Will your child be missing school for this year’s holiday?

24 Mar
at the beach

Image by Caligold via Flickr

With the holiday season looming, and many of us thinking about booking that well-earned break, how tempted are you to take your children out of school and go during term time? According to travelsupermarket.com, savings of up to 70% can be had if you avoid the school holidays. To me, that’s a massive temptation and I’m sure we are not the only parents who will feel this way, given the current economic climate.

But you should be careful. Whilst the government, as you’d expect, looks unkindly on this sort of absence, in fact it is the school that has ultimate decision making powers. They can authorise up to 10 days of leave in exceptional circumstances – and cheaper holidays might not be viewed as exceptional. They are able to issue ‘truanting’ fines of £50 for unauthorised absence, but compare this to the potential savings from taking a holiday during term time and how much of a deterrent is it?

Taking your children out of school can have a substantial effect on them, especially if they are approaching important exams, struggle in areas like English or Maths or if the leave is at the start of a new term.  If they are young, they might struggle to catch up with friendships in class. Some would argue, however, that a hands-on experience of a new country or culture is an education in itself and could be beneficial in many ways.

Whatever your opinion, there are financial savings to be made .It seems that just in our local area, head teachers of different schools can have very different opinions about this subject.  Some completely understand the dilemma faced by parents and are relaxed about the issue, whilst others are more strict in their interpretation of government guidelines.

In my opinion, the travel and holiday companies make a killing out of this situation – perhaps it’s those organisations who have questions to answer.

How supportive is your child’s head teacher about this?


3 Responses to “Will your child be missing school for this year’s holiday?”

  1. Crystal Jigsaw April 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I don’t actually agree with taking children out of school to go on holiday even though I do appreciate it is very expensive for families to go away during holiday time. It needs to be dealt with firmly because many travel agents/holiday companies are just taking the mickey. In my opinion, children get enough school holidays during the year so there should be no need for them to go on holiday when they’re in school. Where I live, schools don’t begrudge us taking children away for a few days because most families in the area are farmers, like us, and our holidays are very limited. I remember a family who used to take their kids out of school for 3 weeks straight after the summer holidays had finished. They had 3 kids at the same school and though I can fully understand it would have been expensive to go away during the holidays, it always used to cause controversy because they got away with it. Even farming families didn’t get away with that length of time, especially after the 6 week break.

    CJ xx

    • greenmumsblog April 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      I agree CJ, 3 weeks does sound like it’s taking the mick a bit! x

  2. Jacquie May 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    We are a dual nationality family and, as you pointed at, the issue for us is that we have to take kids in another country with dates of holidays or bank holidays that do not match the UK ones. Our school is extremely rigid with this and attendance, delay, etc… To give you an idea, they are actually posting someone at the gate every morning taking notes of who crosses them as soon as the bell rings, so no need to elaborate on their approach about holidays abroad. We have to still proceed as it’s important that the little ones are seeing their cousins and talk the other linguo (French in that case) though am indeed worried about the possible impact it would have as the schools keeps track of all these things (on the top of the instances when you cross the gate 30 secs after the bell!!). Jxx

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