School and holidays during term time

(242 Posts)
Undercarrigetrouble Fri 22-May-09 23:38:30

dd's school have refused us permission.
We are unable to go any other time as it is unaffordable to us also due to work commitments it is difficult to take leave during the school holidays.
dd has a great attendance record so i think they are being slightly unreasonable.
We are taking her regardless
So what will they do?

Undercarrigetrouble Fri 22-May-09 23:53:44


plimple Fri 22-May-09 23:54:46

not a lot I shouldn't think.

Clary Sat 23-May-09 00:02:01

It will be recorded as unauthorised absence.

Some schools never give permission for hols in termtime - is this the policy at yours?

Mumofagun Sat 23-May-09 00:03:41

No, me neither in your case as your children have an excellent attendance record. But, the Local Authority does have the power to impose a £100 fine, a bit like a parking fixed penalty notice. This is always at the discretion of the headteacher and really only a last resort for those parents who regularly show no regard for their childrens attence at school. (Constant days off for shopping, whole days for a dental appointment, parent at home with a hangover, can't be bothered to take the kids to school etc!). The absence will probably just be marked down as unauthorised. It's really unfair to penalise responsible parents over something like this and this is not what the fine was brought in for and is rarely used as schools don't really like it. Enjoy your holiday!

I've got to write our school a letter saying I'm taking DS out for a week to go on holiday. I've been putting off writing it as I feel so guilty. But then I remind myself he is only in Reception FGS and has 2 days off (sick) since he started, and is also doing really well academically so can't see him having difficulty getting back into the swing of things.

The reason we are taking him out is because there's a large family group of us going and it's the only date we could get that suited everyone.

I think our school is quite sensible and understanding though. It is a good school - firm but fair. I think they allow you up to 2 weeks off in term time for family holidays at their discretion. Presumably if you had a history of taking your child out for no good reason then they'd be more likely to say no. I dunno.....

I have said that this is the last year we'll do it as from Year 1 onwards attendance is more important, but to be honest, if it comes down to a financial choice - ie. take him on hol in term=time, or not have a holiday at all (looking increasingly like the scenario for this time next year thanks to worries with DH's job) then I would not hesitate.

I don't know why I've waffled on so much. grin (wine, no doubt.)

In answer to your question, I think it would just go down as unauthorised absence and you will forever be looked down upon as A Bad Parent by all the school staff. grin Best try and get yourself elected on the PTA and ingratiate yourself!!

Only joking obviously.....I think they should allow some bloody leeway really rather than just a blanket refusal of all requests (if that is what they are doing at your school).

Undercarrigetrouble Sat 23-May-09 00:12:04

Clary-Tbh i am not totally sure on their policy but i seem to remember the "at head teachers discretion " line.

Even when we had that heavy snow and all other schools except ours shut i dragged dd in.I am quite annoyed about this tbh as we cant all have well paid jobs with school hours .

If fined btw how would they police it?

Mumofagun Sat 23-May-09 00:20:35

Ah, not so sure about the policing bit tbh. I assume that because it is issued by the local authority just like a parking ticket, if you didn't pay etc there would be the same right of appeal like you would get for that. I suppose that could mean that you could get prosecuted for Non payment of Fine?

I think that's why the school heads do it as a last resort for the worst cases and not the ones like yours. I don't particularly think its the best way (she says, sort of sitting on the fence). Does anyone else know?

dancingbear Sat 23-May-09 09:16:10

You could speak directly to your LEA - they will let you know the policy on unauthorised absence - When spoke to pur LEA about taking my kids out, their response was given my kid's excellent attendence and the reason for our trip they just wouldn't be interested in fining us regardless of whether we recieved permission or not from the school.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 23-May-09 10:58:43

DS's school has a no term time holiday policy too except for exceptional cases - wedding, funeral etc. Wanting to go because its cheaper would not be granted.

It causes extra work for the teacher catching up, disrupts the other children if sections need to be retaught and teachers have enough to do as it is.

Children have 13 weeks off school - plenty of time to go away and booking in advance/changing location etc can bring down costs if needed. Holidays are a luxury and not a right plus how can we teach children to respect the schools authority if parents are willing to disrespect it so easily?

ihatethecold Sat 23-May-09 12:04:40

lighten up HMOO. what is the problem with having 2 weeks to have quality time with your kids somewhere nice? arnt we made to feel guilty about so many things without adding to it. its 10 days FFS.

ICANDOTHAT Sat 23-May-09 13:18:34

Agree ihatethecold families get little quality time together these days and prices are a nightmare in holiday times - we are ripped off. Yes, they are a luxury, but that doesn't mean we should feel bad about wanting to take them. I once took my son out of school for 2 weeks to visit South Africa and it was amazing. It was a fantastic experience for him and he learnt so much about how other cultures lived and got to see the horror of real roverty - he talks about it to this day. Oh, and we saved about £2K doing so out of holiday time - it was same price as going to Spain for a fortnight. He's education did not suffer in any way and his teacher didn't do any 'catch up' work on his return.

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 15:36:38

They will do nothing .

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 23-May-09 15:53:55

They can fine you - if they did and you don't pay you would be prosecuted for non-payment and you can be imprisioned for not ensuring you children go to school. But they won't do it for 10 days holiday absence alone - they can, but won't.

Personally though - if you're a parent who is proud of your school's good or outstanding Ofsted, if that's something that swayed you towards choosing that school then you should ask yourself if taking your children out is really supportive of it. 10 days off without any other illness pretty much puts your child at 95% attendance.

ihatethecold Sat 23-May-09 16:13:56

these are primary school kids fgs. i cant see what the issue is about. its still cheaper to be fined than go in the hols.. too much guilt , ridiculous..

karise Sat 23-May-09 16:34:37

How long do you want to go for? I don't know about yours but ours say no more than 10 days in one go in one school year, so you maybe going over 'the limit'.
Also, it's good if you can put an educational slant on the request like to support the study of an area of the world they haven't seen, or our usual one for center parcs is for the opportunity to try lots of activities DD would otherwise not get the chance to experience. However, seeing Grandparents should also be seen as an important reason to go! This was the other thing we added to ours as DD only see's them 3 or 4 times per year- if it's only one week per year & your childs doing well what's the problem?
I'd try writing again explaining more fully the family you are to see & what educational benefit there might be!

Quattrocento Sat 23-May-09 16:37:07

Dh prosecutes for this type of thing. In fairness, not for a single holiday. Usually parents who just don't bother and there is a history of non-attendance.

But why do you think it is okay to take them out of school? Bit off.

ihatethecold Sat 23-May-09 16:44:06

why not, it used to be the norm. im not talking about the odd day off all the time throughout the year but a week or two, once in the year..

Quattrocento Sat 23-May-09 16:54:11

Why not? Well because:

1. It's teaching your DCs that your own convenience comes ahead of school rules - ie that rules don't apply
2. It's teaching a lack of respect for education
3. Your dd will miss some school - and a couple of weeks would mean covering quite a lot of ground at my DC's schools - although this might not apply to your DD's school

There is a reason why holidays are more expensive in school holiday times. The rest of us have to live with it ...

<sententious, moi?>

ihatethecold Sat 23-May-09 17:03:30

bit over the top..
having one holiday a year does not teach kids a lack of respect. i know many kids who have the odd day here and there for extended weekends or mild illness. i can understand the issue there, but not for a holiday, when they have good attendance already.
many children benefit so much from their hols. cant see what the problem is.
teachers were never bothered before it became such a hot topic.

karise Sat 23-May-09 17:15:59

I'm not talking about taking lots of different holidays or anything! Just that if they miss that last week of term when nothing much happens what's the problem?

lljkk Sat 23-May-09 17:19:09

Quattro: How much is the fine? Is it per child or per family? Do you get a notice to pay via post or how are offenders notified?

juuule Sat 23-May-09 17:20:19

You have said that it is impossible for you to go as a family any other time due to costs and work commitments. I would say go on your holiday and enjoy yourself.

What is your dd learning?
1. It's teaching your DCs that family come ahead of school rules - ie that in some circumstances rules can be waived.

Op is not teaching her dc lack of respect for education as she has already said her dd has an excellent attendance record and has gone in school rain or shine.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 23-May-09 17:25:13

Its unauthorised absence, if your employer turned down your holiday request would you still go away?

Like Quatrro says it teaches children to break rules and have a lack of respect. Also installs a poor work ethic as they believe its ok to not go in if they fancy a break.

Education is important, there are 13 weeks in the year to go and spend on the beach.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 23-May-09 17:34:29

lljkk - you get penalty notice for a fine of £50 increasing to £100 if not paid within 28 days.

If you don't pay you can be liable to a fine up to £2,500, a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both.

mrz Sat 23-May-09 17:42:14

ihatethecold believe me teachers were bothered before but couldn't do anything about it now they are obliged by law to report unauthorised absences. As a reception teacher parents don't seem to think it matters as much if their child misses school compared to older children but IME it can cause children real problems.
Having said that we usually give permission for two weeks in a school year.

lljkk Sat 23-May-09 17:45:47

Is that per child Saggar?
Does the penalty notice come in the post or is it formally served to you in person or read to you at a police station or what?
Does the FPN get issued as soon as child is missed from school or some time months later?

Also, does it matter how long for -- do you get fined more for 20 days unauthorized (in one go) than 5 or 10 days (still as one holiday) unauthorized?

holdingittogether Sat 23-May-09 17:49:28

I have taken my dcs out of school for hols once before and will again this year. We have family who live abroad and I feel it is very important for them to visit their grandparents. Last year we went in summer hols, it was pricey but we lived with it. this year we really can't afford to pay the same price so coming back 7th september when the price of flights drops significantly. With td days they will only miss the first 4 school days of term. It is not ideal and I do feel a bit guilty about it but it is only 4 days and I think seeing their grandparents is very very important.

I don't expect school will do anything apart from mark it down as unauthorised. I know it is not the same but when I was pg with ds3 I requested ds1 to have a day off to come to a scan with me. I didn't get a reply from the head so took him anyway. Nothing was said. I don't think the head really had a problem with it but she couldn't be seen to authorise such days off.

I would appeal to the head one more time before going against them.

karise Sat 23-May-09 17:59:07

Surely the head could hold a reasonable conversation with you about it? I would explain my reasons in detail &see what he/she says!

janeite Sat 23-May-09 18:01:29

I am very much of the totally disapprove of holidays in term-time camp, so agree with Quattro.

neversaydie Sat 23-May-09 18:33:44

In theory I am very much with those who say that children should be at school during term-time.

In practice, our school have sprung an extra INSET day and a day off because the school is a polling station just in this term. And agree that they seem to do very little other than muck about in the last week if the summer term anyway. So I guess I am softening..

I would try not to miss the first week of term though - new year and new teacher and so forth, and the child could feel a bit left out?

holdingittogether Sat 23-May-09 18:45:06

That was exactly my worries when we thought about them missing those first few days of term. It wasn't a snap decision and we did consider it very carefully. My dcs go to a small primary where there are only 7 classes. Both of my school age kids know already which teacher they will have next year and will be with exactly the same children as there is only one class per year group. Routines are pretty consistent throughout the school so no major changes. I agree it is not ideal but we feel it will be fine, it's only 4 days wed, thurs, fri and then monday, back to school tuesday. Head has approved it.

holdingittogether Sat 23-May-09 18:45:06

That was exactly my worries when we thought about them missing those first few days of term. It wasn't a snap decision and we did consider it very carefully. My dcs go to a small primary where there are only 7 classes. Both of my school age kids know already which teacher they will have next year and will be with exactly the same children as there is only one class per year group. Routines are pretty consistent throughout the school so no major changes. I agree it is not ideal but we feel it will be fine, it's only 4 days wed, thurs, fri and then monday, back to school tuesday. Head has approved it.

MamaMuesli Sat 23-May-09 18:47:11

at our school it's a letter first time, they say it's a fine second time but I don't know enough to know if they have imposed it on anyone yet.

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 19:18:24

If they fine you ,then don't pay for any school trips or swimming or anything like that
It is ridiculous to say primary children missing a few days of school are going to be permanantly educationally disadvantaged.Primary school go over the same old things time and time and time again

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 23-May-09 19:37:09

lljkk - I'm not totally sure because I hand over my really bad cases and the EWO deals with the fines. It's probably per child because I suppose each child is a different 'offence'.

The notice goes in the post I think - I expect it has to be signed for and as far as I know, in my LA anyway you get a 'notice to improve' first. Although you would have had repeated letters and a visit from Education Welfare before that point anyway. Our LA can fine for 20 sessions which is actually 10 days as a session is a half day. As I said though they wouldn't do it for a one off 10 day holiday although you may get a notice to improve. I think (don't quote me though) that one more day after that can trigger the fine. It's a flat fixed penalty - no sliding scale at that point.

Most LA's have their own guidelines published on their website but the law surrounding it is the Education act 1996.

RustyBear Sat 23-May-09 19:45:41

holdinittogether - sorry, but all the teachers at the school I work at say that the first few days of the school year is the worst possible time to miss - so much gets done in those few days & your child will continually be finding out that they don't know details about classroom routines etc.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 23-May-09 21:18:28

Katiestar, its the LEA not the school that issue fines.

Nice to know that you think enough of your childs school to advocate breaking rules and then throwing your dummy out of the pram if you get fined by refusing to pay for trips etc. That then means other parents either subsidise or the trips get cancelled.

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 21:35:25

Yes I think its a stupid and unreasonable rule.A £50 fine is not going to deter anyone when you compare it to the diffrence between term time and school holiday prices , so is just another way of taxing Jo Public.
Rather than spitting the dummy I would view it as more a case of recouping my £50.Actually would also consider sending Kids in with no packed lunches a couple of days too so they had to give them school dinners.

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 21:36:27

let me add a wink to that school dinner thing as that was actually tongue in cheek!

mrz Sat 23-May-09 21:40:29

katiestar the school isn't obliged to give your child a school meal if you don't send in a packed lunch (only to contact you )and if they do you will be expected to pay so that would be a pointless gesture.
Happymummyofone is right about other parents and children being the ones to suffer if you don't pay for school visits

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 21:50:50

Other parents won't suffer because they will have set the price before they know I'm not going to pay .If they cancel the trip they'll lose their deposit.
(BTW this is all hypothetical as I don't have any unauthorised absence and haven't been fined !)

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 21:57:20

mrz - it causes reception children real problems missing school for a week ? hmm
What will they miss .'one more than' , 'one less than ' colouring in and glitter or maybe playing in the sand .FGS some schools have intakes mid year anyway, those kids are missing a term or more .I somehow think they'll hav ecaught up before they sit their A levels

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 23-May-09 22:05:56

You sound so supportive of your child's school katiestar. hmm

katiestar Sat 23-May-09 22:16:01

I am.I transport kids to school trips/sporting events , member of PTA ,used to be a governor , help at least 2 mornings a week in reception /Yr 1 class and they often ring me up at last minute when they are short of TAs.
All this makes me a bit miffed when I receive a letter from the head/ chairman of the governors to say that 'the governors are concerned at the number of children taking their children out of school for holidays and in future they will be unauthorsied '.Given that the parent governors are probably the worst offenders and have nearly all taken their children out earlier in the year for skiing holidays,I found this letter to be more than a little inflamatory.Especially as most parents bend over backwards to help the school.

Clary Sat 23-May-09 23:39:04

katiestar if that's what you think of what they do in school why send them at all?

Really I do wonder this about people who justify holidays in term time by saying "Well, they don't learn anything in a week anyway." Really? Really?

Luckily for us all (except perhaps their children) they are quite wrong.

DadAtLarge Sat 23-May-09 23:43:51

I'll take the minority view and agree with Quattrocento that taking children out of school is not setting a good example.

In addition to the points raised I'll also offer that if the teacher has to spend any extra time with your child to catch them up then it's not fair on the other children.

OTOH, I object to authorities telling me what I can and can't do with my kids. I'm tempted to take my children out for two weeks just to prove a point ;)

If the school doesn't like it I'll give them 24 hour notice under section 7 of the 1996 Education Act that I'm taking the children out of full time education (as the HEs do). Perfectly legal. As long as the school still has spaces after those two weeks I suspect they'll have to readmit when I change my mind.

DadAtLarge Sat 23-May-09 23:46:12

BTW, the icing on the cake is that if you pull them out under Section 7 your child gets marked down as "authorised absence" for those two weeks.

hatesponge Sun 24-May-09 00:53:51

My understanding is that you are not normally prosecuted for a one-off absence.

My DCs have an excellent attendance record, their school policy is that there is no authorised absence. They will be missing 2 days school as we are going away for a week from Tuesday-Tuesday.

I am not expecting the school/LEA to take any action - especially as nothing was done about the girl in DS1s year who was off for 2 weeks in December as she went to Australia, nor DS2's friend who came back to school 3 weeks after the end of the Easter hols as he had been abroad visiting comparison 2 days off seems to me very minor, and I'm not intending to lose any sleep over it.

Quattrocento Sun 24-May-09 08:28:54

Isn't that a dangerous strategy DAL? Fine if your school doesn't have a waiting list but if it does ...?

BonsoirAnna Sun 24-May-09 08:36:27

I take DD out of school for the odd day here and there if we are going away for a long weekend, or if something more interesting than school crops up - but she is only 4.6, still at (optional) pre-school and all the other parents do it and the teachers and school don't care or mind, and think that it is normal.

I will definitely stop doing it once she reaches school proper. I don't want her to have gaps in her knowledge.

mrz Sun 24-May-09 09:02:48

Katiestar "what will they miss" the reason we have something called the foundation stage is because it is recognised that the very first years of a child's life are when they learn most and future learning is built upon.
Think of all the milestones in the first five years of a child's life walking talking and just making sense of the world around them. If anything "A" levels are a society measure of "learning" and possibly have less value as life skills than the skills children learn in their first years of school, certainly learning to be part of a group and recognising that there has to be give and take begins that first day.
Experts have recognised the most important "measure" of future success is the dispositions and attitudes towards learning that children display in their first years at school. Not literacy or maths but attitude and often this attitude is a mirror of parents attitude positive or negative.

As to schools losing deposits for cancelling visits. Schools set dates for payments prior to the date when they would have to pay for cancelling for just that reason.

juuule Sun 24-May-09 09:13:42

"certainly learning to be part of a group and recognising that there has to be give and take begins that first day."

Those things don't happen only in school.

mrz Sun 24-May-09 09:27:50

No juuule but children arrive at school with a huge spectrum of experiences and unfortunately many children start school unable to take turns or share because they haven't had to, unable to listen because interrupting when others are talking is accepted, and unable to use talk to negotiate because screaming is effective. Coping in a class and a school environment is very different to coping at home and those first few weeks are vital.
I realise parents sometimes have no choice about holidaying during term time but I would ask them to think very carefully about timing. Please not the first week of the new school year.

Just a question for all those who are staunchly against taking children out of school in term-time.

Are you against it because you can easily afford to take your family away in school holidays? I wonder.......what about those of us who would really struggle to afford the extra few hundred quid that it would be to take a week's holiday in school holiday time? We have struggled to cobble together the money for a week's self-catering in Cornwall this year. We would like to go to the same place again next year, but having looked at the prices in school holiday times we would not be able to afford it. We just would not. Does that mean that we should not have a family holiday at all, or should we only have a cheapo few days in a grotty caravan a few miles from our house?

I do sometimes think that those who get on their high horse about some of us taking term-time holidays should actually give a little thought to our financial situations.

Believe me, if next year we suddenly had loads of money, I would much prefer to go in school holiday time because I DO believe school attendance is very important. But I believe that a once a year week's holiday with family is equally as important in a child's life, and I don't believe I should be made to feel guilty it just because some of you can AFFORD to have the choice.

mrz Sun 24-May-09 12:02:38

CurlyhairedAssassin I understand what you are saying and do sympathise (we've not had a family holiday in years) but look at it this way what if the teacher decided to take his/her holiday in term time because he/she couldn't afford to go in the school holidays...

Karam Sun 24-May-09 12:03:56

I agree Curly haired. I love it when people say that those who take their kids out of school should just 'not go abroad then' or 'take cheeper holidays'. If only that were an option. By going term time, I can share the costs of the holiday with my parents... which means that my holiday this year will cost me £200 (half of a caravan at Haven in Early july, booked last September with a big discount). If anyone can find me a weeks holiday for less than £200 in the summer holidays, then I'd be interested to know where!

ellingwoman Sun 24-May-09 12:07:23

Buy a tent wink

Seriously, I'm a TA and can't take holidays in term time. Camping/caravanning costs under £200 a week for a family of five. And having your home on your back you can go anywhere!

juuule Sun 24-May-09 12:15:44

How do you transport all the stuff, Ellingwoman. Will it all fit in a small 5-seater? And you're a bit stuck if you've not got a car I presume. Or do you carry it all?

ellingwoman Sun 24-May-09 12:23:09

Well some campers use public transport but probably a car is a must - even if only for sitting in on site if it is particularly wet and windy!

Camping you could do with a small car depending on how much you want to take. Caravanning needs a big car to tow with as most caravans now are so well-equipped they weigh a lot.

Don't camp so much now as old and unfit so have a nice caravan. We go away for about 3 holidays a year and numerous weekends. All together cost well under £1000 including food.

juuule Sun 24-May-09 12:28:38

But ellingwoman you would have paid for your caravan, site fees, paid for the car to pull it and things associated with car. I think it's not as straightforward as saying 3 holidays a year for £1000.
If someone doesn't have a car or their own caravan or a car big enough to transport people and stuff, what then.
£200 out of term time sounds a better option to me for Karam.
(obviously I don't know Karam's transport situation)

juuule Sun 24-May-09 12:29:59

in term time blush

hatesponge Sun 24-May-09 12:50:32

if you have your own touring caravan - ie not kept on a site all year round - although you can go away for weekends etc all the time, and only pay fees for the pitch, you have still got to pay for the caravan initially, and also find (& pay for) somewhere to keep it the rest of the time, as most people dont have a driveway big enough, certainly not in urban areas

juuule Sun 24-May-09 12:53:01

And presumably you would need a car big enough to tow it.

ellingwoman Sun 24-May-09 12:58:17

After the initial outlay caravanning holidays are cheap, especially for a family of more than 2 children. I initially came to this thread about camping which needs a minimal initial outlay and not necessarily any transport.

They don't compete with out of season holiday camp type holidays but a change of outlook from a ££££ holiday abroad is not out of the question. This is what we did.

juuule Sun 24-May-09 13:09:50

But that's the point, ellingwoman, some people are not looking at swopping holiday abroad for holiday at home. Some are just looking to get away.
I don't think that you can lightly dismiss the inital costs of camping and caravanning, either. We looked into it and it wasn't doable for us.

"They don't compete with out of season holiday camp type holidays "
Which is why some people need that option.

DadAtLarge Sun 24-May-09 13:18:56

CHA, you ask, "what about those of us who would really struggle to afford the extra few hundred quid that it would be to take a week's holiday in school holiday time"

I say don't take a holiday. I don't understand the British obssession with holidays. Weird. The moment the weather turns a little nice here everyone wants to leave the country.

We can afford to take the children away during the holidays but we have more fun right here. I agree that it's important to spend a week with the kids. Taking them away to a resort in Spain and lounging at a pool while they take care of themselves ... is some people's idea of spending quality time with the kids. It may not be yours but why do you feel you have to leave the country to enjoy family time?

DadAtLarge Sun 24-May-09 13:22:20

Caravanning is just one idea. There are thousands of things to do right here in the UK. For the half term we've got planned days at the beach, exploring local woods and parks etc. We've allocated one day for building a castle in the garden (we've got lots of cardboard boxes, water paints, tape, rope for the drawbridge etc. We're doing this on request - they did it last year and had so much fun).

juuule Sun 24-May-09 13:26:44

DadatLarge - CHA wasn't talking about a holiday abroad.

DadAtLarge Sun 24-May-09 14:11:02

I could have worded it better - the latter part is more a general comment rather than to CHA. But whether it's going abroad or booking a holiday elsewhere in the UK (Centre Parcs etc), the point was that you don't need to leave town.

I agree with DadatLarge.

We can't afford to go abroad on holiday in school holidays, or even to some holiday camps in the UK.

But we still have 2 weeks together as a family and plan days out/activities. The kids love it, and we get to spend quality time together.

It's amazing what activities are on your doorstep that you don't know about til you hunt them out! If nothing else we are inventive.

The kids would love to go in a plane somewhere, because most of their friends do, but accept that we don't do that, not yet anyway!

DadAtLarge Sun 24-May-09 16:11:28

Yes, Quattro, it's a dangerous strategy to pull the HE trick. If it's a popular school you won't get back in. What does that say? If you value the school enough and others value it too don't play games.

But, imagine a different education funding setup where instead of collecting taxes and providing "free" education our government removed that part of the tax and charged everyone for each school place. I suspect that many would change their tune and insist on keeping the kids in school if they were paying £40 per day per child for every day of the holiday (like we do with the private nursery we send our youngest C to).

Karam Sun 24-May-09 19:00:43

Buy a tent

But of course, the costs of doing that is not under £200 though is it? As I currently do not own anything even remotely related to camping I very much doubt that I'd be able to buy the tent, sleeping bads and air beds, cooking equipment and whatever else is needed for under £200 would I?

Yes of course it would pay itself over a number of years, but the issue is having the money now!

And I don't think I'd fit it into my toyota Yaris - That only manages one suitcase, one pushchair a box of food and a box of toys for the week (in case of wet weather). So I would also need to buy a trailer or hire a car large enough to carry everything.

Going camping is not going to cost me less than £200 this year. So the challenge is back on!!

Love the assumption that we all skip schools for foreign holidays - I've not been abroad since before I got pregnant with DD1 6 years ago!!

Clary Sun 24-May-09 22:02:03

curlyhairedassassin wrt the increased price of holidays in holiday time and how people afford that; we don't spend lots of money on our hols.

This year we are self-catering in the UK and the hosue is costing £700 for a week. There are 6 of us going; I guess with say 4 people it could cost a lot less. And there are many other cheaper options available around the country (eg caravan, Haven/Butlins site, camping!)

If you don't have that kind of money to spend on a school-hols holiday, then maybe you can't afford one. We don't have a holiday home in the South of France, three cars, a huge five bed detached house, or lots of designer clothes. I know lots of people who do but I don't think that means they are a right of mine!

Dadatlarge's suggestions for quality time in the back garden are great!

Me neither, Karam. DH's family keep wanting us to go with them to Florida where they go every year. Was shocked the other day to hear SIL say "We got a bargain with our flights this year - 1200 quid." (or was it 1400? whatever) My mouth fell open and I said "We won't even be spending that on our whole holiday this year - far, far from that amount in fact."

I would just be happy staying in the UK for a week's holiday anyway, DadAtLarge. I do think it's important to try and get away somewhere for a change of scene. There's only so many times you can go to the same old museums, country parks etc locally without wistfully wanting to explore further afield. And it broadens the children's horizons too.

Oh, and DadAtLarge, as for your other comment "I say don't take a holiday." Don't you think that's a bit harsh? Some of my best childhood memories are of a caravan holiday by the beach in Wales or Cornwall, exploring the rock pools and walking along the coastal paths. I would be devastated if someone told me that my kids couldn't have the opportunity to make their own holiday memories simply because "school is just so important" blah blah.

And good for you that you live close enough to a beach to be able to take your children there for the day as a matter of course during the half-term holidays. Some of us don't. hmm

And you say you can afford to go away during the school holidays but just choose not to. Well, again, that's your choice. But at least you have the bloody choice! There are people that don't, and live in the city and would LOVE to give their kids the chance to have a week in the fresh air by the sea or in the countryside.

angry Am getting all wound up now.....some people just dont' think how others' situations might differ to their own.

Mrz, presumably if you've chosen to work in a school then you've considered the whole holiday dilemma and accepted that it's just part of the terms and conditions of the job.

As for the cheaper options of camping and caravanning etc, I love caravanning holidays actually - had some great ones as a kid but like others have said, there's the huge initial outlay of buying a tourer. We would love to do that but just haven't got the money to buy one. So the second option would be to rent a static one for a week somewhere. Which is precisely the type of holiday I'm talking about some of us only being able to afford - and it's even a struggle during term-time.

Clary, again, I think it's a bit harsh to say that if you can't afford 700 to spend on a school hols holiday then you can't afford a hoiday full stop and the implication is that you just shouldn't go on holiday then.

Sorry, I just don't agree. Personally, we probably COULD afford to do that, but I would never have the heart to say to someone who could definitely only afford to do it in term-time that they just shouldn't have a holiday at all then. I imagine that a family who couldn't afford to do what you're doing in school holiday time would be unlikely to afford any year round treats like days out like you possibly could, and a holiday in term time could possibly be the one thing they look forward to all year. I just think a bit more understanding from the more well-off among us towards the less well-off would be a bit more appropriate. hmm

I also wonder how you'd feel if, just hypothetically speaking, most people COULD just about afford to take their annual holiday in school holiday time, and by EVERYONE wanting to book the same few weeks, holidays simply became unavailable through sheer demand, and choice became severely limited, if families were able to book anything at all?

Anyway, sorry, OP for hijacking and ranting a bit. It has just wound me up the way that some people don't seem to consider people's different individual situations.

DadAtLarge Sun 24-May-09 23:26:29

I like your childhood memories. You can give your children similar memories - you don't need to live near a beach to do that. I don't think that telling people to not take a holiday is harsh. Not in the least. If money permits, take one. If not, make your own fun. While I may be in a position to choose now, it was not always the case.

I apologise if that winds you up, it wasn't the intention. I've seen hard times, been homeless, lived without a shower for weeks at a time. Then I see people who are so dreadfully off that they can't afford to go away on holiday during the vacation and can afford it only in term time. It may be a big deal to some people but it's something I have difficulty understanding.

I hope it gets sorted out and you get what you're looking for.

mankyscotslass, you can hire a plane and take them for a ride for about £60 if they really, really want to see what it's like. Check Google for flight schools near you.

DadAtLarge, I'm sorry, I still insist that it's harsh to suggest that if people can't afford to go away on holiday during school holiday times then they shouldn't have a holiday at all.

I totally agree that it's possible to make your own fun if you can't afford to have a holiday under any circumstances, term-time or otherwise. Whilst I have never seen the hard times that you have, when DH and I were first together we couldn't afford holidays anywhere and so had a couple of days out locally over the summer instead. We had great fun doing that. If we couldn't afford a holiday with the kids now at any time in the year then I'm sure we would make our own fun. But the point is when a week away in a caravan somewhere DOES actually become affordable during term-time, could you really blame families for choosing that option? Can you not see the positives for a child of choosing that option?

Look, personally if it was a choice between taking my family abroad on holiday during term-time or having a week's caravan holiday in Wales during school holidays then I would choose the latter. Where it's a choice between one or the other "type" of holiday at different types of year, then I would opt for the school holidays one. If the choice were: have a holiday in term-time or DON'T have a holiday then I know which one I'd choose.

MollieO Mon 25-May-09 00:30:27

I'm taking ds out of school for 3 days for holiday because I can't get the time off work to go away for that school holiday. Ds will be taking classes and learning a sport that he enjoys and can do (has mobility problems so lots of sports not available to him). I did it by accident last year (school changed term dates) but will do it by design this year and hope it will be approved. Last year's holiday was hugely beneficial for ds's self esteem and confidence.

BetsyBoop Mon 25-May-09 09:55:15

you can get basic camping gear for just over £100 from halfords

4 berth tent, 4 sleeping bags, 2 dbl air beds & 2 lights for £99.87, add on a portable gas stove for £16.99 & you're sorted.

Perfectly possible to do it in a small car, when I was young we had a canvas frame tent (they take up far more room than modern tents) and we we used to have 4 of us in a Morris Minor. Quite how my Dad used to fit so much into the boot I don't know, it was like a tardis!

We used to go camping when I was a kid as it was the only way we could get away in school holidays. TBH they are some of my fondest memories, kids always see camping as an "adventure" & don't mind roughing it a bit.

Once our kids are at school we will probably end up camping too (much easier when you don't need nappies, travel cots etc...) as the prices during school holidays for what we do now (normally a self catering cottage in the UK) are ridiculous, but I'd rather that than the kids miss school.

ChasingSquirrels Mon 25-May-09 10:01:31

I have taken my ds1 out of school for the week before May half-term for the last two years (Rec & Yr1).
I could afford to go in the half-term break if I wanted.
I chose to go the week before because;
a) it is cheaper
b) it is alot quieter, the thought of being in cornwall in may half term week is not at all appealing.

I wouldn't however take him out in the Sep half-term.

juuule Mon 25-May-09 10:11:25

Also, why would I pay double for the same holiday? If I had the money I would prefer to pay the half price and use the other money to pay for other things for the children.

EachPeachPearMum Mon 25-May-09 10:29:25

All you people bleating 'well, it's only a week, they won't miss anything, it's not important' would have a different attitude if it were the class teacher going on holiday because its cheaper, quieter, educational for their children etc. hmm

I agree with Quattro- it gives the wrong message to children- that they are special and don't need to abide by the rules.

Well they aren't- we have societal norms for a reason. If children don't learn to conform to these they will struggle their whole life.

I am of the opinion that if you cannot afford something, you don't have it, regardless what it is. Holidays are not a necessity, they are a luxury. (Time off is a necessity of course, but you do not need to go away if you beggar yourselves to do so).

juuule Mon 25-May-09 10:38:00

As CurlyHairedAssassin says
"presumably if you've chosen to work in a school then you've considered the whole holiday dilemma and accepted that it's just part of the terms and conditions of the job."

And, in fact, at our primary there have been teachers who have taken holidays in term time in certain circumstances e.g. when one teacher got married.

juuule Mon 25-May-09 10:43:26

For those who think that a holiday away is pointlessthis makes interesting reading.

I particularly agree with
• ‘Recharging batteries’ — holidays allowed families to take themselves away from their daily problems and relax. Some respondents had mental or physical health problems, others had suffered bereavements, and some lived in problem areas and had disputes with their neighbours. The holiday gave them the space and time to think, and relief from routine, chores and stress.

DadAtLarge Mon 25-May-09 13:26:04

Why do people go on holiday?
"A holiday would be healthy"
"I would like a holiday"
"I want a holiday"
"I need a holiday"
"I deserve a holiday"
But the only ever valid grounds to take a holiday (in my book):
"I can afford a holiday"

If I were in a position where I could afford a holiday in term time but not in the holidays... I wouldn't take any holiday at all and would focus on improving my financial position. Especially, as others have pointed out, we can have lots of fun within an hour or two's driving distance.

This may upset some so let me emphasise I'm not advising this, I'm simply stating what I would do.

Taking a holiday when finances are tight sends a message to children not just about rules. It connects spending with desires rather than affordability.

juuule Mon 25-May-09 14:44:32

"within an hour or two's driving distance"

assuming you have a car.

"It connects spending with desires rather than affordability."

How? If you can afford it in term-time then you can afford it.

DadAtLarge Mon 25-May-09 14:20:52

"assuming you have a car"
What does a car have to do with it?

"If you can afford it in term-time then you can afford it. "
Mesasge: We can't afford to go during holidays so - because we want/deserve/ to go - let's do it in term. The over-riding priority is our personal desires.

ChasingSquirrels Mon 25-May-09 14:21:18

life isn't JUST about rules though - is it?

juuule Mon 25-May-09 14:26:36

You said "within an hour or two's driving distance" Doesn't 'driving distance' imply a car? Or at least some sort of motorised vehicle? If you meant public transport then the cost of getting anywhere an hour or two away can be ridiclous.

"Mesasge: We can't afford to go during holidays so - because we want/deserve/ to go - let's do it in term."

Not always. Imo Message: We can't afford to go during holidays so - because we need time together as a family away from everyday stresses - let's do it in term.

No, life isn't JUST about rules though, I quite agree ChasingSquirrels. Imagine a world where everyone went about being nice little obedient robots sticking strictly to the rules of EVERYTHING. Life would just be no fun at all I imagine.

If I were a teacher in a really difficult primary school, and the only way that some of the children could go away on holiday away from the stresses, strains and grime of crime-ridden inner city estates would be to go in term-time, then I would consider myself to be lacking a little humanity and heart if I didn't accept that a little bending of the rules would be worth it to bring a little bit of happiness to those children whose day-to-day lives were actually a bit of a grim struggle compared to the lucky rest of us.

Bit of a long sentence, sorry!

In fact, if my own children's primary school were that strict about rules like that then I would consider sending them to a different one, where consideration and empathy towards individuals was in evidence.

DadAtLarge: "If I were in a position where I could afford a holiday in term time but not in the holidays... I wouldn't take any holiday at all and would focus on improving my financial position." There are single parent families out there who, despite working full-time, are in the best financial position they're ever likely to be in, and if the only way they could afford a holiday would be to go in term-time, would you REALLY begrudge them that? Your attitude just seems, well, a bit heartless towards those less fortunate than yourself.

karise Mon 25-May-09 16:38:30

I maybe missing the point here, but if schools can take children out for day trips for an enriching experience why can't parents?
I am not suggesting for a moment that we all take as much time as we like, but I know kids at DD's school who have to take long weekends & days off of school just to go and see Dad!
In our case, a week with Grandparents who DD would otherwise only get to spend a couple of hours with 3 or 4 times per week is worth a month of school! And if that can only happen in term time because they are busy in the holidays then so be it- there is much more to a childs education than just reading and writing!
Oh and then there is instrumental lessons, music exams, county run weeks away with the orchestra/football team/a week away with the yeargroup- if heads said no to all of these things our education system would be a very boring place...

karise Mon 25-May-09 16:40:50

Oops, I meant per year! She see's her grandparents 3-4 times per year not week blush

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 25-May-09 17:13:02

Theres a huge difference between a school organised day trip and a term time holiday. The school trip will include teachers and an educational aspect to the day - usually ties in with a subject being studied. A holiday with parents is rarely educational - despite the spin some parents put on it.

As for grandparents being busy in the holidays so only available to see the grandchildren in term time - if MIL ever stated that then there is no way I would take DS out of school. If she cant fit in time to see him in the 13 weeks that schools are closed then she would need to rethink her priorities and not expect DS's education to suffer.

I dont think a holiday is a given right, its a luxury and not a necessity. There are plenty of ways to spend family time together without taking unauthorised absence or going away.

karise Mon 25-May-09 17:59:48

So you would prefer your child never to see their grandparents would you? Not all relatives will listen to reason you know!
And yes, we do choose holidays very carefully to make sure they are educational- better than DD being bored stiff with 90% of the very easy curriculum at school!
And our council do offer specialist trips with local authority providers that are a week long in termtime- should these be banned too then?

karise Mon 25-May-09 18:02:57

With my calm hat on though, all trips with parents or otherwise do need to be very carefully weighed up with the head. If the head agrees that the trip will benefit your child then what is the harm? This is why discussion in person with the head is so necessary!

Quattrocento Mon 25-May-09 18:21:04

Yes, I'm a bit uncomfortable about this idea of entitlement to a holiday. No-one has an entitlement to a holiday, surely? I don't feel that my DCs are entitled to holidays...

Podrick Mon 25-May-09 18:22:35

I think a maximum of 2 weeks a year within term time is reasonable except where this would interfere with exams and exam preparation.

Holidays can benefit the child and family in many ways and this can impact positively on the child's overall educational experience. I realise this creates more work for teachers butI think it should be accommodated. And up until now, it usually was.

Re: entitlement. You could apply that to anything. No-one has an entitlement to access to a visit to a park, no-one has an entitlement to get any toys at Christmas, no-one has an entitlement to ever see the sea.

But those are life-enriching things that put smiles on a child's face. They make life more FUN, goddammit! We could all go about po-faced and puritanical about these things but life would be very, very boring.

ihatethecold Mon 25-May-09 20:15:36

well im taking mine out for 9 days to go to rome and florence and i really am past caring what anyone thinks, i cant afford it in school holiday time and i want to go when its not too hot or crowded. make of that what you will...shock

slightlycrumpled Mon 25-May-09 20:26:02

I spoke to the HT personally about taking the children out for one week. We had the opportunity for a very cheap holiday (this country)later in the term. I spoke to her as actually DS2 does not have a good attendance record due to a serious operation and very poor health (DS1's is perfect bar one afternoon when he came to see his brother in hospital). I explained about the holiday and she told me to go, poor DS2 has had a tough time recently and that she understood that and the importance of us all spending time together for fun.

I would not take my children out of school to go on holiday. DS1 missed 1 day when he was in year 1 because it was his godmothers wedding (at the other end of the country) that day but other than that they have not been take out of school for anything.

Last year we went abroad over the summer, this year we can not afford to go - so will stay in England rather than take DSs out of school.

They are both at primary school but I stress the importance of going to school and think that it would be double standards to remove them from school as and when I felt like it. How could I enforce attendance and patrol truancy at secondary school if I have taught them that a holiday in the sun is more important than their education?

I think it shows a lack of respect for school to take your children out of school - imagine if your child's class teacher was off for 2 weeks term time because she wanted to take advantage of cheap holidays and they had 10 different supply teachers and then the head is off.... plenty of people would be on here complaining about their schools then.

Quattrocento Mon 25-May-09 20:51:11

Perhaps part of the difference in attitude might also be due to differences in circumstance, so I agree with CHA to that extent.

Reception age children are not going to miss as much as a 9-11 year old or an 11-18 year old. Also it sounds as though some of the schools are variable ("What will they miss ....colouring in and glitter or maybe playing in the sand").

I don't think money has anything to do with it though.

ChasingSquirrels Mon 25-May-09 20:55:47

I would also agree with the ages.
I don't even consider it an issue in foundation and KS1.
I'm not sure about KS2.
Definately not for secondary unless more exceptional circumstances - ie I wouldn't do it for a 1 week holiday for my convience, I may do it for a week tagged onto say the 2 week Easter holidays to have a "holiday of a life time" to a long haul destination.

I know someone who had taken her 13/14yo ds out of school for 6+ months to go on a round the world trip, tbh he probably has got more out of that than school - alhough he will probably be behind in certin aspects of his formal national circirculum education.

Quattrocento Mon 25-May-09 21:00:23

Just asked the DCs (9&11) how they would feel about a holiday in term-time. They were horrified.

See how well I have indoctrinated them

The issue for them was missing so much school. It's not just catching up with the work, there's all the sport etc.

DadAtLarge Mon 25-May-09 21:34:47

"Imo Message: We can't afford to go during holidays so - because we need time together as a family away from everyday stresses - let's do it in term."

Need time together = need to go on holiday? That's where the logic escapes me. One day this week the parent I care for is going to my sister's. Each of my kids has invited a friend. We're doing our annual "video game without video". It involves water pistols and an assault course with clues to be followed. Get the magic flower and you can exchange your water pistol for a cannon. You can also earn coloured water and super powers. The first team to complete the course gets 60 seconds with the (borrowed) jet spray. Soaking a parent gets double points. A bit of a dumb idea but it works and takes up most of the day. I hear there are books with better ideas - must check out sometime.

My argument isn't so much about the breaking of the rules but in what our financially asture forebearers would consider irreponsible spending. If I could only afford a term time holiday I'd consider my financial situation too shaky to go throwing a few hundred pounds on a holiday of any description. And it can hardly be argued that a few hundred pounds on a holiday is affordable but a couple of bus tickets isn't (@ juule).

A holiday may be "enriching" or "needed" but there is an inevitability about the annual holiday that's very British. Millions of people around the world (including in rich countries) manage quite perfectly without one. I just don't see the argument as to why it has to be done even when the money isn't around.

Clary Mon 25-May-09 23:20:43

No curlyhaired assessin, I never said if you can't afford £700 you can't afford a holiday.

It's a big house we take in a seaside town. A smaller house out of town would be a lot cheaper (6 of us go on hol together). A very rapid flick through a website has revealed several cottages sleeping 4 at less than £450 a week top price. Some less than £300.

If you can't afford that and don't have a big car and camping equipment (or someone to borrow it from) then maybe then you can't afford a holiday. I'm not trying to be unsympathetic - we only have one part-time salary here atm, so not rolling in it.

Actually, most people do go on hols in holiday time - that's the reason they cost so much more and still sell out first (doh!)

Karise - if yr DD is bored with 90% of the curriculum, I think there are other issues herethan whether or not to take her out of school hmm And that is hardly the point is it? Surely most DC are *not bored with the easy work at school? Mine certainly aren't!

Clary Mon 25-May-09 23:22:45

quattro it made me laugh (sort of) when a parent I know who took her child out of school for a trip abroad (not sure why it wasn't in hols time) wanted the PTA to reshoot the school calendar because her DD has missed the day we took photos as she was on said hol...

We said no.

Quattrocento Mon 25-May-09 23:36:17

Clary - not seriously?

Another random thought which I'm reluctant to mention but it was alluded to lower down the thread.

I wonder if part of the difference is state vs private? Unauthorised absences simply don't happen at either of the DC's schools (both private), whereas from what has been said on the thread, it sounds quite commonplace in the state sector? Maybe the effect of paying through the nose for something directly affects people's attitudes?

Clary Mon 25-May-09 23:40:04

Yes really.

I felt it adequately made the point that in a week a child will miss all kinds of things at school - not "just" a tranche of their education, as vital at FS2 as at yr6 IMO - but also maybe a visit from a poet, a trip out, a gardening session, a certificate in assembly, choir, recorder club, school fair, yes, school calendar photo...

overthehill Tue 26-May-09 00:12:49

I know some people - including one family of teachers - who do house swaps in the summer, which is surely a cheap way of going to interesting places. Of course, it's not so great for your visitors if you live on a run down estate, and we wouldn't dare as our house is so messyblush. But it does work for lots of families.

juuule Tue 26-May-09 07:50:17

DadatLarge It isn't just a couple of bus tickets,though. It's at least 1 adult and 5 children?
I would rather spend the money of a return fare plus around £200 (cost possibly covered by shopping vouchers?)to take the children away for 4 nights to the seaside rather than the same fare for a day trip and a couple of hours out.

And regarding our 'financially astute forbears' wouldn't they be appalled at people paying 2 to 3 times more than the same holiday in term-time? Isn't that just throwing money away?

But having said that, we haven't haven't had a holiday away from home for years, term-time or otherwise. And yes, we've managed quite well but a break away once in a while would be nice.

Quatro Perhaps the majority of people who can afford to send their children to private schools also have no problem with the cost of holidays.

Clary Regarding the school calendar - some people are unbelievable at times.

If I thought that my child would miss anything by a week away from school then I wouldn't do it.

Podrick Tue 26-May-09 09:01:41

Juule I am not particularly against holidays in term time, but of course your child will miss out by having a week out of school, whatever their age!

juuule Tue 26-May-09 09:05:57

Well yes they would miss out by virtue of the fact that they are not there. Whether they would miss anything that would cause them problems is another matter.

Clary: "but also maybe a visit from a poet, a trip out, a gardening session, a certificate in assembly, choir, recorder club, school fair, yes, school calendar photo... "

DS's school has this sort of activity happening regularly all year round. There is a particularly large number of activities like this happening in Reception, which DS is in. A family's annual holiday does not happen regularly throughout the year. In fact, when we go away for a week in June one of the days he will be off the class is going on a trip to the cinema, something that they've already done already this year. I'm pretty sure that he would rather forgo the cinema trip with school for a week at the seaside with his family.

I think it's pretty clear from this thread that people have their vastly differing opinions on this matter and there's not much swaying of opinion happening either way!

Just out of interest, I wonder if those people who are against term-time hoidays have children who attend (perhaps) over-subscribed, very academic and competitive schools where the focus is on academic achievement? It would just be interesting to discover how our opinions become so entrenched and important to us.

Or maybe it's just something we do because our parents did it with us, or because most other parents in the school do it so we think that's the accepted way?

juuule Tue 26-May-09 10:03:43

DadatLarge Just curious, where do you do your 'video game without a video'? Doesn't it require a lot of space?

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 26-May-09 11:25:39

CHA, I'm against term time holidays and DS is in a state village school so neither private or over subscribed.

I just believe that 13 weeks holiday is enough time to go away if you choose to and that children should be taught to respect school and its rules. Parents teaching them that its ok to skip school to lie on a beach teaches children its ok to truant and it can also impact on their work ethic in future employment.

I also believe that teachers work hard enough without having to do extra work caused by term time holidays and that other children should not have to re-do work or be kept behind whilst "catch up" goes on for those who missed it. Different if off through sickness as its unavoidable.

Perhaps if fines were higher and given for every term time holiday then they would gradually phase out and people would use the 13 weeks holiday that they already get.

MrsGokWan Tue 26-May-09 12:00:03

I opened an ISA and started saving £5 a week, as circumstances have changed and I have got better at budgeting I have gradually increased it and now have £15 a week going into it so that we will be able to afford a holiday. DH is a teacher and I am sure that the parents would be up in arms if he took any time off during term time.

As children we never had a holiday away as my parents just couldn't afford it. Dad worked a full time and 2 part time jobs and Mum worked as a dinner lady so she was home when we were home. We went onthe odd day trip and sometimes spent a week at one of the grand parents. We were the norm among my school as well, people did not expect to go away on holidays. This culture of I need it so I am going to have it and damn the rest really gets on my nerves.

This year we are going to have a week away in at a caravan holiday park with my in-laws, splitting the cost between us.

DadAtLarge Tue 26-May-09 12:28:49

juule, let's just say that any self-respecting detached house would be embarrased by the small size of our garden. The game could also be played in certain public spaces with prior permission.

Some Term-time advocates who argue affordability seem to be saying that because someone's in a position to pay more tax (and contribute more to education funding) it's fair that they should pay more for their holidays.

"Or maybe it's just something we do because our parents did it with us..."

That's true. Also, there was a time when a holiday was a luxury. Over the years it became habit. There's an element of everyone does it so if we don't then it looks like we can't afford to or we're just tight. The holiday has also become a measure of affluence. If you've been every year and don't go this year, your friends are going to suspect a problem. What do you talk about when they are comparing holiday notes? The Holiday has sort of creeped into the nation's budgets and must-do lists like paying council tax and getting the boiler serviced.

But, I appreciate that everyone has their own views so I won't attempt to convince you how liberating it is to not have that holiday habit. ;)

Quattrocento Tue 26-May-09 12:35:20

CHA You are right in that my DCs do attend very competitive and academic schools. It would be literally unthinkable for anyone to take time off in termtime. I can only recall one incident of special permission to have two weeks off for a holiday in term-time when the girls' mother had just died.

Looking at this more broadly though, the type of school my DCs attend is more of a symptom than an underlying cause of the difference of opinion. It would be literally unthinkable for me to take time off in the term-time. So perhaps I've got the type of school that suits me, ultimately, and now the DCs as well.

I absolutely don't accept the argument that money comes into it at all. The evidence from this thread demonstrates that there are parents from all income levels who don't take holidays in termtime. It's an issue of values - which is why I think there is little movement on it in the discussions between posters - and it is not dependent upon money.

juuule Tue 26-May-09 12:59:10

I certainly wouldn't be among the some that that would say it's fair that some people should have to pay more for a holiday than others dependant on their income. Why would anyone think that?

I also don't think that an annual holiday away from home is a necessity. As I've said, we haven't had one for years. So, I don't think we qualify for the "holiday habit"

IotasCat Tue 26-May-09 13:24:20

I don't have an issue with termtime holidays at primary level. In fact we have taken the kids out for additional days round October half term to go to Florida, not because it's cheaper but because it's too hot in the summer.

I wouldn't do it at secondary level though

DadAtLarge, "There's an element of everyone does it so if we don't then it looks like we can't afford to or we're just tight. The holiday has also become a measure of affluence. If you've been every year and don't go this year, your friends are going to suspect a problem."

Do you really think people take holidays to keep up with the Jones's? That's very sad if it's true. If we couldn't afford to go away on a holiday of any kind one year, then I wouldn't feel any shame in saying that to the mums at DS's school (most of whom seem to be much more well off than us).

Saying that, I think it possibly IS a trap that some people could fall into - the whole buying into the idea of a "lifestyle". I can't stand that word - it conjures up images of credit card debt caused by people spending beyond their means to have the latest "must-have" designer handbag or shoes. (can't stand that magazine phrase either - a "must-have" item).

Happy Mum of One: "Perhaps if fines were higher and given for every term time holiday then they would gradually phase out and people would use the 13 weeks holiday that they already get." Maybe, but in that case I could see holidays just not being available - the demand would be too huge. Demand would outstrip supply and wouldn't that then cause prices to soar? Which would then mean that only the very well-off could ever afford a holiday. I wouldn't want a society where that happened.

Plus.......if all families had to take their holidays during school holidays, what would happen to holiday companies the rest of the year - demand would be too LOW for some types of holidays, and that would be another reason that holidays during school holidays would become even more expensive - they would also have to put prices up to recoup losses made on all the unfilled vacancies during term-time.

And what about working parents - I can't imagine many workplaces being able to let all their employees who are parents take the same few weeks off to go on holiday.

MrsGokWan Tue 26-May-09 21:54:42

Maybe what should happen is school holidays should be different for different countes. Some obviously over lapping or the same then there wouldn't be so many wanting to go on holiday at the same time.

lilackaty Tue 26-May-09 22:22:04

I haven't read all the thread (sorry) but as a teacher and single parent, I can't take my children out of school or afford to go away in the holidays.
My school refuses all holiday requests regardless of how good the child's attendance is and my children's school used to allow some but now refuse all so it might be that they are not being mean but simply that they don't allow any.

Quattrocento Tue 26-May-09 22:50:09

CHA, in your vision of what would befall holiday companies if people were to stop taking their children out of school during term-time, you are forgetting that:

(1) This only affects parents of children in the 5-16/18 age-range. The rest of the world CAN and often DO take holidays during term-time.

(2) Ditto workplaces. I work and DH works. We arrange holidays amicably with our colleagues to ensure there is enough cover in school holidays. The summer months do tend to be quieter at work in any event.

I'd be interested to see a poll of parents to understand just how many parents actually do take their children out of school during term-time. It must be a small minority (judging by unauthorised absence figures). Therefore I can't imagine that your apocalyptic scenario could ever happen.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 26-May-09 22:55:52

that would be interesting Quatro.
DS was over 95% last year, when I took him out for 6 days. What is the average?

fluffles Tue 26-May-09 23:07:34

some people here have a very low opinion of what constitutes a 'holiday' most are thinking of two weeks on the costa del anglais with kids clubs and a pool...

i personally WOULD take my kids out of school (if they were old enough) to see the pyramids in egypt or visit africa on safari or india to see the temples or venice before it sinks or the alhambra or any number of other experiences if the local weather required the trip to be out of school holidays... some countries just can't be visited in july and some travel experiences are worth a month of school.

herbietea Tue 26-May-09 23:07:40

Message withdrawn

weiderload Tue 26-May-09 23:17:11

have been lurking on this thread from the start and totally agree with you herbietea.

dancingbear Wed 27-May-09 00:13:55

Agree with fluffles - have taken my kids out for a trip to Australia - two weeks tagged onto Easter holidays - they experiened tropical and cool temperate rainforest, snorkelling in a coral reef, camping in a drought, Zoos, museums, beaches (at the end of a long day), amazing coastlines,seeing lots of wild annimals in their natural habitat, family bonds with thier antipodean cousins - among other things...I wasn't attempting to replicate school education, it was about broadening their outlook, they continued to read at length through the duration of our holiday - about all sorts of subjects.

It was in no way a lie on a beach all day holiday - I'd have been driven insane wink.
Our decision was based on weather, rather than price.

I don't really think a two week holiday during term time, from time to time, in isolation, leads to a bad work ethic...but would be interested in seeing some reseach to back up that claim.

My childhood memories almost entirely consist of holdays away - simple camping holidays - they feel like a very important time now - so I can completely understand why people choose to take their kids out of school for holidays during term time if that's all they can afford.

Litchick Wed 27-May-09 08:10:50

Though, I have never done it, I do see some circumstances where it would be fine.
For example a friend managed to get an eight week sabatical from work. So they topped and tailed the Xmas hols and went travelling. It was a once in a life time opportunity for their famly.
The school agreed and the kids are back and have caught up.

Quattro: grin at my "apocalyptic scenario"!
Obviously it was just my brain meandering through what MIGHT happen.

Regarding your point (2) about your workplaces, you are lucky if your workplace can manage to accommodate leave requests that fit round school holidays. My sister works in a hospital in a department where most of her colleagues have children of school age. She has to book half term holidays off a year in advance. It is not "quiet" in her department at any time of year.

Again, just because it's doable from YOUR point of view, doesn't mean it is for a lot of other people.

Herbietea, I quite agree with you about taking individual cases on its own merit.

And further to the point about different workplaces having different requirements, I would hate to see a situation where organisations were reluctant to employ young women because "they'd probably just go off and have babies and cause all sorts of problems with leave requests during school holidays."

Gorionine Wed 27-May-09 10:10:32

I agee with Herbietea,each case is different and needs to be looked at properly.

Our school policy is thaty you can ask for up to 10 days in each school year (they do not get accepted automatically though) any more than that or if you go without autorisation will be registerd as "unautorised absence" and looked at by the wellfare officers.

We have on one occasion and will again this year ask for a few days off just before the end of the school year. Neither DH nor me have got any family in England and our holidays usually mean a tour of the family (in two different countries on two continents) and involve timing that does not only suit us but them as well. It is very hard to organise and I am very gratefull for the school to give us that opportunity.

Now I have got a friend who makes a point every year to take those 10 days off "because she can" . That I am not sure I do agree with but in a sense she is not doing anything wrong by asking.

Quattrocento Wed 27-May-09 11:49:46

Hang on, have I got this right?

Some head teachers give permission - this counts as authorised absence

Some head teachers do not give permission - this counts as unauthorised absence

Where's the consistency in that?

poopscoop Wed 27-May-09 11:52:24

Yes that is correct quattro. One of my dc heads gives permission (secondary) the other doesn't (primary).

Quattrocento Wed 27-May-09 11:57:58

Why isn't it always unauthorised absence? I don't understand how heads can routinely authorise this. Blimey.

Gorionine Wed 27-May-09 11:59:38

In our school it is the governors as well as the head teacher who accept or refuse a holiday request.

We had a letter from our LEA stating that they have told all the heads in our LEA that the 10 days is purely discretionary and should only be given in exceptional circumstances.
All other request for normal holidays in term time will be declined and marked as unauthorised.

I suspect they might authorise it because too high a percentage of "unauthorised absences" would look bad on the Ofsted report.

slightlycrumpled Wed 27-May-09 15:24:24

We have a letter from our HT notifying us that our holiday would be authorised absence for the days requested.

trickerg Wed 27-May-09 17:08:15

Can you imagine what would happen if schools openly endorsed term time absence?

As holidays are incredibly cheap in term time, everyone who wanted an annual holiday would be swanning off...whenever!

Schools are relying on parents who respect the holiday rules. Imagine the disruption if these rules didn't exist.

critterjitter Wed 27-May-09 17:15:22

This is an interesting thread.

What do people think about some holidays being of more educational (and other) benefit than being at school for the same period of time? (Devil's advocate here). I've seen one post about this already, but would be interested in hearing more views on this.

poopscoop Wed 27-May-09 17:45:59

i am all for a holiday in term time critter.

And they do benefit from being educational too. Even if it is a beach holiday abroad, there is a different language, culture, climate etc. It is all learning, and some of it uyou just cannot experience in the same way as reading about in a book.

How about this for a laugh. My DD went on a school day trip. Permission given and trip paid for. 2 weeks after the trip i received a letter from the school asking about an unexplained absence from school for the same day! WTF hmm

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 17:57:20

first week of the holidays

first week of August

It's perfectly possible to holiday in this country for £300 or less for a week in the school holidays.

I'd love to pay less for my holiday (who wouldn't?) but I refuse to holiday in termtime for all the reasons mentioned above. Tbh, I wish the schools would look at each case on its merits and then, if it was just a case of the parents thumbing their noses at the school and the rest of the parents & children ("look at how cheap it is! Aren't we clever! Listen to our lovely children crowing to all their friends!), I wish the school would take pretty drastic action.

clumsymum Wed 27-May-09 18:20:49

As a general rule, our head will give permission for holidays in term-time, up to 10 days per year.

This is because
a) she recognises that there are all sorts of reasons why the family may not be able to take a holiday in school holiday time, including parent's contractual obligations. She accepts that people can't necessarily afford the hol they want in school holidays, and children spending holiday time with their parents is very valuable.
b) she asks parents to co-operate with school in all sorts of matters (behavioural issues, asking parents to help their children read, asking parents to help with swimming supervision, etc etc), and she is much more likely to get their co-operation if she shows a co-operative attitude to them.

I feel this whole business of "can't take children out during term-time" is draconian, nanny-state tactics.

iwassadtoo Wed 27-May-09 18:31:51

I agree with clumsymum.

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 18:36:19

Fwiw clumsymum, I agree with you to a certain extent. But I'm afraid that I don't agree that 2 weeks in Disneyland is educational or could afford the kind of family togetherness that couldn't be had in England in August.

It seems a little like MPs' expenses - just because it's not wrong doesn't make it right...

juuule Wed 27-May-09 18:38:13

She sounds a very sensible head-teacher Clumsymum.

juuule Wed 27-May-09 18:41:58

While it might not suit your family it's not your call to judge what suits another family, though, Flashharriet.
And it's nothing like the MP's expenses - it's a family deciding what they will spend their own money on.

hellywobs Wed 27-May-09 18:51:10

Can the OP really not take any holiday in any of the 13 weeks' school holiday that state schools get in the year?

School can't do much unless they decide to treat you as a truant and send the EWO around - unlikely I think.

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 18:52:46

I'm interested where those in favour of term-time holidays would draw the line, if anywhere:

is 3 weeks OK? Or 4, 5 or 6?

is it OK for the teacher? Or the TAs?

what about taking every Friday off if nothing much happens on a Friday?

Genuine questions, I really am interested.

juuule Wed 27-May-09 18:59:04

Flashharriet Your holiday recommendations for the 1/8 - Cowes week are £300 per person
The rest of summer is £589 for one and £499 in the other. And I don't think that includes the cost of getting there (incl. ferry)

Having said that, thanks for posting that website link, I'll have a closer look at it.

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 19:11:46

Oh sorry, that's a bit rubbish of the website - I did search on £300 or less per week. Thought it looked nice!

Gorionine Wed 27-May-09 19:19:38

Flashharriet, for some of us who have to travel abroad to see our family, holiday time prices are often not affordable at all. I have not seen my mum for the last 2 years so I feel it is needed for myself and for my DCs to this year take a few days during term time. I have discussed it with the HT and fortunately she does understand the situation and has agreed to it. If she had not it would mean waiting maybe another year to see my family and I do not think I can do that.

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 19:28:18

Gorionine, in your situation I would do the same and I would think that any sensible HT would take the same view. I also think that they would take the same view over those families who couldn't afford to holiday in school holidays at all. Ditto families whose work situations prevent them from taking any of the 13 weeks school holidays off (can't be very many of them but I'm sure they exist).

But for those who just fancy going somewhere better - no, it can't be justified whichever way you skin it, IMO.

juuule Wed 27-May-09 19:29:50

What's wrong with wanting to go somewhere better?

flashharriet Wed 27-May-09 19:31:11

Nothing - but do it in the school holidays!

ChasingSquirrels Wed 27-May-09 19:31:57

I don't try to justify it, or not. I just do it.

Flashharriet, I think I agree with you about just fancying going somewhere better. We have pretty much decided that if we have the same income we have at the moment next year, we will go in school holiday time but have to save a little bit harder and/or go somewhere slightly cheaper. It will also mean we won't be able to go as a large family group any more as the dates won't suit other members of the extended family. However, on the other hand, I would hope that if our income is reduced next year, as is quite likely depending if DH's income drops, I would feel no qualms about going somewhere cheap and cheerful in term-time if it meant we could have a family holiday.

I had a look at your website though, and noticed that it only brought up 3 properties in the whole of England for that price. I know there will have probably been more available and already booked a long time ago, but it goes to show that there would be a large number of people chasing a relatively small number of decent properties if we all had to take our hols the same weeks.

Clary Thu 28-May-09 00:39:24

curlyhair, the thing is, it's up to hol companies what they charge.

If prices are low during term time, well that will encourage those who can go then to go. As quattro says, that's lots of ple, y'know.

Used to be us and we always went either June or Sept tbh. Not just cause it was cheaper.

My point about the stuff you miss at school was just yours I feel - ie there is interesting exciting enriching activity going on all the time and I don't want any of my DC to miss it.

Our school is not that academic btw - middle-class so kids do well but emphasis much more on caring ethos and enjoyment and teamwork.

wrt working parents - we manage to take all our holidays in school hols and I am not aware it's a problem. Mind you it is a big workplace and lots of the staff are young = no children.

What always amazes me with working parents is that they can afford this in holiday terms. We streeeetch our meagre 10 wks (between us) of hols to cover 13 weeks of no school. It doesn't quite fit. To take any of that in school time would be total madness.

critterjitter wrt "educational" holidays, for sure a holiday can teach a child something, tho I would question the educational value of a week by the pool in English-speaking Spain (or for that matter our own fortnight on the beach in Wales - mayeb the kids learn to swim and bodyboard grin).

But more educational than school? when the holiday time is available for this altrenative education? If people really think that, why send the kids to school at all? You don't have to as HE-ers are so fond of reminding us...

juuule Thu 28-May-09 08:18:10

"why send the kids to school at all?"

What a strange thing to say. Does missing up to 10days in term-time invalidate the other 37 weeks in school?

seeker Thu 28-May-09 08:25:17

So what sort of message does that send to your child about the importance of school? Or the authority of the head teacher? "OK, there are rules, but they don't apply to you"

juuule Thu 28-May-09 08:32:17

Isn't that the message that a headteacher would be giving by authorising term-time holidays?

dancingbear Thu 28-May-09 08:34:33

I don't think taking my kids out of school for two weeks during term time sends any strong message to them - my two are 5 years old, maybe they're a bit green around the ears but they don't spend their days attempting to subvert the rules at school.

I really think the attitude you have as a parent towards the school for the other 35 weeks of the school year plays a stronger influence than for 2 weeks.

juuule Thu 28-May-09 08:35:27

"I really think the attitude you have as a parent towards the school for the other 35 weeks of the school year plays a stronger influence than for 2 weeks. "

So do I.

seeker Thu 28-May-09 08:37:29

It's not the taking of holidays in term time that sends a unacceptable message - although it general I think it's a bad idea - it's taking the holiday when permission has been refused.

juuule Thu 28-May-09 08:45:25

It wouldn't be necessary to tell the child that permission had been refused. With other children being absent with permission, then, unless told otherwise, the child wouldn't know that permission had been refused in their case. And if permission is at the whim of the head how can it be trusted in every case anyway?

I would hope that if permission was denied then a discussion could take place about why and an understanding reached by both sides.

poopscoop Thu 28-May-09 08:54:09

Until every state school in the country follows the same guidelines it is all a bunch of arse.

People will continue to take their children out during term time, particularly if joe bloggs down the road at a similar school within the same area is given permission.

But even if they did have a national agreement, I would still take mine out.

lisad123 Thu 28-May-09 09:07:06

well my dd1's school never authortheries any holiday in term time and you have to fill in a request form, then have a meeting with the head, where she tells you how bad a parent you are shock for ruining your childs education. Last year we wanted sometime out as I had spent 3 weeks in hospital very sick, dd1 had to start school and dd2 had come along. I had also been in a wheelchair for 6 month and poor dd1 found it all really hard. We wanted some time together, answer no!
This year macmillian have given us some funds to get away and would not have covered a school holiday, holiday. Request in, reason: DH has cancer and its felt a holiday would be good for all of us, and this is the one time it fits with appointments. Answer NO! Its a real PITA but shes very ahead on her education, isnt doing sats or anything, and we do loads of trips out that cant be learnt in the classroom. So we are going anyway. Oh and Im not allowed AL during school holidays hmm

Sorry very long blush but our school is very nanny state angry

thegirlwiththecurl Thu 28-May-09 09:10:36

ok - I'm going to wade in here. Haven't read the whole thread. I, personally, wouldn't take my children out of school for a holiday. I just think it sends all the wrong messages to them about how we value saving money over education etc. Plenty of children in this world do not have the access we do to education and we should value it.

However...this means that we don't have many holidays. The last one, 18mths ago was paid for by my lovely PIL. None of my children have been on a plane (ds1 now 13) and I would like to take them on a lovely holiday at some point. The fact is, we can't afford it so we don't go. We have lots of family time during the hols and make do. I just believe that we should value the education our children receive and show them that we do that. I also won't get into debt over holidays etc - if we can't afford it, we don't do it. Also, I am strict about them not skivving off pretending they are ill, but how would it look if I took them off for a few days for a holiday?

I realise I am totally in the minority here, but there you go grin

thegirlwiththecurl Thu 28-May-09 09:13:16

would also like to add that I can totally see that there may be circumstances where a holiday during school time is justified - Lisad123 I can totally see why you would be peed of with this an yours is an exceptional case. A blanket rule that has no leeway for extreme situations isnot helpful

poopscoop Thu 28-May-09 09:17:19

Lisa- That is disgraceful attitude of t=your school. I thought that all schools had the exceptional circumstances allowwance.

You should just go, and enjoys yourselves. Hope your DH is feeling better soon.

mommakaz Thu 28-May-09 10:17:42

As a parent who did take their kids out of school to go to a big family event in USA (so exceptional circumstances IMO) and also as a primary school teacher (ex) I can see both sides. I don't think you should take them out just because its cheaper in term time but for exceptional circumstances it is OK. However many teachers have to put up with parents complaing about their kids not knowing how to do certain things which they missed because they were off on holiday. Timetables don't allow for much flexibility these days and if your child misses out on something important, don't blame the teacher.

Quattrocento Thu 28-May-09 13:34:38

The root issue is the difference in approaches of schools (although the entitlement culture - to which TGWTC seems so admirably immune - isn't helping matters).

If all state school heads were reviewed on this properly by Ofsted, and not allowed any discretion so that it all had to be recorded as unauthorised absence, then everyone would be treated equally. Which has to be better, no?

I think it would also be reasonable for parents to repay the taxpayers for services they are "using" in terms of taking places away from other people, but not "consuming" in terms of simply not bothering to participate fully. So more substantial fines for unauthorised absences as well.

Lisad123: see, your school has exactly the type of heartless, bureaucratic attitude that I was talking about further up. I am shock at their response to your request for leave.

Quattro: but how do you then analyse the statistics for "unauthorised absence"? If it's high, do you assume that it's full of truanting kids and therefore a school full of irresponsible parents who can't be arsed getting out of bed to get their child to school? Or do you assume that it's a fair and sensible (in my view!) school who approves reasonble requests for holidays in term-time, but those requests have to officially go down as "unauthorised absence" because of LEA rules?

re: repaying taxpayers for a service you are not "consuming", does that mean that you can claim back council tax from the local council for the week you are away on holiday? Same principle really.

juuule Thu 28-May-09 15:31:30

Could you claim tax back for the weeks you weren't at school 'consuming'?wink
Why would you pay twice?

Sari Thu 28-May-09 16:42:14

I take my children out for 3.5 weeks every year before the Christmas holidays. At our school - London primary - this isn't particularly unusual as most children have family abroad. However, I know the school has to explain each case to the LEA which seems to be cracking down on attendance at the moment.

We have always had the full support of their teachers and the Head. In fact at least two of their teachers have said it is less disruptive for children to miss a chunk of term than days here and there. We have also been asked to move our dates a bit this year so ds1 can have a part in the school play they do in year 5.

We have always considered ourselves really lucky to have a school where this is possible. The benefits of the children being abroad (seeing family, learning another language etc) are to my mind far more important than making Christmas cards, watching videos and the other non-academic activities they seem to do at the end of the Christmas term. Neither ds has ever missed out on learning very much as far as I am aware.

Anyway, my point is that you can't have blanket bans on holiday in term time because for many children this would mean not knowing their relatives or the cultures they are from. As others have said, it's not always about 2 weeks on the beach in Spain.

dancingbear Thu 28-May-09 20:25:55

I realise I may be out of sync with everyone else in this thread but I question the approach to insisting that kids slavishly follow rules...rules are there for a reason - sure but they are just hoops that need to be jumped through at times...and sometimes that's all I can say to my kids, as some of the rules they are excepted to adhere to seem to me to be a load of over-controlling nonsence.

Clary Thu 28-May-09 22:32:54

juule, no, of course I don't mean missing 10 days of school invalidates the other 37 weeks.

Just, be honest about it. You maybe don't think they don't learn anything / miss anything in missing 2 weeks of school. But that's what some people say (and have said on this thread) - in which case, yes, why bother with school at all. If 2 weeks doesn't matter, how can the other weeks? Or is yr child missing two special weeks in which nobody learns anything hmm?

lisa123 I do think that a case like yours is rather different to be honest. Hope you manage to sort something out.

dancingbear Thu 28-May-09 22:58:35

Yeah you're right Clary - once you've missed 2 weeks of schooling there's no point in attending the other 35.

I don't see so much being learnt on the last two weeks of summer term lots of videos being watched at our school - or the Christmas term - going over the nativity again, for the upteenth time - <groan>.

trickerg Thu 28-May-09 23:07:51

Part of my contract, as a teacher, is to teach the children for 37 weeks per year, with no break during these weeks. Surely, another part of that contract is that parents populate the classrooms over that period, and we all take the same holidays? The holidays are plenty long enough - how often are we teachers berated in the press about our long holidays?

If term time holidays became the norm and were authorised by the school, it would make the teachers' jobs very difficult, as they are obliged to help children catch up what they have missed - I've been asked that by an Ofsted inspector.

Clary Thu 28-May-09 23:12:24

well I'm glad you are all so clever you can spot those weeks when nobody learns anything so there's no point going to school.

Have you told all the other parents?


What I am trying to say is that if you value those weeks you miss so little, how can you then place a high value on the other weeks?

It seems to me my DS2 is learning something every day he goes to school. I think school is amazingly important and I don't want him to miss any. At least my attitude is logical.

dancingbear Thu 28-May-09 23:21:42

But school isn't the only place you learn. Education does not only happen in schools - my kids recieved a great educaction while in Australia for 4 weeks - I might not want to give them that experience for 52 weeks a year but I find it completely acceptable for those 2 weeks taken out of term time...being a slave to the system is not always the best approach to your child's education.

Clary Thu 28-May-09 23:30:15

No I know school isn't the only place you learn.

But it's just dishonest sophistry (imo) to give that as the reason for taking them out of it for a holiday when the real reason is that it's cheaper then.

You can have an educational holiday in the holiday time too, y'know. Or just a piffling about on the beach one - which is what I suspect most peopel do, let's face it.

It might not always be "a fortnight in spain" as someone said, but it often is.

beetlemum Thu 28-May-09 23:36:51

I would never take my kids on holiday during school time. Plenty of time for hols in holiday time imo

juuule Fri 29-May-09 07:08:12

A piffling about on the beach type of holiday is good to help people relax. It might not be about academic learning but it can be valuable all the same.
Yes, it can be done in holiday time but not if you can't afford to get away in holiday time. If you can get a better quality of holiday or a different experience for your money why should you have to forgo that? Lots of people work hard all year round and it seems unreasonable not to let them have a choice of how they spend their money, have a family holiday for 2 weeks out of 52. If the best option for their family falls in term-time and it isn't detrimental to their child's long-term education then why deny them that 2 weeks?
And no, there isn't a magic 2 weeks where nothing gets done, but in the overall scheme of things most work is repeated at some point anyway. Of course, the other weeks in school would be valued. As has already been said it's the attitude during the other weeks in school which influence the child about overall attitude to school. If the other weeks are shown as important to the child and the holiday regarded as a special break then there should be no problem in how the weeks in school are valued.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 08:23:19

It's not just the education they miss (agree that 2 weeks can easily be made up) but 2 weeks worth of friendship development/change/group dynamic shifting would be much harder to make up. A lovely holiday could very well be followed by the discovery that your best friend was now somebody else's best friend and didn't want to sit next to you at lunch any more.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 08:30:58

hmmm, not much of a best friend, then. And maybe if that fickle, best friend might just drop new friend to chat about exciting hols old best friend has just been on.
Lots of ifs and maybes but not really great reasons.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 08:53:18

ALL 5 year olds are fickle. And it matters a lot at that age.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 08:56:13

I agree that 5 year olds are fickle I also think that at that age they are a bit unpredictable with their friendships too, even if they see each other every day.

lisad123 Fri 29-May-09 08:57:53

wll we are going anyways, I know my dd1 well enough to know whats good for her. Yes 2 weeks off school, she may miss bits but she is a bright kids and only 6years old, so imo she'll learn loads on our holiday (we have lots of day trips planned)

thegirlwiththecurl Fri 29-May-09 09:03:23

I'm sorry - I am clearly in the minority here, but, seriously, is having a holiday on the beach the only way for some people to relax? I really don't get it. I can totally see why there may be very exceptional cases, such as Lisas case, but other than that, it all seems to be about this consumer i-want-it-and-i-want-it-now attitude. If you can't afford to go away one year in the holidays, save up and go away the next. School is so much more than academic instruction and I guess I just value and respect the fact that my children have such great, positive experiences there PLUS we have good times in the holidays with each at home or around the area (and up until very recently we were in a big city).

seeker Fri 29-May-09 09:05:00

I really wish people would be straight about this. Take holidays in term time if you want to, but don't say it's for educational purposes. It's because it's cheaper. And there will be downsides for the child in terms of friendships and so on, and there will be downsides in terms of the parent's relationship with the school. If those downsides are worth it then go ahead, but don't try to justify it in anything but economic terms!

Unless it's a long haul trip to visit Granny in Australia, in which case I would be amazed if any school refused permission.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 09:12:55

girlwithacurl if you are happy with your choice, then fine. Why get worked up because it isn't the best choice for other families?

Seeker Would it make it okay to you if people said that it was purely an economic decision? It probably is for some people. Why do you need the admission from them? What difference would it make if they admitted it to you. Anyone who wanted a term-time holiday is going to find it difficult to say to the school that it's purely financial as that might mean they wouldn't get permission from some headteachers.

lisad123 Fri 29-May-09 09:50:42

well well done for all those can afford a holiday out of term time, but im sorry not always possible for everyone. The school holidays add £1K to most holidays! shock

mrz Fri 29-May-09 10:30:34

As a teacher I would say if you feel you must take a holiday in term time think very carefully about the timing. Beginnings of years (whatever age your child is ) should be avoided.

I'm not sure 2 weeks can be made up if the school is following the literacy and numeracy framework, seeker, they may totally miss out on an area of study because it moves on so quickly, and won't be taught until it is repeated in the next year group which is always a disadvantage.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 11:27:36

So do a different sort of holiday. We can't afford to go abroad at the moment, so we don't. It isn't an inalienable right to have two weeks in Lanzarote every year, you know! Children pick up their parent's attitudes very early and very easily. If parents don't think that school is a serious and important thing, then why should children?

lisad123 Fri 29-May-09 13:21:20

as children we were taken out of school every year, twice a year. With 4 kids and just dad working there was no way we could go during school holidays. I always took school seriously as did misdee and SGK.

We havent been aboard in years but even uk holidays are 3 times as much in school holidays.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 13:33:50

It's not always a question of a holiday in Lanzarote or at home as has been shown by this thread.
We have not been away at all for a few years. And the last time we went on a foreign holiday was our honeymoon 24years ago. We have never been overseas with our children.
And taking 2 weeks off in term time does not automatically mean that you don't think that school is unimportant. Just that, at times, a break away with your family is more important.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 13:38:33

And thinking about it, if someone has worked all year and prefers a break in Lanzarote during term rather than a campsite in Britain in school holidays for the same cost, why shouldn't they be able to do that?

I agree with Mrz that there are certain times when it would be better/worse to take the 1 or 2 weeks if it's necessary to miss school.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 14:07:53

"And thinking about it, if someone has worked all year and prefers a break in Lanzarote during term rather than a campsite in Britain in school holidays for the same cost, why shouldn't they be able to do that?"

This is getting to be a circular argument. Because their children are at school. Because school is important. Because children need to realize that it's important. Because when you have children you sometimes have to compromise.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 14:16:47

As you say a circular argument.

No idea what the solution is.

trickerg Fri 29-May-09 14:19:22

I agree Seeker. I don't think anyone's going to agree on this one. Looks to me like there are two types of people answering this thread:

People who take rules seriously Vs people who are willing to break rules for their own benefit.


juuule Fri 29-May-09 14:34:51

Well, hopefully the majority of heads are not overly sticklers for the rules and accept there are times when children will benefit from a holiday away with their family. More like Clumsymum's than Lisad123's.
Though why it should be up to the whim of the headteacher to decide what is better for my child(parents not to be trusted?) I'm not sure.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 17:56:26

Thing is, I don't think it's for the children's benefit either - it's for the parents. Nowt wrong with that - parents are important too. But, once again, I think people should be honest about their motives.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 29-May-09 18:02:40

interesting point on rule-keepers v rule-breakers.

As previously stated on this thread I have taken my yr 1 our of school both this academic year and last academic year.

I am not completely sure whether my main motivation is financial (I could afford to do the same holiday in school holiday time, but don't see it as value for money) or that I enjoy the time more off season without the crush of humanity. Dwelling on that thought I think the financial motivation is secondary. But I am lucky in this regard.
I certainly would not argue that it is educational, of course he gets things out of it, but it isn't school - thank god.

Back to the rule point. This is probably the ONLY rule that I break, in everything I do.

I also have no problems with the school staff, and haven't experienced any attitude from them towards me, the holiday is unapproved as that is policy. I just submit the form with the dates, I don't try to justify it - I am taking it anyway and see the form as just notifying them.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 29-May-09 18:04:03

oh yes - parental benefit - ds1 would probably enjoy it more in school holiday time with more similar aged children around rather than pre-schoolers.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 18:11:27

Seeker - so you don't think there is any benefit to children having time away with their parents? Don't you think it benefits the children if their parents benefit from the break, either?

Chasingsquirrels, I think you make some very good points about value for money and avoiding the crowds.

KathyBrown Fri 29-May-09 18:15:31

My attitude is that much as my children are very important as is their education I am allowed a break too and if foregoing the annual glint of sunshine was required to produce 100% attendance then frankly they could shove it up their ofsteads.
With luck my children's headteacher thinks family time is equally important to primary school children and it's a complete non issue to families with regular attendance, if only all heads could apply common sense.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 18:18:44

I'm never sure that children actually enjoy holidays away as much as we think they do. Time with their parents, certainly, days out, trips to the beach - all that sort of thing. But actually going away....a lot of them I am sure would rather stay in their familiar home with their familiar things just with their parents there with them.

Can't prove it, of course - just a theory.

And I'm not a natural rule-keeper actually. I just think that school is a three way relationship, and if I expect my child and the school to keep their sides of the deal, then I should keep my side.

hellywobs Fri 29-May-09 18:20:53

If you can get the time off in the hols, then look for alternatives to the rip-off package holiday. And go for a week instead of two weeks. Or for 10 days. Or have long weekends. You can have quality time away without spending a fortune. And May and October half terms are good times to go away without being as expensive as August.

I am not keen on people taking their kids out of school in term-time for all the reasons others have mentioned although I confess to having done it myself before May half term last year (plan was to fly to Scotland Fri eve, so needed to take son out of school at 1pm, thereby missing 2 hours of school. Then school decided to run school trip so had to miss school trip and take whole day off. Then ds had hospital appointment in morning).

ChasingSquirrels Fri 29-May-09 18:23:14

umm, ds2 (3yo) certainly was like that last week when we were away. He enjoyed what we did, but didn't like being away one bit.
ds1 (6y) on the other hand loved it, but it was the 6th time we have stayed at the same place - so he knows it.

juuule Fri 29-May-09 18:26:35

Well, I can't speak for everyone but our children have loved it when we have gone away and ask when can we go again.

cory Fri 29-May-09 18:27:23

my holidays with my parents are the most exciting thing in my life

there was also the time in secondary school when I got time off to go and spend a few months in an English boarding school- very exciting! (emerged with a little clutch of O-levels, too)

my nephew spent several weeks in Cambridge last year, with a private tutor, and had a brilliant time, learnt loads

they are now at us to do a return date and let dd or ds spend time at his Swedish school

but of course their English schools would never allow that sad

don't know why English schools are more of a 3 way relationship than Swedish ones, but there it is

mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 18:28:01

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juuule Fri 29-May-09 18:30:32

And I do sometimes wonder about the '3-way relationship' as it seems to be biased towards doing what the school wants more often than not. But I suppose that's for a different thread.

seeker Fri 29-May-09 18:31:58

"they are now at us to do a return date and let dd or ds spend time at his Swedish school

but of course their English schools would never allow that"

That's not a holiday - it's an exchange. My ds's school do a lot of them with a school in France, and my dn did a straight swap with a girl in Barcelona when she was in year 5.

We're talking about family holidays, not school trips!

mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 18:34:09

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mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 18:37:14

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cory Fri 29-May-09 18:40:33

Yes, exactly, it has to be an organised school trip. Organised by the school. What I had in mind was an educational trip, but arranged by us, to a linguistic area that is different from the languages taught at dcs' schools.

And our schools do not do language exchanges in Yr 5; the French taught in junior school here is minimal tbh. Dd is in Yr 7, but their only foreign trip will be a day trip to Boulogne at the end of this term: don't suppose she'll get to speak much French walking around with the whole school. They do not organise the kind of exchange trip you mention.

Also, my holidays with my parents were highly educational; I learnt more there than I ever did in history classes and got to practise foreign languages into the bargain.

trickerg Fri 29-May-09 18:42:37

Haha Seeker! Last year, when my son was 16 he dropped the bomb shell that he never enjoyed any of our holidays camping in France and would much rather have stayed at home playing with his mates! The money we could have saved....!!!

cory Fri 29-May-09 18:42:43

Dd's school (best in the area now that the local language college has become an academy sad) only teaches two foreign languages (French and Spanish) and you can't do them both. I'd like her to learn German. So I'll be teaching her myself. But obviously no exchange trips.

KathyBrown Fri 29-May-09 18:50:08

Yes trickerg but were the annual family holidays just for his benefit ? I hope not.

DadAtLarge Fri 29-May-09 19:18:51

"school trips really segragate those whose parents can afford for the kids to go and those who cant, the "cool" kids all go, the "nerdy" ones stay behind (according to the teenage world of both DSD and DSS anyway"

Teenagers sure are getting smarter at emotional blackmail ;)

mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 19:57:37

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mrz Fri 29-May-09 20:34:05

Oddly enough my teenage daughter and her friends say only nerds go on school trips the cool kids would rather stay in school.

Clary Fri 29-May-09 22:11:53

School hols don't add £1k to "most holidays" as lisa claims.

We are going away at a cost of £1300 for a fortnight so that £1k figure seems unlikely.

I guess my thing (apart from agreeing with seeker about the "educational" claim when really it's just about money) is that one of my DC really struggles at school, and I don't want them to miss a single bit of their education.

Mrsjammi if you really think that yr DS "learns a damn sight more when holiday than he does in a week of primary or infant school" then really, why don't you spend the whole time on holiday? Why send him to school at all if he learns more elsewhere??? hmm

mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 23:34:34

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seeker Sat 30-May-09 06:31:19

OK - I accept that there are parents who regard a family holiday as an opportunity for an extended lesson on multi-culturalism combined with total immersion language teaching and an intensive course on Rennaisance Art. I still think that 2 weeks out of the classroom is a bad idea in terms of friendships and group dynamics.

But most holidays aren't like that.(Thank the Lord!) Most holidays are two weeks in a resort somewhere only distinguishable from Margate by the warmth of the sun, the efficiency of the waiters and the cost of the wine.

nooka Sat 30-May-09 07:32:49

We took our children for an extra week out of school when we were doing a recce prior to an international move and the school were OK(ish) with it, although it did hit an assessment period, which if we had known we would not have done (we thought the week before half term would be a quiet one). But that was an exception. I guess for me that's the issue. There are parents who take children away during school time for exceptional reasons on a one time basis, or very rarely, for visiting family overseas or when there has been an illness or for an "once in a life time" experience (parental sabbatical etc). I wouldn't see most schools being too worried about that because it isn't that disruptive to have one or two children away very occasionally. Where it really hits is when lots of parents start taking term time out as a matter of course (sometimes several times every year), and then teachers planning becomes really difficult because curricula are designed to be cumulative. If many children are missing then a lot of catch up and repetition are required (of course lots of repetition is required in any case, as that's how most of us learn). That's usually the point when fierce letters are sent out.

As a working parent I too find it difficult to understand how many families can afford to go away during school time. We certainly found it very difficult (I had to save up over more than one year and dh took unpaid leave). I worked in an environment with lots of parents (how can this be a don't employ women issue - surely it is just as much of an issue for fathers of school age children?).

My children's holidays away from home generally involved them staying with my parents, otherwise prior to our move I think they were out of London for three weeks in the first five years of school. I don't to be honest think that either they or we were deprived by that. But then my parents do live in the country, so visiting them is a nice break.

I do think we take the whole concept of holidays a bit for granted in the UK. When we were in the States the usual leave was two weeks for the whole year! Most people could only go away for more than a weekend very occasionally, whether they have children or not.

mrsjammi Sat 30-May-09 09:34:18

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mrsjammi Sat 30-May-09 09:34:18

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mimsum Sat 30-May-09 10:04:06

dh is taking dd(6) to Australia at Christmas to visit family and friends. Because the air fares go up so ridiculously at Christmas she'll be missing the last two weeks of term.

The head is very sensible and says she'll get much more out of the experience than being at school for two weeks.

We checked with the school that it was OK before we booked the flights and Dd's attendance is almost 100% plus she's flying academically, so I can't see why anyone would have a problem with it???

I'm also taking ds2 and dd to Paris for the weekend at the end of July to visit friends - it'll mean them missing one day of --video-watching-- school at the end of term. Which experience will be more educational - and fun?

mimsum Sat 30-May-09 10:04:51

bah - why does crossing out never work for me?


ChasingSquirrels Sat 30-May-09 11:24:00

lol - you have to do each word individually,
so -- video -- -- watching -- (with no gaps obviously for it to work video watching)

Quattrocento Sun 31-May-09 16:03:11

There's an article on this in the Telegraph, which I could link to but it's not particularly interesting, except it says that around a quarter of parents do this holidaying in term-time thing.

Moominmama1 Tue 09-Jun-09 22:25:28

Im planning on requesting 10days Planned Leave for my Yr3 pupil at the end of the school yr. Its for a trip to celebrate a familiy members special birthday. How do I make going to disney florida sound educational to stand a better chance of the absence being accepted?!

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