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School exchange trip going out during school holiday time

(20 Posts)
LizzyLew Wed 05-Oct-11 21:40:58

My daughter was really excited about going on the German Exchange with her school, until, very late in the day, the official letter came home with the start date being the last Sunday of October half term. We are retuning very late that day, after spending a considerable amount of money to return in time for the first day of term; the result is that my daughter cannot go on the trip because we have gone on holiday during the official half term.
I have asked for the trip to commence on the monday morning rather than Sunday, to which the school have refused.
I cannot believe that they can legally commence an educational trip on a designated, pre arranged LEA holiday day.
This is made all the more ironic for us, as last term my husband and i were fined by the school for taking our daughter on holiday during term time!
I feel like i am in a no win situation, i have complained to the Head and am in the process of escalating the complaint to the chair of Governors - where do we go from here? Any advice would be much appreciated.

LemonMousse Wed 05-Oct-11 22:23:50

So did they change the date from when you agreed to your DD going?

As far as the 'legalities' of trips in school holidays go - my DD's school always does trips within the holidays as the Head doesn't like students being away during term time.

No advice - sorry, but I don't think they will change for one pupil. Very upsetting for your poor DD though.

LizzyLew Wed 05-Oct-11 23:05:44

I was never given the dates, it was just talked about in general terms.
Yes, my daughter is really upset, and of course that is the worst part. Thank you for your message though.

noblegiraffe Wed 05-Oct-11 23:57:24

It's not a compulsory educational trip. There are probably many factors which led to the decision to leave on the Sunday including arrangements in a foreign country, which won't be outweighed by your daughter's desire to go.

Can you come back from your holiday early? Your travel plans are probably more easily rearranged than the school's tbh.

How old is she? Could she catch up with the group if you put her on a plane this end on the Monday? I flew back from an exchange once to be able to go on a family holiday as well, I was 16.

Northernlurker Thu 06-Oct-11 00:07:07

How come they've arranged a trip and are only telling you three weeks before exactly when they are going? hmm I would be livid about that!

DownbytheRiverside Thu 06-Oct-11 06:26:25

I'm amazed that you weren't given the dates months ago, and if that is the case, I'd be furious. Are you absolutely sure that you didn't miss a letter or email?
It's probably too late to change it now, but not to complain, and you may well not be the only ones in your situation.

LizzyLew Thu 06-Oct-11 08:38:53

Thank you everyone,
The letter came out in the last two weeks of the summer term, the trip leaves on the 30th October (Sunday) morning from Stanstead. We are on a group holiday cruise that departs from Italy and we fly back into Heathrow Sunday night. I cannot change flights and get home any earlier as the ship only gets into port on the Sunday morning.
All possibilities are being discussed, as my daughter is 13 she would have to be escorted on a flight, the earliest we could manage is a Monday morning.
I am not against having to be flexible, but i am annoyed that a school trip is leaving on the last day of a half term holiday, surely, as more schools are fining parents for taking their children on holiday during term time, the school has a moral, if not legal obligation, to ensures that its trips are in term time.

Of course, as far as my daughter is concerned, it is all my fault for taking her on holiday! :-(

HSMM Thu 06-Oct-11 08:39:10

Our school gives us dates about a year in advance. DD 's school trip is during half term, so they don't miss any lessons. Either don't go, or see if she can catch them up.

HSMM Thu 06-Oct-11 08:43:48

Cross posted

Bramshott Thu 06-Oct-11 09:35:00

I think these trips tend to be in holiday times TBH - much easier that way as they won't effect a whole year group.

BUT, you should have had more notice - by July a lot of people will have made plans for the Oct half term if they are planning to go away then.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Oct-11 09:42:05

A teacher is giving up a day's holiday to take the kids on this trip. Perhaps the flights on the Monday were not available or affordable for the location. It isn't all about you. If she can't go then she can't go, that's unlucky but there will be other trips next year. I can understand your annoyance though given that school are being so strict about you not taking holidays in term time, but it may be the only way that they can organise this trip.
I agree that you should have had much more notice. Not least because these trips are not cheap and parents need more time to pay for them.

Needmoresleep Thu 06-Oct-11 09:49:49

She should be able to fly Lufthansa and possibly British Airways from the age of 12. My son did similar aged 13, and though nervous, had no problems. However he was reasonably used to taking trains etc on his own.

Budget airlines are far less accommodating.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Oct-11 10:42:49

It's not just getting the plane though is it? She would have to be met by school staff at the other end but the school staff are on a trip with perhaps 30 other children. if they are out on an excursion nowhere near the airport that day it is more of a problem. It's a logistical nightmare, what if the plane is delayed? If she is staying with a host family and they can pick her up and a teacher does not need to be there it could be done more easily though. I doubt the school would be very happy to have a 13 year old travelling unaccompanied but perhaps they can work something out.

Blu Thu 06-Oct-11 10:50:50

I'm not quite sure how the start of the German Exchange has any relation to the school asking you not to take hols in term time, tbh. Of course you needed to be back from the cruise in order to start school on Monday, and had you come back from the cruise on the Monday she still wouldn't have been able to go on the Exchange if it left on Monday confused

they should have told you the Exchange dates in good time - but really, if they told you at the end of last term, and you had already booked a holiday that overlapped, it's just bad luck, really.

I don't see why the school should restrict OPTIONAL trips to term time only.

LizzyLew Thu 06-Oct-11 11:32:45

But surely if the LEA has the right to insist that family holidays do not occur in term time, i have the same right to expect school trips not to be in holiday time, for exactly the reason i am experiencing.

You are quite right, i see a member of school meeting my daughter at a german airport (2hrs from the exchange school) to be a logistical nightmare.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Oct-11 11:37:34

An exchange trip is an optional extra really, it isn't a vital educational visit that your daughter has been prevented from taking part in. It's a nice extra with some educational benefits. So you don't really have any "rights" in this case unfortunately. I still understand your frustration with the apparent double standard though.
I think for future benefit, you should raise this point with the governing body/head of the school and say that you feel that this is unfair, given their crackdown on missing term time days. I think it is too late for this trip though, given that the arrangements have already been made.

Bramshott Thu 06-Oct-11 11:57:46

If the trip were compulsory then absolutely (although I'm not entirely convinced the two things are related - but compulsory school events should not happen in school holiday time - or after school really), but surely this trip is just something that's being offered rather than insisted on?

I think TBH you are on a hiding to nothing pursuing this. You need to (a) register your displeasure with the school over the lack of notice and ask for more notice in future; (b) decide if there's any way your DD can participate; (c) if you think she can, work out how best to achieve that - whether by changing your holiday plans or by making arrangements for her to travel out to Germany separately.

Surely at this notice you will have already had to pay a deposit if she is going?

nonicknamemum Sat 08-Oct-11 17:13:33

I'm a bit baffled by your post OP. What exactly were you told about when the exchange would leave? If you were told that it would be after October half-term or "in November" then I can understand you being aggrieved, but if you knew that the exchange would be leaving around the end of October, surely it was your responsibility to make sure you didn't have a clash of dates. My understanding is that it is very common for optional school trips to run during holidays; and an exchange must surely be an optional trip as it will depend on families being willing to take a child into their home.

MOSagain Sat 08-Oct-11 17:45:34

Agree with other poster about your daughter being able to fly on her own at age 13. My eldest have flown long haul numerous times on their own from age 12. Maybe it is worth looking into that?

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