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Would you take DC out for a few days at half term for this? Not money saving!

(20 Posts)
TheElementsSong Wed 30-Apr-14 16:45:18

Background: I am of Malaysian Chinese origin, DH is English. We both feel that our DTDs (just turned 5yo) have not really experienced much of my culture although we do try our best with books/food/songs. My parents and other relatives all live in Malaysia - of course, we try to stay in touch by Skype etc as much as possible.

Our last (and to date only) family trip to Malaysia was more than a year ago and we’re starting to think about our next. Initially we thought of going over the Christmas holidays, but have realized that Chinese New Year 2015 falls within the February half term break. I think it’s fair to say that to a Chinese person, the New Year is the most important annual celebration – our DDs have never experienced “proper” New Year festivities with all the extended family, food, atmosphere etc. So, decision (almost) made that we’ll go in February 2015.

The question: It takes a very long time to get from where we live in the UK to my home town in Malaysia – the journey is min 19-24 hours (can be much more depending on connections), and so our week of half term doesn’t actually get us many days there. Not to mention the jet lag and tiredness that everyone will be suffering from! I wanted to ask the wise people of MN whether it would be such a terrible thing if we took DDs out of school even 1-2 days early, which would help immensely with the travel and increase their enjoyment and understanding of this special occasion.

starfishmummy Wed 30-Apr-14 17:33:01

Ot oesnt what we think but what the school thinks....

Trapper Wed 30-Apr-14 17:37:33

I would, and would be willing to pay the fine.

2madboys Wed 30-Apr-14 17:39:52

Definitely! grin

Hellokittycat Wed 30-Apr-14 17:43:50

Yes I would and I never take my kids out of school

MotorLoo Wed 30-Apr-14 17:45:00

I don't understand how the fines can be enforced anyway. Surely you could just say the dc have been ill? A lot of people of mnet disagree with taking children out of school and whilst sometimes I agree with them, in this instance I'd say go ahead and do it! At age 5 it's not like they're going to be unable to catch up on missed work! And it's such a wonderful opportunity for your children. More educational and beneficial that sitting in a classroom. Important for their culture enrichment too.

MotorLoo Wed 30-Apr-14 17:45:50

People on mumsnet not people of mumsnet grin

MotorLoo Wed 30-Apr-14 17:46:39

cultural enrichment. Sorry.

Hulababy Wed 30-Apr-14 17:48:25

Yes, I would consider that a good enough reason to take my child out of school.

No idea if the school would authorise it - my school does authorise some visits like this for our children, but know some schools who wouldn't. And no idea if they would fine - but I would take the risk and be prepared to pay the fine in such a situation.

I work in a school - was a teacher, now a HLTA - and would have no issue with taking my child out for that reason if I was you.

ThisIsLID Wed 30-Apr-14 17:52:30

I have been in a similar position. The school was happy to give us a couple of days more but not more. And I was very careful to explain it wasn't a holiday but a way for the dcs to grow as bi cultural individuals.

I think it IS fine and acceptable, esp as they are so young.

You might end up paying the fee though.

NellieSocks Wed 30-Apr-14 18:27:41

Yes do it! - but i wouldn't apply for the time off, just be "ill".

TheElementsSong Wed 30-Apr-14 19:47:42

Thanks for your comments so far. We were feeling a bit torn because we're aware that it's a great privilege to afford even a week abroad, so it feels a bit nitpicky to complain about the length of the journey or the briefness of the trip. I would be honest with the school and explain where we're going; I don't want the DC to get the idea that they should "skive" off school.

Thank you for the phrase "cultural enrichment" - that's exactly what I was trying to say in all my paragraphs in the OP grin!

TheElementsSong Wed 30-Apr-14 19:49:24

I hope the school don't get the idea that it's an excuse for a beach holiday... my hometown in Malaysia is actually a tropical island!

meditrina Wed 30-Apr-14 19:50:46

Pulling sickies is causing real problems for people who have DC who are genuinely ill. Please don't.

HolidayCriminal Wed 30-Apr-14 19:50:51

I work with a Malaysian person (with a kid in a state school) & I reckon we both would find it insane to travel over there for just 10 days. Well, I assume you're only allowing 1 week in country & a few days of adjusting upon return. If you're going to risk a fine, I would definitely go for longer, not just a few days off school. Odds are the school treats 2 days off the same as 2 weeks off. Good luck whatever you decide.

ThisIsLID Wed 30-Apr-14 21:32:13

Element in my letter to the school I have been very clear about the cultural side of things as well as the linguistic side. I have made it clear it is abut seeing family (eg grand parents that they can't see often is a very good one).
And the fact it is for a very specific festival.

I know that most schools will allow children away for a wedding or for religious reasons. My very strict school did allow us a few days for cultural and linguistic stuff.
So pretty sure it will be accepted.

TheElementsSong Fri 09-May-14 21:19:26

If anybody is still looking at this thread, I'd really appreciate your thoughts on my wording for the absence request form... I've tried to include the helpful ideas from above thanks

"We would like to visit my hometown in Malaysia, for Chinese New Year, which falls on 18th February 2015. In the UK, X and Y have never been able to experience a “proper” Chinese New Year celebration, with all the excitement, atmosphere, decorations, food and prayers. We think it will be a hugely valuable and enriching experience for them, as we are of course a bi-cultural family. Most importantly, we would really love for X and Y to spend this very special occasion with their extended Malaysian family, particularly their grandparents and great-grandmother (who is almost 90).

We are requesting a couple of extra days of absence on either side of the February half term break to enable us to travel to/from Malaysia, and for the girls to really get involved in the preparations for the festival and properly enjoy the celebrations (which go on for several days). We believe that 2015 is the best opportunity for us to make this trip, as the next time that Chinese New Year will fall during a school holiday will be in February 2018."

Indith Fri 09-May-14 21:26:04

I'd do it no problem. Before the rule changes we took an extra few days alongside half term to go to France because the way my (French) family's holidays fell the best time to see them all was the week before half term rather than half term itself. Family is more important than politicians.

TheElementsSong Thu 15-May-14 20:37:38

Just wanted to update that we put in our request and got a response from the HT the same day, absence authorised smile and a comment "Wow! Have a great time!".

Now we can look for flights!

Supermum222 Sun 18-May-14 20:30:18


Just seen this post. So glad the HT authorised the trip. It sounds like you will have a fantastic time!

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