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Term time holiday - teacher opinion

(107 Posts)
gooddayhey Wed 23-May-18 15:08:09

Hi, I was just having a convo with one of my colleagues about how when my kids are old enough I might take them out of school during term time for a holiday. Obviously I have no idea if I ever would, it's a play by ear situ, I'll decide what's best at the time. Anyway, my colleague has very strong opinions about this, arguing that it's disrespectful when many people children do not even get the opportunity to attend school etc. And said I was treating school as a joke, amongst other things. One of the points she made is how disruptive it is for teachers and if she were teacher she would hate it. So I'm just looking for a teacher's opinion on this. I already know arguments for and against term time holidays from a parent point of view are mixed. I'm not strongly for or against either way but lean more towards parents being able to make sure the assessment themselves at the time. But do teachers find it annoying and do they notice children struggling when they come back one to week later for example?

MaisyPops Wed 23-May-18 15:14:28

As a teacher, it depends for me.

A week out at primary or KS3 for a child with good attendance who's achieving wrll on the understanding that they miss what they miss and if they don't catch up it might affect work that term? Personally, I'm not bothered by that.

Any time out at KS4 is silly in my opinion.

If parents take children out for a fortnight at any age and then call up complaining that their child didn't do well on their half termly assessment and they want intervention etc, then I take issue with that.

I also can't stand the 'take them out in the last week because nobody does any work' line too. Most schools I've worked in monitor final week lessons (and rightly so).

gooddayhey Wed 23-May-18 15:20:02

Thanks maisypops. Interesting about that last week thing cos my colleague said that's the only circumstance under which she would allow it. I feel if my kids teacher was pleased with her progress and believed it wouldn't affect her and wouldn't be disruptive the teaching then maybe I would go with her/his blessing. Btw, what age is ks3 and 4? - I'm in Scotland. We do p1-5 starting at age 4/5. And secondary 1-6 starting at around age 12

Wait4nothing Wed 23-May-18 15:22:50

Another primary teacher who thinks a week holiday for a child who is average ability or above and has had decent attendance across the year isn’t too bad. Don’t ask us to supply work (we can’t just give you what we’re doing in class as it needs to be taught first) but if you do want to ask for topics they may miss im happy to share (so maybe time in maths and adventure stories in literacy - then you’d find some things online and read some appropriate books at home or whilst away).
Timing is something to consider though (towards the end of half terms we usually do assessments and it can be difficult to catch chn up with these and in some cases might mean testing when they get back). It helps if we know when they are on holiday (even just a few weeks in advance) as I could adjust (e.g. wouldn’t stick work for upcoming lesson into book/wouldn’t put them in celebration assembly that week)

Wait4nothing Wed 23-May-18 15:25:11

FS - 3-5
KS1 - 5-7
Ks2 - 7-11
Ks3 - 11-14ish
Ks4 - 14ish-16
(Some schools start ks4 - gcse syllabus- early)

MaisyPops Wed 23-May-18 15:25:26

If you do the last week, then do it. Just do it because it's the right call for your children rather than nonsense like 'nobody does anything anyway'.
Ks3 is 11-14
Ks4 is GCSE 14-16

wait has some great advice there.

fuzzyfozzy Wed 23-May-18 15:25:52

I used to be irritated when they'd come back on a thurs/fri. We'd be working towards an outcome all week and there they'd sit with no clue what I was talking about and need a lot of my time.

gooddayhey Wed 23-May-18 15:31:34

Thanks for all your contributions. I really do value teacher options on this subject. And you all make some very interesting points. Mostly I think it's interesting that so far the teachers are okay with the decision - within reason. I agree I may not be inclined to do it in teenage years or during exam time etc.

Babdoc Wed 23-May-18 15:34:47

My kids' primary headmistress always used to laugh and say it would give the other kids a chance to catch up! She gave her blessing to us having a fortnight away in May several years running. My kids both graduated from Russell group uni's with good degrees and are now in well paid graduate jobs. I really don't see the problem with it at primary level, unless the child is struggling to keep up with the class. Secondary is a different matter, especially in exam years.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 23-May-18 15:41:53

I expect you’ll get the answer you want if you focus only on the teaching aspect.

Looking at the whole school view, where persistent absence can be a reason for a school being place in special measures or requires improvement, I would say if you have choice whether to take holidays in term time or not, I would ask you not to.

I’ve seen posters on here saying they don’t care about whole school attendance but I think most people would care if it meant their school was downgraded by Ofsted as a result.

MsGameandWatching Wed 23-May-18 15:51:49

Interesting thread. I've always taken my children out for term time holidays and I know that I have done it at the worst possible times once or twice eg two weeks after the school year started. It was a fantastic opportunity to do something that we really wanted to do that only happened once a year and I felt that taking them out to do it at a younger age was the lesser of two evils; not justifying, just explaining. There's always a lot of claims on here of how damaging it is but as OP said they're mainly from parents. I have sometimes seen teachers say they don't have a problem with it but it's good to see a thread actually asking them. I always said I would not do it once dd went to secondary school though it seems it wouldn't be too bad up until KS4...

gooddayhey Wed 23-May-18 15:52:14

I didn't realise it would be counted as an absence when the teacher has approved it. My parents took my siblings and myself out a good number of years in primary for up to two weeks at a time and we were still granted perfect attendance records. (No idea if that's an age thing, I was in primary in the 90s, or if it's different in Scotland.)

SuburbanRhonda Wed 23-May-18 15:58:06

It is still an absence as the child is not in school. If the head authorises it, you can’t be referred to education welfare (in my LA) for poor attendance.

What education welfare won’t do is ask the teachers what their view is of term time holidays, because their job is to implement what the DfE says about attendance. And the DfE doesn’t have a rule saying you have to be in school unless your teacher says it’s ok not to be.

VoiciLePort Wed 23-May-18 22:35:27

It's not up to the teacher to approve it - it's up to the Head. My take on this (from a school leadership position) is not so much from a teaching POV, but more from a parental attitude POV - it's yet another example of parents basically sticking two fingers up at the school and taking a very entitled attitude - ie, 'these might be the rules, but they don't happen to suit me, so I'll ignore them'. IMO it's a very poor attitude to teach your kids. You get 14 weeks per year of school holidays - why is it so hard to start from the basis that these are the 38 weeks of the year you have to be in school, so you fit your holidays into the other 14? And yes, I know it's more expensive - but that's the way it is - for all of us! If you don't like it, home educate. It particularly pisses me off when parents tell their kids to lie to the school about being ill rather than on holiday. It's incredibly undermining - basically saying to their kids that it's fine to break the rules for personal gain and then lie about it afterwards. And people wonder why schools have problems with behaviour and respect!! Sorry, I'll probably get flamed, but this really really annoys me.

Whitelisbon Wed 23-May-18 22:46:51

I'm in Scotland too op.
In primary our headteacher was happy to authorise holidays for those who had otherwise good attendance and behaviour.
Secondary haven't been so happy about it, I've taken my eldest out every year from 1st to 3rd for a week each year, it's been unauthorised each time but doesn't really matter a huge amount up here - there's no fines or anything like there is in England.

My eldest is in 4th year, and doing exams, so we're not having a family holiday for the next few years, as I feel missing a week could be very detrimental at this stage - she's had a few days off sick this year too.

Before I'm flamed, dh cannot get time off during school holidays, and is not in an occupation where that is accepted as a reason for term time holidays.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 23-May-18 22:51:18

Speak to your head as it's not consistent at all schools in Scotland , my SIL takes her two girls out of school every year for 10 days and is always authorised. I've never taken ds (14) out for a holiday as I don't think it's the right thing to do for him.

When we had our introduction to secondary school the head said in the presentation that work/school life balance was important and they have no problem approving time off for a weeks holiday if your child has good attendance and is performing to their ability.

Loandbeholdagain Wed 23-May-18 22:58:46

Most teachers think the rules are ridiculous. A family holiday (not over important exams) isn’t going to ruin your child’s education. SMT only care because ofsted care. They only care about ofsted because if they do poorly they lose their jobs. It’s all ridiculous.

VoiciLePort Wed 23-May-18 23:28:54

Teachers in my school don't think it's ridiculous. They're actually pretty fed up with being lied to by kids and parents about why they're off school/being asked to work overtime to set 'holiday work' for kids who are taking their third skiing trip of the year (when they don't actually do any of the work anyway)/having to take time out from teaching the class or from their lunch break to help the kids who weren't there last week catch up on what they've missed. And yes, of course you can say that they shouldn't bother - it's the kid's problem if they miss two weeks' worth of fractions or whatever. But guess who gets dragged over the coals when the child doesn't make the expected progress? The teacher. And it's bloody unfair on the other kids in the class to have to miss teaching time while their teacher is spending time explaining the missed work to the child who's just had the unauthorised holiday.

VoiciLePort Wed 23-May-18 23:31:57

And SMT don't just care about Ofsted because of their own jobs. They also care because - whatever parents say about how they don't care about Ofsted, it's all about the school's word of mouth reputation, blah blah blah - some of them will be the first to move their kids when the school gets RI because of poor attendance. And in the current financial climate, a school can sink or swim over a few pupil numbers.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 23-May-18 23:39:02

SMT only care because ofsted care. They only care about ofsted because if they do poorly they lose their jobs.

Bullshit. Working in a school with a poor Ofsted doesn’t prevent teachers from finding another job. But the children may suffer if parents remove their children from the school.

BlessYourCottonSocks Wed 23-May-18 23:39:37

I have absolutely no problem with people taking their children out of school for a holiday. (HoD, History, GCSE/A level).

I don't honestly believe that missing a week of my lessons (3 hours) at GCSE will cost you anything in your results. The school will probably not approve it but today's teens are under enough bloody pressure. Constant obsession with results/grades has got ridiculous - and for many families the cost of holidaying when schools are off means that they cannot afford it at all. Not everyone's life works round school terms. We live in an agricultural area where many people farm. Holidaying in August is not an option.

Take your children away with my blessing. Seriously. Missing 3 or 4 hours of work over a year (which they can probably catch up on) will be VITAL? Nope. It won't.

jeanne16 Thu 24-May-18 06:33:40

OP. You should sit in on my one of my maths lessons (secondary school). There is never a single lesson when the whole class is there. Pupils then come back mid way through a topic and have no clue what is going on. I don’t have time in class to help them catch up without ignoring the rest of the class. I don’t feel that is fair on the others who are always there and nor is it practical without losing control of the rest of the class. Some them expect me to give up my precious lunchtime to help them catch up.

This is the same for any absence btw, holidays or illness. However holidays are avoidable so I generally have no sympathy when that is the reason (and even though the parent will have lied to the school, the rest of the class always tell me ‘oh, so and so is in Florida’, or wherever).

MaisyPops Thu 24-May-18 07:14:26

They're actually pretty fed up with being lied to by kids and parents about why they're off school/being asked to work overtime to set 'holiday work' for kids who are taking their third skiing trip of the year (when they don't actually do any of the work anyway)/having to take time out from teaching the class or from their lunch break to help the kids who weren't there last week catch up on what they've missed
That's my issue too.
Ideally don't take holidays in school time. If needs must one year then fine. It's unlikely to have a massive impact on your child for a week.
(But factor in the impact on classes if a teacher never has a full class. It does jave teaching implications if attendance is poor).

There should be no expectation of providing holiday work. I had a parent take their child on holiday for 4 weeks in a 6 week half term. Home started going down the denanding/fuming route abouy how you have a legal duty to educate so should be providing work before & catch up after when I told them I wouldn't be preparing almost half a term's worth of work for them. Thankfully my senior leaders were of the view 'We are providing an education. You are opting not to attend. The legal responsibility to educate is yours Mr Blogs'.

ScrubTheDecks Thu 24-May-18 07:27:40

“I’ve seen posters on here saying they don’t care about whole school attendance but I think most people would care if it meant their school was downgraded by Ofsted as a result.”

LOL: yes, bust a gut to get an ‘Outstanding’ school, rent nearby, use relatives address, Appeal, rail against ‘how unfair the system is’ and then once in, do what suits you even if it means tne school’s Outstanding status is threatened.

VoiciLePort Thu 24-May-18 07:27:59

And all this 'having' to take holiday in term time. With a tiny number of exceptions, nobody 'has' to. Yes, you might have to reduce the number of holidays in a year; save up and go every other year; drop a hotel star or two; go out of season; go for one week not two; go to Devon rather than Dubhai; or just prioritise your spending (maybe replace the Range Rover next year). Guess what? Teachers with families manage to do this. Yes, I do live in a very affluent area, but our parents need to realise that it is possible to #makebloodymemories in a three star. And before I get flamed, we do have poor families as well. They are very rarely the ones who take term time holiday.

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