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Screwed by LA or screwed by the holiday companies

(29 Posts)
Bluemary3000 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:43:12

I've just received a letter from DDs school and no holiday time will be given as an authorised absence during term time now. If we want to take it then we will get fined (if paid early) £60 per child per parent. So potentially £240 for us.
Who the hell decided that this was a good idea to introduce this. Working parents are stressed enough as it is without this being added to them.
I'm responsible and only take the kids out for 5 days per term, their sickness levels are very low and they are doing well at school for their age. So why is it that the teachers that know my children cannot say whether they can take time off. Why is it some random no one knows, who may not even have kids or be that well off that holiday prices don't matter to them, get to make a decision like this.
I'm not normally riled by legislation, but this has really wound me up! I work hard all year round and feel that I should be able to take a holiday at what ever time of year I like without being fined!
Having had a quick look at holiday already pre booked (booked on the basis of our local schools policy, which of course now no longer exists). I have looked to move it to the following half term week and it will go from £450 to £1250.
Will the government be saying something to the holiday companies about prices or will they let parents go mad due to lack of financing and no down time due to overpriced holidays.
Thanks I feel a bit better now.

scaevola Fri 28-Jun-13 13:27:41

Thhe fines for unauthorised absence were introduced by the last Governement in 2003.

EleanorHandbasket Fri 28-Jun-13 13:31:09

Holidays aren't compulsory.

School is.

If you want a cheap holiday, buy a tent.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 28-Jun-13 13:31:35

It's a market economy. Supply and demand.

No ones out to get you, or doing this deliberately hmm

And no, in general, you shouldn't be taking kids out of education when they get enough holiday time. Fine if its a once in a lifetime experience like you're getting married or walking the Great Wall but no, education is quite important.

Go on a bucket and spade camping holiday in school holidays like the rest of us grin

Marlinspike Fri 28-Jun-13 13:32:23

5 days per term. 15 days per year. That's nearly 8% of teaching time. What if everyone took your approach - the classes would be half full, and the teacher would have to spend a considerable amount of time recapping for pupils who were absent. OP, YABU (even if you're not on that topic!)

Mrsrobertduvall Fri 28-Jun-13 13:33:06

You take them out for a week every term?

jennycoast Fri 28-Jun-13 13:33:13

5 days per term is a lot.

lougle Fri 28-Jun-13 13:34:59

Did you mean per term???

scaevola Fri 28-Jun-13 13:35:32

Authorising absences remain totally at the discretion of the head. So it will continue to be someone who knows your circumstances and whether the absence is indeed exceptional.

If OU have been taking them out for 15 days per year, thank your lucky stars they've not been on to you sooner. The maximum that can be authorised is 10 days (and that's been in force since 1996).

flowery Fri 28-Jun-13 13:37:20

Holidays are like anything else - the people selling them charge as much as they will sell at to maximise their profits. They're not "screwing" you, they are operating as a normal commercial organisation, there to make money rather than make life easy for people.

Wanting to save money isn't a good enough reason to take children out of school imo anyway. Major family events or something, that's different, but normal holiday, no.

I'm confused though. The holiday you've booked will cost £800 more if you move it, but if you keep it where it is, it will only cost you £240 more because of the fines. So you're still saving £560 by taking your children out.

flowery Fri 28-Jun-13 13:38:30

Whoa, 5 days per term?! Surely you mean year, don't you?

Yonihadtoask Fri 28-Jun-13 13:40:41

Of course holiday companies will charge more in the school holidays.

Because they CAN.

It sucks - and I am just pleased that as my DS is now 15 I don't have to stick to the term time holidays for that much longer.

Ultimately school is an essential. Holidays are a luxury.

lborolass Fri 28-Jun-13 13:44:46

5 days per term is absolutely ridiculous, you have no sympathy from me and it seems posters above and neither do you deserve any.

Do your children a favour and let them have a full educuation

AnythingNotEverything Fri 28-Jun-13 13:51:01

School is not optional.

And I really hope you didn't mean 5 days per term.

tungthai Fri 28-Jun-13 14:16:23

Since my eldest started school we have cut back on holidays. It is possible to find good value holidays but you have to shop around.

We tend to book caravans or cabins in farmers fields. Our best find was a caravan at a site for fisherman near Southwold 2 weeks @ under £300. We have also had a week in a caravan in someone's garden near cheddar gorge for a couple of hundred pounds and cheap weeks in the Isle of Wight and Devon.

We will buying a tent next year so we can explore Europe now we are past the baby/toddler stage.

I don't agree with having holidays in term time. I never quite got my head around certain areas of maths because they were covered when we were on holiday. You never know how much time off your child will have with sickness, this year ds hasn't had a single day off but in year 1 he was really unlucky and had 3 weeks off I wouldn't want to add to his absence record by taking time off when it isn't necessary.

thestringcheesemassacre Fri 28-Jun-13 14:23:35

Is this for real?
5 days a term??

Cheddars Fri 28-Jun-13 14:31:41

Assuming op does mean 5 days per year then she is not being unreasonable.

Bluemary3000 Fri 28-Jun-13 17:34:48

It was meant to say 5 days per term which under the old guidelines was allowed and schools had the chance to allow or dis allow holiday. New legislation has been set as of sept 2013 that every school must adhere to. The normal ie funerals, appointments etc are allowed. Now any holiday taken during school time even for 1 day must be reported to the local authority, so that they can send out a fine. It doesn't matter if its the holiday of a lifetime or your yearly family holiday.
And no, I don't think there is anything wrong with taking my children out of school for 5 days per year. My children are doing well, the teachers are happy, I make sure I see the school before and after the holiday to make up for anything that they have missed.
Just because someone decides what's best for my child (of which i don't agree), doesnt mean its best for my family. I'm responsible enough and so are the school they attend for us to make our own decision. It may not be that anyone is out to get me, but quite frankly I get peeved when the government stick their noses in people's lives like this. The economy is awful, people are struggling and yet its made harder for us and the luxurys that we work hard for a now being made even harder to reach.
I also don't want to buy a tent and go camping, why should I, I've never had to before and don't want to start now. As bad that sounds, it's my choice and yet someone now wants me to pay through the nose for it.
If you haven't had your letter from your local school yet and you we re planning a day or two off that you may or may not feel will affect the rest of you child's education, be prepared after sept to be fined!

Bluemary3000 Fri 28-Jun-13 17:36:41

Per year, def per year! Not per term that would be daft. To clarify 5 days for the whole school year!!!

Wallison Fri 28-Jun-13 17:45:56

OP, I sympathise with you, very much so. Holidays might be a luxury but they are absolutely valuable to family life - you interact with each other differently on holidays, you explore new places together and have experiences that you just don't get during the day to day drudge. Taking kids out for five days a year, as long as they are not in exam years, is I think eminently reasonable. The big problem, from talking to teacher friends, are those with sporadic absences throughout the year, when their parents are too hungover/can't be arsed to take them to school/need them to look after younger siblings etc. None of which is addressed by this recent move. It just penalises people who can't afford to pay inflated prices for something that is, yes, a luxury but is also life-enhancing and the times that family memories are made of.

EleanorHandbasket Fri 28-Jun-13 17:48:04

In seven years of school I've only taken my DC out for one day (barring illness), and that was because we won tickets to a theme park.

No one I know takes their DC out of school.

My DC have never been abroad, well once when they were babies, but we holiday in the UK in school holidays as our budget allows. They haven't suffered for it.

If it's abut YOU having a break, why don't you go away with some friends while DH has the week off with the children? DH and I do this at least once a year each and it's a fab way of cheaply recharging the old batteries. A few years ago I went to Paris for the week, DH is off to Scotaland to see friends, we were lucky enough to both go to Dublin a while ago while my Mum had the DC to stay.

My DC go away with Scouts twice a year (in holidays, and costs are minimal), and we do lots and lots of day trips at the weekends.

We are off to Center Parcs in a few weeks, sharing a cabin with my parents, it cost £700. Last year we went to Cornwall en masse, in a beautiful farmhouse: £900. The year before last we rented a lovely house on the IoW for £900 for the week.

Next year we're going to Disneyland Paris in August which at £2k is twice our usual budget but will be wonderful.

It's not insurmountable to take your DC away in the holidays but you do have to be creative, and perhaps not have a holiday every year.

You've been in for a bit of a pasting here, but really it's because we're all in the same boat and holidays are not an essential. But I do understand your frustration, although while I think it's disgusting that they hike the prices the way they do you have to see that it's the way capitalism works and is unlikely to change.

lougle Fri 28-Jun-13 18:05:07

"The economy is awful, people are struggling and yet its made harder for us and the luxurys that we work hard for a now being made even harder to reach."

Part of the budget is the education provided free at source (I acknowledge that we pay taxes and therefore it isn't 'free'). It's a waste of Government funds if they are providing an education you choose not to take up for 5 days per year.

Take the example of a small infant school - 160 pupils. Each pupil takes 5 days per year. That's 800 pupil days per year.

What would you say if the school suddenly decided they'd tack an extra week's holiday on to the calendar?

Wallison Fri 28-Jun-13 18:06:36

But even in the UK, holidays are more expensive in the summer - £900 is loads of money! I bet that same cottage would be half as much in the first week of July or so - that's what I've always found when booking places in this country. Also, it's more difficult to get cheap train tickets in the UK in August (and booking in advance doesn't always guarantee cheapness).

Bluemary3000 Fri 28-Jun-13 18:09:02

They add 5 extra days on every year. They call them inset days plus polling days!

lougle Fri 28-Jun-13 18:13:03

No, they don't add an extra 5 days on every year. They added on 5 extra days to the teachers' working year, taken from the school holidays. Those 5 days are 'mobile' within the calendar from year to year to allow efficient training of staff.

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