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?
- Half term holiday premiums add £1,000 to family holiday (telegraph.co.uk)