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Of course we want cheaper holidays and quieter beaches, but we can’t have them. It’s time to get over it.

tutorhubIn England and Wales, education secretary Michael Gove has decided to ban parents from taking kids out of school to go on holiday during term time. He’s doing this by taking away head teachers’ existing power to authorise up to 10 days a year off.

The 10 days are supposed only to be granted if there are “special” reasons, but that is so unclear “special” has come to mean cheaper in some cases.

Here in Scotland, there is no such fortnight of grey area. You can only take your kids on holiday during term time for things as extreme as “traumatic domestic circumstances”. While the rise in prices at the travel agent verges on traumatic, I don’t think it qualifies.

Of course there are other examples, such as the fixed leave of a parent in the armed forces where a child would be allowed to stay off school, but they really are the exception.

I hear many parents faced with Mr Gove’s plan moaning about how unfair it is that they can’t do what they want, when they want. Tough.

It’s annoying and expensive, but we will just have to make do with the school holidays as they are. An annual package holiday abroad is not a human right.

Some parents claim that the family excursion to somewhere exotic is educational. I’m sure it is, but mums and dads that inspired can surely find something for their children to learn closer to home.

And teaching children the importance of school by the example of making sure they go there every day, come what may, must surely be a valuable lesson. Sophisticated and costly education is laid on for our kids, the least we can do is make sure they’re there for it. In fact, it’s our duty.

Getting children to school every single day makes sure they don’t miss anything – and the schoolyard banter is almost as important as the classroom stuff. A fortnight is a very long time when you’re a school pupil.

So, stop bellyaching about it and pour your energies into the things you can do with your children during the 10 weeks or so they do get off.

15 Comments

15 Responses to “Stop whining about not being able to take your kids on holiday during term time”

  1. mrsshortie

    This is a difficult one, I agree in part with you, parents shouldn’t use it as a way of getting cheaper holidays, and I for one would not take my kids out of school for a fourtnight. I would hate for them to miss so much, but I would also then have 6 whole weeks of trying to amuse them on my own as opposed to just 4! However we have taken them out of school so we can have a long weekend as a family, including grandparents away from the normal husle and bussle.

    However what happens to those families where holidays have to be taken during term time, or where there are no holiday dates left during the holidays for parents to take leave? (although I am not sure how much of a problem this would be).

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    • ellenarnison27

      I agree it is problematic. Perhaps a solution would be to have a few more long weekends during the term time.

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  2. fab40foibles

    As a teacher I never get to take my kids away in term time. I also think that my kids wouldn’t enjoy thier hols quite so much ( nor us half an hour’s peace occasionally!) if there were no other kids to play with on the beach or at the campsite when we get back from a day’s family adventures!

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    • ellenarnison27

      That’s a good point – if everyone is on holiday there are others around to play with.

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    • dave

      every where I have been is always busy with children in family hotels out of the school hol’s, most people take them out of school, I have saved over £1000 before so I used it for another weeks holiday

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  3. Corinne

    I am inclined to agree with you, but that’s mostly because I am bitter because we are too poor to afford holidays abroad and our camping holidays cost the same whenever we go. Having said that, I would like the school system to be less rigid rather than more, as a parent (and ex-teacher) who is considering home schooling my youngest children I would love a system that allowed my children to attend school part time for some of the social aspects but let me teach them the rest of the time thus allowing me the freedom to give them the type of education I would like them to have. Sorry, that sentence was much longer than I expected.

    It is a shame that holidays are so expensive during school holidays but as you say things can be done closer to home, also helping to boost the UK economy, maybe the government plans aren’t so altruistic after all?!

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    • ellenarnison27

      Thanks for your comment. I would argue that actually UK camping holidays are probably just as much – if not more – fun than overseas breaks. Plus, as you say, it boosts the UK economy.

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  4. kateab

    I have to disagree. I agree that it’s not ideal, however, there are some families, who will be lucky to afford a caravan by the sea, let alone an exotic holiday somewhere, whose only way to get a holiday is to go in term time. We can only just afford a week in holiday time, and I’m very very thrifty. In our school, we are lucky that we get to go once a year. Some don’t go at all, some only every few years. Some children don’t get much family time at all usually where their parents are working at minimum wage, it would be hard to deny them the chance to go on holiday.

    The real problem is here is the low rate of attendance which is impacting on results. Insisting that children aren’t allowed to go on holidays won’t improve the results – the real problem are the persistent non-attenders whose parents just go off on holiday without asking, don’t send their child “if they don’t feel like it” and / or can’t be bothered to get them to school on time every day. Putting some effort into dealing with those families and getting them into regular school will have a bigger impact but they won’t do that as it costs money to manage such people. Instead, they go for the “quick win” that is free as all they have to do is instruct the heads not to allow it. And all it will do is cause bad feeling between parents and schools as well as increase the sickness rate.

    And don’t tell me that doesn’t happen in Scotland, cos I bet it does.

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    • ellenarnison27

      I think the non-attendance you’re talking about is a different issue and, of course, it happens everywhere.
      I agree no want wants to deny anyone family time, but it isn’t necessary to go abroad to have good family time – it can be done closer to home, just as effectively (even if it rains).

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      • kateab

        But my point is – some families can only afford a UK holiday if they go in term time! A week even in the cheapest caravans cost around £400-500 in school holidays. In term time, you can get it for half that or less. Considering you still have to get there, pay for food and anything you do, a week’s holiday in this country is out of the reach of many families at school. There are kids in both my children’s classes who have never been on holiday. Their only hope is the occasional term time holiday.

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    • Jo Gratts

      You are bang on the money and I couldnt have put it better myself, its all another control over our lives and it will just get worse, we wont be able to breath without a licence soon. Its amazing also how at the end of term the teachers can just put dvds on all week while they finish off for end of term, what a complete farse this all is and the bloody MPs dont care as they can afford what they want!!!

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  5. jaycee

    I think it is ridiculous that 5 year olds cant have 2 weeks out of school , i can understand the importance for secondary children to have regular attendance but primary children !! I am now stuck that we wont be able to go with our grandchildren aged 5 and 7 to florida as there is no way both my husband and i will be able to get 2 weeks school holidays off at the same time as well as tying this in with the parents 2 weeks at least if we opted for 2 weeks in , say , february the chances are more likely . It will just mean pupils will be rung in sick and what leson is that teaching the children !!

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  6. rachael

    my husband is a general manager of a holiday and is not allowed to take any time off other than one day off a week in any school holidays. He works 6 days a week and can only take his day off mid week. My children are 5 and 7 and were not authorised to take a holiday in the new term. We will be fined 240 pounds. Although i agree children should have good attendance we will be unable to have any family holidays with the new rules. We cannot even take a weekend break as my husband cannot have weekends off. My children get upset when their daddy is off whilst they are at school. A holiday is a chance to have important family time together. They had 100% attendance this year and we make every effort to get our children in school. Sorry about the rant but feel very frustrated at the position we have been put in.

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