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Best time for term-time holiday to NZ - dd new y7 at secondary

(32 Posts)
SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:04:14

Hi there, I have no experience of secondary school timetable structure so hoping you can advise.
My ILs live in NZ and we need to visit soon due to MIL health problems. We can either go Easter or Xmas to coincide with their school holidays - both holidays for dds secondary are 16 days. We’d like to take a couple of days off each end but not sure which holiday would be best. Are there end of term exams at secondary? Also is Christmas such a big thing? Any advice would be gratefully received

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xyzandabc Sun 02-Jun-19 07:11:31

Each school chooses how to run itself. In yr7 it's up to each individual school. You will have to ask the school concerned what they do at those particular times of year. Though it would be more common to have exams at the end of the summer term in year 7, no one here will be able to tell you for sure.

caranx Sun 02-Jun-19 07:12:04

Weather will be much better at Xmas than Easter. You would need to book ASAP though as flights get expensive at Christmas time.

Ruru8thestars Sun 02-Jun-19 07:13:49

Easter has been and gone. Christmas will be much better weather wise. Find out school name and their website will have term dates. Book quickly though!

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:17:03

Thanks both - we normally go at Easter as it’s cheaper- but I don’t want to upset the school or miss anything important- dd would never forgive me! Will try to find out from current parents when exams are.

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SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:18:22

Easter 2020 RuRu 😁

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CheesecakeAddict Sun 02-Jun-19 07:23:24

Like the pp said, each school has it's own exam timetable, and often each subject.
In one school I worked at, the Christmas exams were used to set students, in another school it was the October exams. In one school I worked at, exams were at the end of every term, at another the end of every half term. You would need to contact the school and find out.
However, in year 7 I can't see them making a fuss about missing assessments unless it's the setting assessment. Any other assessment, worst case scenario, DC will have to complete them after school when they are back.

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:24:05

Flights at Xmas £4806 for three of us - Easter £3233. Easter seems more attractive all of a sudden.

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SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:25:50

Thanks cheesecake

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GreyBasket Sun 02-Jun-19 07:28:06

It's a little bit of a stretch though to say to the school that you have to visit family for health reasons, when it's so far ahead...

I'd factor in fines in case you have to pay.

vivavivaviva Sun 02-Jun-19 07:30:11

There will be a lot more 'fun' stuff in the last few days before Christmas, than there will before Easter. Assessments in schools I have been in would never have been in either the last three days or the first three days. Not a promise that your DD wouldn't be affected though!

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 07:36:01

Mil has a heart condition so is not at deaths door or anything, but will never be able to fly here. We have to go there but just trying to find best time. If we go over our summer hols all of the cousins will be at school. I’ll speak to the people in the office and see what they say. Thanks everyone. Am impressed you’re all up so early!

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MarchingFrogs Sun 02-Jun-19 08:36:15

If we go over our summer hols all of the cousins will be at school.

But your DS won't be and it's his education / his school's rate of unauthorised absence that your DS's school will be interested in. And if you are having to go because of a family member's ill health, it doesn't really matter that your DS will only be able to play with his cousins in the evening?

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 08:45:58

It’s because I care about by DD’S education and the school year structure that I’m asking these questions here in the first instance Marching. at most we will maybe only need a few days at the beginning or end of term and I will consult the school before we decide anything. We have a massive family of young cousins in NZ and dd has no cousins here so it quite a big deal for us. Last time we could afford to go was 5 years ago in their winter and it was pretty miserable to be honest.

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BarbarianMum Sun 02-Jun-19 10:20:52

Were consudering the v same question OP for similar reasons and are leaning towards the week before the Christmas holidays plus the 2 weeks if holiday. At dc's school they have assessments in the first weeks of Jan so need to be back for those. Not much seems to happen in the last week of term before Christmas as its the end of a long term.

Jayblue Sun 02-Jun-19 10:24:29

In many secondary schools, there is a bit of fun stuff and less formal learning before Christmas. At Easter it varies more but more schools will do formal learning right up to the last day.

I would say that in general it's better to miss the last few days of term than the first few. It's rare that a teacher would introduce a new topic just before the holidays, whereas it's common to start something new just after. If you miss the very start of a topic it's harder to know what's going on and catch up (imo).

Closer to the time I'd suggest your child asks the school what she will be missing and makes sure that she catches up.

RedSkyLastNight Sun 02-Jun-19 11:19:16

No fun stuff at DS's school either before Christmas or Easter. At his school it really wouldn't make much difference taking time off around Easter or Christmas. But agree with others that every school will do things differently. I'd ask a parent who has an older child at the school

cantkeepawayforever Sun 02-Jun-19 13:53:49

I would also consider your child's interests.

For example, if they are into music, then going just before Christmas would be a bad plan because it's such a common time for concerts, carol services etc. Does the school have its calendar on the website for you to have a look at events at each time of year (retrospective for this year, but still useful)?

I agree wholeheartedly with others though - take any extra time BEFORE the main holiday not afterwards. Missing 4 days at the end of term is MUCH less likely to cause a major issue than missing the first 2.

The importance of Easter will depend a bit on whether it is an early or late one next year. A late Easter means that children are already being prepared for summer exams from before Easter, but there may be a more relaxed last few days. An early one will mean that lessons will continue at full speed right up to the last day.

However, there are 2 conflicting things to bear in mind:
- Year 7 doesn't teach a lot that is new, so missing Y7 lessons isn't a huge deal BUT
- Secondary schools tend to have a much more even pace of work throughout the year, rather than primary school's termly arc of rapid start, sustained middle section, relaxed last few days.

Comefromaway Sun 02-Jun-19 13:58:18

I’d say Christmas would be better than Easter. Most secondaries tend to have internal exams either after Easter or after May half term.

Comefromaway Sun 02-Jun-19 13:59:54

In both ds’s and dd’s Schools the year 7 exams determined sets for the following year so they were important.

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 14:31:36

Thanks everyone- much appreciated. Xmas is the dearest time to go, and have just realised DD will be 12 and therefore an adult fare!

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cantkeepawayforever Sun 02-Jun-19 15:55:03

The other thing to remember is that this won't be authorised - not because the school doesn't think you should go, but because it doesn't fit the guidelines for authorisation.

Check your county's stance on fines. It may well be that you are OK until 10 sessions have been missed - so 5 days - but it would be as well to factor the cost of fines into your budget if it is one of the counties where they are most draconian.

SarfE4sticated Sun 02-Jun-19 16:41:29

Yes, Cant that has crossed my mind. I'll speak to them and see what they say. I don't want to blot DD's copybook before she's even been there a year.
MIL was meant to be coming here for a visit in September, but has recently had the diagnosis of her heart condition so can't come which means that the onus is on us to go there now.
Thanks everyone for your advice.

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Mustbetimeforachange Sun 02-Jun-19 20:51:04

They defintely won't authorise it, they aren't allowed to.

cantkeepawayforever Sun 02-Jun-19 20:56:19

Exactly - it WILL be unauthorised. You just need to check on your county's policy on fines, try to keep below the threshold if it is, for example, after 10 sessions (5 days), and also find out whether it is per parent, per day (as it mounts up quickly if so)

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