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Term time holidays in year R?

(24 Posts)
drspouse Fri 23-Jan-15 10:35:47

Apologies if this has been done before...
Our DS will start school in September 2016 but has a January birthday so my understanding is his compulsory education start date isn't until April 2017.

Now I would ordinarily be very anti missing school for holidays except maybe a couple of days, it is really against my principles.

However both DS and DD were adopted from the same overseas country and their birth area is not very pleasant to visit in July or August. Long term we are thinking we will take them on return visits during the school Easter holidays and that's also a possibility during his year R but September is a good time to go, I also have family in country and it's a good time to catch them at home and not away themselves.

In either case, is it a big deal/very hard adjusting for a DC who is taken on a term time holiday in year R? Would we be mean parents? Worse in September (adjusting to new school etc) even though DS will have lots of nursery friends? Or worse taking am extra week at Easter as they will actually be covering curriculum?
I'm in two minds about this, it's not just or even mainly the cost - it also has to do with my and DH working patterns etc etc.

AuntieStella Fri 23-Jan-15 10:56:32

I do think September would be a really bad time, as there is so much settling in to do.

Their reaching compulsory school age is a bit if a red herring. Even if you have chosen to enrol them before compulsory age, once enrolled they need to attend. You cannot however be fined until the DC reach the compulsory age.

Cedar03 Fri 23-Jan-15 11:16:50

Although it's done in a very gentle way, they do start covering the curriculum from the start of September. If you went then during Reception they would miss out on all the settling in and getting to know the routines. Have you investigated how they bring children in in R year? Some school don't start all the children at the same time anyway. I have friends who had a two week holiday in September the year their child started school because her class didn't start until the third week of term. Might be worth finding out.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 23-Jan-15 11:17:42

september would be a bad time in many ways, especially in further years up the school because moving up a class, being mixed with different children potentially (lots of schools mix the classes up each year), meeting new teacher, learning new timetable and expectations, new classroom and so on. In R you MIGHT be lucky, some schools don't actually start the R children until a few weeks into term so it is possible that he wouldn't stand out as having not been there if that makes sense but really any time of year is difficult for different reason. I would guess at the last week of the spring term being a better one to miss.

drspouse Fri 23-Jan-15 11:18:36

That's what I thought (about the fine, rather than attendance not being compulsory). I also know they can remove your place for non-attendance, but the most likely school is not over-subscribed (a DC we know is starting this term having been abroad with family last term).

TeenAndTween Fri 23-Jan-15 11:24:52

<Waves at fellow adopter>

You could of course defer his start date until January and then go any time in the autumn term.

Developing sense of background is very important.

But I also wouldn't start in Reception then whisk him out after only 2 or 3 weeks.

So I'd say either don't go until Easter, or just defer start.

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 23-Jan-15 11:57:07


It depends on the children how much they pick up and whether you can help cover the curriculm with them.

This is excalty what I did with reception age child, In fact more one on one time at this age was brilliant for her.

She got to see new culture, have a brilliant holiday, and visit family and .....came back more advanced in writing, reading and Maths.

It was easy to cover at reception age.

I would say go....without a doubt. Go.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 23-Jan-15 12:00:22

I think it is also important that when you do take the holiday you make sure the school are aware of why you are going away, not just to have a week by a pool but because of them learning about their birth country etc.

NormHonal Fri 23-Jan-15 12:08:56

You might want to talk to the schools you're thinking of to find out how they handle the Reception settling-in period, as some start quite late in September and phase the children in, an hour a day, building up to half days and then full days, so I've heard of cases where the children aren't fully in school until almost the end of September.

IIRC, it was around the middle of September before my DC did a full day at school.

In other words, you might be able to sneak in a holiday right at the end of August/start of September and only miss a few hours of schooling.

From memory, at our school they did start on phonics straight away after the children were in, one a day for the first however many days. They were recapped, but I imagine it would have been a big deal to miss a day or more in October. Less-so at the end of the term, in December, once you get into Christmas plays and crafts.

I'd also say the same about before Easter, lots of crafts etc in the last week of term, and less of the academic work.

fairgroundsnack Fri 23-Jan-15 12:14:04

Unless the school has a late start for year R in September, I would take an extra week at Easter rather than time in September. There is a lot of settling in done in that first term and it would be quite disruptive to miss it. By Easter they are all much more settled and I think it would be less of a problem.

whereonthestair Fri 23-Jan-15 12:15:28

We started our ds this September and then took him out for a holiday 2 weeks in, we did it because summer had been very hard with medical appointments meaning we could only get 3-4 days then an appointment ( including Saturday physiotherapy sessions). It was fine, he had done the settling in stuff first, then had the holiday as that was what the school advised. He is quite adaptable and had a couple of friends with him from nursery, but really I wouldn't worry about it unless you do is clingy, finds it difficult to settle, is very young for their year, or similar. Lots of the first half term is part time for many children anyway. We did consult with the school a lot first though.

We are now out again for 3 weeks but this time because we are at great ormond St.

whereonthestair Fri 23-Jan-15 12:16:23

Oh and this is much more disruptive both to learning, but also to friendships and socialising.

drspouse Fri 23-Jan-15 12:35:11

It's likely to be late August/early September rather than two weeks of school and then off again. I will definitely investigate the full time start date, good point.

NormHonal Fri 23-Jan-15 17:55:54

Ok, so that could work! Good luck.

64x32x24 Fri 23-Jan-15 22:36:32

Just as a thought: I have heard it being said that in terms of settling in, it can actually be easier, for some children/in some circumstances, to join a class that has already 'settled' a bit, rather than starting in the beginning together with 29 other 'unsettled' children.
In those first few weeks the teachers have their hands full with a class of children who are all of them learning how school works and how to interact with each other, and therefore have little time for individual children. It's fine, obviously, for your average child - the general settling in activities would be targeted for them. A child who needs some extra help with transitions/settling in, might benefit from joining a bit later; getting individual attention and help to settle in.

In our area some schools prescribe a strict programme of how those first weeks are to go - e.g. 'all children with Feb-August birthdays start on day x, do x days of mornings only, followed by x days of afternoons only, followed by full days' whereas others are very flexible - e.g. they expect all children to start on half days, but you can choose if mornings or afternoons, and you can choose when they are to move to full days - after a week, through to after half term. But don't rely on the schools' EYFS policies - they can be dreadfully out of date.

I suppose for the school, if you miss a few weeks at the start, it would be a 'deferred entry' rather than an (authorised or not) absence, which they might prefer for their statistics' sake.

drspouse Sat 24-Jan-15 06:11:14

He's quite young still and has no real difficulty with transitions but that may be because we try and manage them. But he does (at his current age) get quite easily confused and I can see how some of the mad arrangements would do that! He does like to know what's happening!
You'd hope the school would be sympathetic for this kind of trip (though of course there's no guarantee).

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Sat 24-Jan-15 06:19:34

I teach reception. I would probably say Easter is easier as he'd be fully settled in the school and will be able to slot back into routines rather than having to learn them all from scratch.
Sounds brilliant, go for longer if you can/want. I'd be wary of any school who didn't see that visiting home country/family abroad

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Sat 24-Jan-15 06:25:11

Doh! far more important than 2 weeks in reception.

clam Sat 24-Jan-15 09:32:54

I would say to avoid taking him out in September at all costs. It is absolutely the worst time to be missing, particularly for a child who may have experienced some upheaval in his life already. If it must be done at all (and I agree it's a very good trip to be doing), then do it later in the year. I would think that July/August "not being very pleasant times to visit" is a minor consideration.

And re: the poster who said that their child "came back more advanced in writing, reading and Maths," I'd not pay any attention to that! How on earth was that measured? hmm

egnahc Sat 24-Jan-15 13:50:27

if you take a week after easter it will be unauthorised and you will be fined (if a state school). he will be of statutory school age at the start of the term after the term in which he is 5 (so from the summer term). If you take a week before easter it will be refused by the school but you wont be fined.

School attendance is calculated on children of statutory school age in the autumn and spring terms.

clam Sat 24-Jan-15 14:37:12

And actually, depending on where you live and the whim of the LA/Head Teacher, you may not be fined at all.

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Sat 24-Jan-15 19:34:22

And re: the poster who said that their child "came back more advanced in writing, reading and Maths," I'd not pay any attention to that! How on earth was that measured?

Sorry clam it wasn't statistically measured.

It was done on casual basis in that child couldn't say add 4 + 4 and was able to do so after holiday, was able to read better, write better than when left.

I always found after covering a few bits in the holidays, helped to bring my dd on, but it would wouldn't it?

Frantically busy teacher - busy busy busy, teaching to 30 DC...or one mum, one on one for a few minuets helping child....

Obvious really!

admission Sat 24-Jan-15 21:08:17

There are two concerns here. The first is that if you take child on holiday in term time, then this will be counted as unauthorised absence and therefore you risk a fine for taking the child out of school. So in all subsequent years the reality is that the two weeks of the Easter break are the only times when travel would be realistic. If you ask for an extra week then you will in all probability be refused and if you then go, it will be deemed as unauthorised absence.
As a reception pupil and not having 5th birthday till January, you do not have to start at school till after the Easter break, but coming back from what might be quite an emotional holiday and straight into school might be a big ask of a 5 year old. This year you would not be fined but in subsequent years you will if you go before the end of the spring term. If you take an extra week after the easter break then you will have failed to start school on time and may well find that the school deems you not to have started at school and cancels the place, apart from the possibility of a fine for not being in school. That will also potentially lead to some discussion with social services for non school attendance, which as adopted children is likely to be sooner rather than latter.
You do not say how old DD is but I am assuming younger. Another alternative is to ask the school to defer entry till January. You could then go in September with out any issues this year and if on returning to the UK DS was ready you could ask the school if he could start earlier. That way this year he may miss a few weeks of school but not that much.

drspouse Sun 25-Jan-15 22:17:51

if you take a week after easter it will be unauthorised

Very true - I had just been thinking "around Easter" but hadn't quite clicked that of course his official start date is the first day of term after Easter. But before Easter would work too for a longer trip.

I would think that July/August "not being very pleasant times to visit" is a minor consideration.

If it was just "not very pleasant" perhaps that would be true. If it's the case (as it is) that we'd be unlikely to see any of my family (who all scatter to the winds to avoid the weather, as far as I can tell) and that you can't actually do much, then taking all the home country trips we're ever likely to get (that they remember i.e. not the ones where we met them!) in weather when locals don't do much, but either hunker down at home or disappear for holiday destinations, means that the home country trip(s) won't be representative of what their home country is actually like on a day to day basis, and they won't get to see important people either.

It is rather as if you visited Britain during two weeks of snow, every couple of years, and that's all you ever saw of Britain. Or if you went to India during the monsoon every summer and couldn't ever travel anywhere or go out of the house.

The school Easter holidays will be fine, in future years should we wish to go again (and DD is younger, yes, so we would definitely want to try to take her at a point when she'll remember too). But it would be better to be able to cement things in DS' mind with a slightly longer trip - "things" being what their home country is like in normal circumstances, and meeting members of my family.

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