How would you feel about school term and holiday dates being staggered so they don’t all occur at the same time as they do now? Do you think this would make it easier and fairer – and cheaper – for families to holiday together, or make it more difficult for everyone in general?
It’s an interesting argument and has been raised as a result of the difficulty and expense in organising family holidays and travel. Along with the practice of fining parents who take their kids away during term time, which many feel is grossly unfair.
One parent, Jon Platt hit the news recently. He took his children out of school during term time but refused to pay the fine, went to court and won his case at the time. However, the court has now reversed their earlier decision and decided he acted unlawfully and this has led to further examination of the law concerning ‘acceptable attendance’ at school. (Read about it here)
The Department for Education says that each day of school missed causes harm to a child’s development, but this does seem to be rather an extreme claim. The TES (Times Educational Supplement) argues against this and suggests that time away can actually enhance learning and development rather than impair it. (Read what they say here)
There is now a campaign for change initiated by the travel company Timeaway. They want to get together with head teachers across Britain to discuss staggering school term dates. These would be decided among the community the school supports, along with more flexibility to take kids on holiday in term time.
This would empower parents, put them back in charge of their time together and time away, and give parents some say in how terms and holidays are organised. At the current time families are slaves to what the system dictates. A system that was set up when life and culture was very different, so perhaps it’s time for change and to examine what would serve everyone best.
But what would serve everyone best; parents and schools, work and business? Not forgetting that schools are graduating towards business models too.
And finally, but most importantly, what does this mean for the children?
There is no doubt that travel and diversity of experience benefits a child’s development in ways that cannot be measured. But in our measurement obsessed system it’s easy to see how schools, educational departments and politicians, who rely on league tables and statistics to further their case against empowering parents, would perhaps not want to acknowledge that!
What’s your view? What would you like to see happen? Would it be of benefit to stagger school holidays so they occurred at different times around the country? And do you think parents should be fined for holidaying during term time?
We welcome your views so do leave us a comment and let us know.