Sun 09-Apr-17 09:19:52

This particular father was bleating on about his child having a 90% attendance as if that backed up his claim that the holiday would do no harm. A 90% attendance means that his child attended school 9 times out of 10 and missed 1 in 10 days. Correct me if I am wrong but that child was already missing 1 day every fortnight on average. Hardly an enviable attendance record!!

Penstemmon Sun 09-Apr-17 09:26:32

When I was a HT and we still had discretion to authorise or not it depended on all sorts of circumstances and I could respond individually. It was also permitted to allow police/firefightrs/hospital staff etc. who had to work a leave rota permission for term time hols.
. There were also many unrealistic requests /excuses for absence and some familes opted out very regularly..then said school was not worth it bcos kids did not learn. No undrstanding of cause and effect! confused
In the LA where I worked the head of pupil welfare (attendance officer) negotiated a 10%discount with a local travel company for families travelling in school hols. It was a positive gesture. If yhe government had the will they could tackle some of those price hikes but they are strong believers in market forces. hmm

NfkDumpling Sun 09-Apr-17 09:30:52

I think it depends on what's happening in school at the time. We used to take ours out a couple of days before the end of summer term in order to miss the horrendous traffic jams. Then those last two days were spent tidying the class room and bringing in toys to play with. I expect though that these days the last lesson will be maths. No fun sessions work, work right until that final bell!

Also, it depends what the holiday involves. Some can be wonderful learning experiences and parents are often prepared to take lessons with them so the child doesn't fall behind. A bit of give and take and common sense is needed. I don't like a blanket ban and fear it may be used as an excuse to send a poorly child into school rather than arrange time off work.

Penstemmon Sun 09-Apr-17 09:36:49

Of course us teachers,benefit from regular hols. but always pay top cost if we want to go away. No sneaking off early to avoid the jams/rush for them. Really peed me off when parents quoted that reason to me!

Anniebach Sun 09-Apr-17 09:49:05

I took my two daughters on holidays every June, I couldn't afford to holiday in August, we live in Wales and holidayed in Wales, we visited places of Welsh history and spent time on the beach. I think they benefited from this, what they learned in school in history Was far more interesting when we visited the castles, graves, memorials etc.