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Do you take reception/primary kids skiing in term time?

(31 Posts)
mimolette Sat 24-Jan-15 10:04:41

Just wondering what others do. DD will start school in September and I am torn what to do about skiing next year. The holiday prices are so high and we normally go with some child free friends who I expect would balk at the difference. Equally I can hardly claim to the school that it will be a one off life changing trip! What do other people do? There seemed to be a lot of school age kids in our hotel a couple of weeks ago....

clam Sat 24-Jan-15 10:20:20

Well, at least you posted in the Skiing department, not AIBU!! grin People here are at least "ski-minded" and understand the attraction.

Not sure I can answer your question, however, as dh and I both work in education and have always had to just suck up the Feb half term prices. Easter is slightly cheaper, but you'd need to go high to ensure decent snow cover. Also, we've never been able to do the more luxurious 'catered chalet' routine. We book our own Easyjet flights and transfers to more off-the beaten-track airports, and do self-catering apartments. This makes a great saving, usually. But I appreciate it's not everyone's cup of tea. (nor mine, if I'm honest, but it's been that or no skiing for us.)

What you do about the other people who don't have school-aged children, I don't know. We go with other teachers/parents, so we're all in the same boat.

Trickydecision Sat 24-Jan-15 13:11:41

We took the DGCs out of school last year and the year before, but because of imminent SATs not this time. We wrote to the school to explain that it could go down in the stats as 'education off site' particularly as our group included a serving head (different county and half term dates) a retired head, and serving Ofsted inspector and the kids would be in full time ski school. It still went down as unauthorised the first time but strangely not the second, but no repercussions anyway. I doubt if we would have got away with it this time though as the rules have been tightened up.

What I find annoying is that the school is running an official trip at the end of term partly in school time. OK for the school but not for us.

A week missed out of your DD's second term will be neither here nor there educationally. Check your local fines policy and if it makes sense, go for it.

AuntieStella Sat 24-Jan-15 13:29:39

It'll go down as an unauthorised absence, so check what measures your school/LEA has for attendance management.

The code for 'education off site' should only be used when the school has satisfied itself that the DC are taking part in an organised activity that the school agrees is education, that a register is taken and any pupil absences are notified to the school, and that the school is happy with the safeguarding policies of the provider.

It really doesn't stretch to going on a holiday when a teacher is part of the group. It does cover things like masterclasses from recognised providers.

PiratePanda Sat 24-Jan-15 13:37:21

You'll find that the kids you saw on your last term-time skiing holiday are privately educated. Do that.

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Sat 24-Jan-15 13:40:18

We are taking DS1 out this year, he's in Y2. It is costing us £2k less than if we went the following week in half term.

IMHO, while they are little there is nothing they miss that is more important than learning to ski and spending a week in the mountains.

peppapigonaloop Sat 24-Jan-15 13:42:16

I plan to take mine out next year (year 1) and pay the fine. I think that is not the popular opinion here on mn but the half term prices are so high it will still be cheaper and the slopes in Europe so packed in half term it's no fun.

Stillwishihadabs Sat 24-Jan-15 13:55:08

We have done this every year for the last 5 years, we haven't had a fine. We have decided not to this year as ds is year 6 and we may need the head to help us appeal. My pearls of advice are:

1) Go for the first week in January,it is dirt cheap, quite snow.sure and less disruptive than going in mid Jan or early Feb. Also we were fortunate that the school have an inset on the Monday so only 4 days absence.

2)Try to get as close to 100% attendance as you can for the first.term. Obviously don't send them in if really ill, but stuff like no late marks,dentist appointments after school do help with this figure.

3)Don't pretend they are sick ,just tell the school it is the only time you can go because of xxx (helps if one of you is in the emergency services)

4)Offer to do school work out there so they don't fall behind.

Trickydecision Sat 24-Jan-15 14:00:44

The code for 'education off site' should only be used when the school has satisfied itself that the DC are taking part in an organised activity that the school agrees is education, that a register is taken and any pupil absences are notified to the school, and that the school is happy with the safeguarding policies of the provider.

The school seems to think that enrolment at ski school fulfills this adequately if it is they who are doing the arranging.

SoonToBeSix Sat 24-Jan-15 14:05:20

If your dd will still be aged four when you go it can't be classed as unauthorised as she will be below compulsory school age.
Try to go the end if September missing her first or second week if school would be very unsettling.

SoonToBeSix Sat 24-Jan-15 14:05:32

Of not if!

Stillwishihadabs Sat 24-Jan-15 14:06:33

Skiing in September ??

SoonToBeSix Sat 24-Jan-15 14:07:20

Sorry obviously February have baby brain!

tumbletumble Sat 24-Jan-15 14:10:47

We used to take ours out of school. But now they've tightened up on term time holidays and the DC are a bit older (oldest is 9), so we have to suck it up. We're going at Easter this year and hoping there is still snow. Went in half term last year - it wasn't as bad as we were expecting in terms of lift queues etc. Obviously it's more expensive though.

AuntieStella Sat 24-Jan-15 14:16:43

"The school seems to think that enrolment at ski school fulfills this adequately if it is they who are doing the arranging "


But I doubt you'll persuade them to put the same level of checking into every ski school that every parent wishes to use during termtime.

Trickydecision Sat 24-Jan-15 14:43:14

An interesting point, AuntieStella. The rule is that in England there is no unsupervised access to children by anyone without the appropriate credentials. How a school can achieve this when using a foreign ski school is hard to see, whatever their level of checking.
Just as parents have to do, assumptions must be made.

clam Sat 24-Jan-15 14:43:43

Re: lift queues and so forth, you just have to accept that there will be some bottlenecks and learn to organise your day to avoid them as much as possible. It's do-able.
However, I was looking at the webcams for 'our' resort earlier this week, and it all looked eerily empty. i quite like the lively atmosphere of Feb half term - although not the traffic going up on the Saturday transfer day!

AuntieStella Sat 24-Jan-15 14:57:19

And of course Trickydecision school trips also send staff so any discrepancies between standards promised and those provided will be mitigated as far and as quickly as possible. So much of what is required to accredit as approved activity will remain directly with their own staff.

flashheartscanoe Sat 24-Jan-15 18:38:52

We ski at half term because I am a teacher. Otherwise I would take my kids out of school up to year 10 as long as they had few other absences and were doing fine. The secondary school ski trip is on a school week- apart from all the 'accreditation' I do not see the difference. They miss exactly the same amount.

SignoraLiviaBurlando Sat 24-Jan-15 21:41:14

We took our DC out when in primary - it went down as unauthorised, but.... so what? Now they are teenagers I am so glad we had the lovely irreplaceable time with them ...

Kantha Sun 25-Jan-15 08:40:08

We've taken DS out in Reception and Yr1 and will do so again this March. It helps that we have a sympathetic head teacher. Last year after the rules changed I approached him early on in the Autumn to find out what the consequences would be. It went down as unauthorised absence but no fine. Lots of HTs won't/can't be sympathetic though. Even if we had been fined the cost of the fine would still be massively offset by the price saving vs school holiday prices.

CaurnieBred Mon 26-Jan-15 20:04:51

DD is in Y5 and we have taken her out every year since Reception. We will probably stop doing so though once she gets to Y7.

Just had a fantastic, quiet week in Gressony and back to earth with a bump today.

CrispyFB Mon 26-Jan-15 21:10:07

I wish I had the guts! I'm too much of a goody two-shoes even though I don't mind others doing it, especially for skiing when there really are only a few weeks a year in holiday time.

Oldest is in Y3 now, we've already bankrupted ourselves booked for next year in holidays so if we did do it, she'd be in Y5 which is pretty much the last year it would be reasonable to do it because of SATS.

We compromised by doing it at Easter last time we went. We were lucky with the snow and it was somewhere between regular March prices and half term prices.

southbucks77 Wed 28-Jan-15 21:12:39

Exactly the same as Flashheart! I'm a teacher so I'm restricted to half term but would take my kids out if I wasn't.

Plus my daughter's school do a term time ski trip anyway.

CrispyFB Fri 30-Jan-15 12:23:09

Oh crikey, I just did it. Perhaps spurred on by this thread here! But Crystal changed the times of our Eurostars by over 12 hours a few days ago, which meant we had the option to cancel/change etc. Given we no longer had the night trains we wanted, we had to shift to a week later (start of spring term) in order to get the night trains. So we did.

Saved £2,750 and it will be quieter which is great for DS in particular as he can be a bit odd! Going to be so nervous telling the head though..

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