Gove telling schools to stagger holidays - mismatch with teaching parents

(137 Posts)
zummurzet Tue 01-Apr-14 22:57:56

Had a consultation letter home from my children's primary school (an academy) about suggested changes to their school holiday pattern, now that the government are encouraging this.

Obviously I was aware of the idea, but until now it hadn't occurred to me what a nightmare this could mean for me and my family. The school are suggesting changing the date of the October half term, the February half term, and cutting Easter break to one week, then having a later 2 week Whitsun break once SATS are over, followed by a short second half of the Summer term, mainly concentrating on transition into the next year group.

I can see the sense of this in terms of making learning time more effective (especially getting rid of the short, packed first half of the Summer term) and I can see that for many people the idea is a good one, in terms of being able to book cheaper holidays, out of the traditional high cost periods, so imagine that it'll be popular. But as a full time teacher in a different school in the same LEA, it's suddenly occurred to me that I may well be facing a lot of my holidays not matching with my kids, which is honestly a nightmare scenario, and may well be the nail in the coffin of my teaching career. I love teaching and have never done anything else, but realistically one of major advantages is that I have the holidays off with my children. And I'd have thought that would be the same for the many thousands of teachers who are parents. My situation is complicated by having a DH in a job where he often has to take block leave that matches traditional school holidays, so he won't be able to help with childcare and we'd be looking at the two of us on holiday, but not the kids, then the kids on holiday but not us. Arghh.

Has anyone else faced this situation yet? What are your schools thinking of doing?

No but as a teacher it is a terrible prospect. You would never see your children!!

Verycold Tue 01-Apr-14 23:21:04

I just can't see how it will work, what about children at different schools?

ilovemountains Tue 01-Apr-14 23:24:32

Of course you will still see your children travispickles. They are not suggesting moving all the holidays, about half of them. That still gives more than the average job's worth of holidays which is five weeks a year.

Abbierhodes Tue 01-Apr-14 23:25:10

I haven't had to face this yet, but if it happens I will quit teaching. Having the holidays with my kids is the only thing that makes it worth it at times- financially or emotionally.

annebullin Tue 01-Apr-14 23:30:27

I always enjoyed it when my dc's holidays didn't tally with mine when they were small. It was lovely to actually walk them to school and collect them for once - they loved it. Swings and roundabouts. Most holidays will still tally.

RaRaTheNoisyLion Tue 01-Apr-14 23:34:37

I like the idea. But it MUST come with more flexible working conditions for teachers AND involve scrapping this stupid banning of in-term holidays for everyone else.

Abbierhodes Tue 01-Apr-14 23:37:04

Annebullin, I enjoy the odd occasion I get a day off when my kids are at school, so I see where you are coming from. But if they have time off when I'm at school, there's no one to look after them.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 01-Apr-14 23:38:29

We have this to a certain extent. We live on the border of two county areas. Dh teaches & dd goes to secondary in one area. Ds goes to primary in the other area.

This year they have had different half terms & different easter holidays.

It really cuts into family time.

ruddynorah Tue 01-Apr-14 23:45:13

Isn't it teachers who always screech that they aren't childcare they're teachers? So if your holidays clash you'll do as any other non teachers do...you'll use childcare. You'll have a few weeks holiday with your kids, same as anyone else.

DollyTwat Tue 01-Apr-14 23:45:21

But. But. What about all the teachers saying that school isn't child care? That's what I'm told when I complain about long summer holidays that I have to find childcare for

You'd still get weeks off where I don't and it costs me a fortune in childcare

DollyTwat Tue 01-Apr-14 23:47:15

Ha ha the same thought Ruddy!

noblegiraffe Tue 01-Apr-14 23:49:04

Teachers in Nottingham went on strike over this in 2012 and the decision for different term dates was reversed. That was a city-wide thing though, don't know what would happen if a single school tried it.

Cockadoodledooo Tue 01-Apr-14 23:52:05

Dh and the dc are in different LEAs. So far its been ok, I take leave when Inset days fall on my working days, or swap with friends, which is fine for the odd day but would prove more difficult longer term. If the differences are as much as those suggested in the op then I simply wouldn't get any leave at the same time as dh.

makemineapinot Tue 01-Apr-14 23:54:50

But teachers holidays are reflected in their salary - as a teacher I could not afford to paychildcare for holidays - we are paid for the 39 weeks we work and if worked 48 (like most working parents) our salaries would be much higher. Our salary is spread across 12 months. Plus I do not know a single teacher who doesn't spend a good chunk of all their holidays working! Reports for 30 children are my plans for Easter holidays - much to my own children's disgust - again!!!

noblegiraffe Tue 01-Apr-14 23:55:42

I think if my school term dates were significantly different to my DC I'd have to consider moving their school, me moving school, or quitting teaching.

The holidays as time to spend with my DC are important as I barely see them in term time.

ReallyTired Tue 01-Apr-14 23:55:57

Lots of us have children at two schools. This proposal is a nightmare if your children have different half terms/ easter holidays. I hope that schools in the same LEA have the same holidays.

BitOutOfPractice Tue 01-Apr-14 23:57:45

Erm, you would have to make childcare arrangements for those holidays. Like every other working parent has to for the school holidays.

Nocomet Tue 01-Apr-14 23:58:05

DDs DFs mum teachers in a different county, she has been heard to call our counties different half terms and strange Easter holiday dates some very rude names.

With the best will in the world being with their DCs in the holidays is why a lot of women put up with Gove's shit and Ofsted's garbage.

Fuck about with them and teachers will leave

BackforGood Wed 02-Apr-14 00:11:27

Not just about teachers though, is it - there's a lot of other staff that work in schools to start with - technicians, office staff, cooks, dinner supervisors, cover supervisors, exams offices, etc.,etc.

Then there's all the people who have different children in different schools.

Then there are the families that use the holidays to visit their relations in different parts of the country - once they start mucking about with the holidays, it will become a lot bigger issue than it currently is to try to visit cousins when neither of them are at school. I know there are already some differences, but overall, most authorities have ^most holidays the same.

Nocomet Wed 02-Apr-14 00:19:25

Absolutely, aforementioned stupid not at Easter holiday was a total pita.

All our nearest swimming pools, holiday clubs, activity courses etc are over the boarder. The DDs have friends and do ballet lessons there.

In the end we went to see some HE mates, who weren't tied to LA dates.

Because we have Grammar schools it's totally possible to have a DC at grammar, comp and primary and have three different holidays. Inset days are bad enough.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Wed 02-Apr-14 02:48:44

The suggested change was acknowledged by the OP as better for learning, but not as good for teachers childcare arrangements - so... a few teachers' childcare convenience should trump learning for the UK's children?? hmm

ilovemountains Wed 02-Apr-14 07:15:49

Makemineapinot - teachers earn far more than the average wage, lots of people pay for childcare who earn far less than teachers. How do you think they manage?

zummurzet Wed 02-Apr-14 07:22:31

Off to work in a bit, and sat here thinking about what childcare provision will be available from 7.30 - 6 in for my children's school holidays, when no other schools are on holiday then....

Thank you for the comments so far - there are wider implications than I'd thought of in my initial panicked reaction. And I'm not denying all the children in the UK a more sensible holiday arrangement that benefits their education - if it were ALL children then I wouldn't have the problem in the first place. It's not all children, just the children in my children's school, who will have different holidays to everyone else.

And to the people who say, which I should have predicted, welcome to the real world of working parents, I say, but that wasn't the deal I signed up for, and that's fine, but I'll probably quit teaching. My choice, but one I imagine many experienced teachers who are parents will make as well... I can't do 7 weeks of 60 hours, working evenings and weekends, and being an effectively absent parent, without the carrot of a week off with my children. Or I don't think I can. More thought needed!

zubin Wed 02-Apr-14 07:25:44

As others have said, you would have to do what every other working parent does and arrange childcare - your salary, even at 39 weeks, is higher than a lot of salaries and yet somehow everybody else manages with 5 weeks leave. If it's better for kids learning,as you acknowledge, shouldn't that be more important than inconvenience to teachers?

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