HOLIDAYS DURING TERM TIME AREN'T ALWAYS A BAD THING


Every parent will know very well the perils of trying to book a holiday in the school half terms. It doesn't matter if you're opting for a staycation or heading abroad, you're going to be stung by the ridiculous prices. To me there isn't a rhyme or reason as to why the prices are hiked up, it's simply marketing on the school holidays and a small window in which most families are forced to take their holidays, I vehemently disagree with it, but, what can you do? You're forced to either; pay the excess for what will evidently be a much busier holiday as you're travelling in peak time, take them out of school in term time and risk the fine, or you go without. It's a big reason why we're keen to make the most of the rest of 2018 before Noah turns five and we're legally obliged to school him. 




I know since the law really cracked down on term time holidays, there have been a tremendous increase in fines which have me shaking my internal head. The rules seem to black and white, allowing for no other option, as if by taking your children on holiday they're having one big ice-cream fest on a sun lounger. It's wrong. Just last month I was admiring Emma and her beautiful family for travelling together, even tuning in to her Instagram stories made me feel more cultured from hearing the fantastic adventures they'd got up to every day. I'm sure her boys learnt bucket loads, far more than we can comprehend. You see for me, travelling and visiting other countries gives you things that no other experience can, it teaches you about patience, diversity and that quite often our day to day problems in the grand scheme of the world, aren't problems at all. 

During my childhood, holidaying wasn't all inflatables and sun hats, I learnt to swim abroad, by hitting the pool every day I gained my water wings and eventually my confidence too. Nothing boosts your belief in yourself more than conquering something you tried at for so long. I made my first pen pals, I remember being no older than 12, in the Dominican Republic and befriending two twins from Canada, we hit the mini disco night after night and I think I shed a tear when their holiday came to an end before mine. It was my first taste of independence, my parents being happy to wander round the all-inclusive resort ourselves, safe in the knowledge we couldn't and wouldn't get to far, I felt really grow up with my groovy chick swimming costume. In Margarita I learned all about determination, each evening those who won at the poolside / beach games would be presented with a medal on stage and boy oh boy did I want the medals, all of them. And so that's exactly what I spent my whole holiday doing, taking part in sports I wouldn't have took a second glance at before, darts, swim races, volleyball, it's safe to say I manged to get my fair share though we think the maid may have gone walk about with them (totally not my Mum disposing so that our case wasn't overweight for the return flight).



You see schools, or the government, don't take that into account if you choose to remove your child. I know some are more lenient than others and it is the luck of the postcode draw. It's frustrating, it's putting an emphasis on numbers and letters over cultures and confidence, neither are more important than the other yet the system clearly tells us that they are. You can play the game and place your loyalties with the lessons children learn abroad with a potential side fine and a sprinkling of pissed off school, or you can choose a classroom setting with pencils, rulers and p.e kits which of course comes with an almost doubly priced break away. You don't win whatever you pick. In the future we're not going to be letting ourselves be constrained by term times, I know school is important, and thankfully Noah is one of those children that *touch wood* doesn't get poorly, so his overall attendance will be good. I'm just hoping that his school will be one that understands how important breaks away are for children, and appreciates that sometimes there are things that can't be taught inside a classroom.


8 comments

  1. It's a tough one as I understand absence can be disruptive and if school's approve leave it opens a can of worms for others as it sets a precedence. We have taken Ella out of school before, once or twice it's just been a day or two before a school holiday- the other summer they broke up on a Tuesday (!!!) so clear they weren't doing any work and flying on the sunday was over £100 cheaper so I said she was sick! Last October they approved leave and she missed 4 days before October half term as we were flying to Cape Verde which we can only fly to on a Tuesday. In October this year she'll miss a day too. Her attendance is excellent the rest of the year and she is very rarely ill so I can't see the problem. Next year she has SATS so we won't take her out...although might once they're out the way as I think once year 6 have done their SATs they don't do much work for the remainder of the year.

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  2. It's such a difficult one, but what I think is unfair is that it differs so wildly between schools/councils etc. My daughter doesn't start school until September and I am honestly not sure what we will do, in terms of holidays

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  3. I think if a child has good attendance then taking a week out for a holiday isn't a bad thing. I would rather my children had a holiday each year and miss a week of school than have no holiday at all.

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  4. I was actually discussing this with a neighbour yesterday and planning on writing a similar post myself! It's insane the amount prices go up by in the school holidays, even just for UK breaks! I think spending time with family and loved ones outside of school is just as important as the time spent in school, and like you say - they learn just as much on holiday as they would in the classroom, just about different skills! x

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  5. I think holidays are more about learning. Experiencing difficult cultures, foods and like you say, even learning to swim! its ridiculous the prices we have to pay in school holidays for a small break. I feel it is far more important to get that family time and therefore miss some school! (The Willow Tree)

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  6. I completely agree - I think as long as your kid isn't always off and is there for the important things (like the first few months of a new school/class to build relationships) then it's fine as long as you're not just trotting off on a beach holiday and not teaching them stuff! I've taken my kiddo out of school twice this year (She's not 5 yet so didnt get in trouble) for life enriching things!

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  7. I’m lucky in the fact we home ed so I don’t have to worry about fines and such. I really do think it’s ridiculous that even if your child has great attendance you still more often than not face fines for taking them on holiday. The life experiences of a holiday outweigh a few missed classes for me x

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  8. I think the fines are ridiculous for just a day or two, the amount you can learn from travelling is not a hinderence to education, it’s a help. I do think there should be a limit somewhere, otherwise people would take the mick, but there is no question that it’s ridiculous that you should be penalised for trying to show your children other cultures.

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