>Do you take your children on holiday in term time?

>With my upcoming holiday to Spain, I will be taking my daughter out of school for 5 days during term time. My reason for this is that her passport arrived last week and I have to give two weeks notice of any holiday I want at work, which I still almost didn’t get because someone else is off for 2 out of the 5 days I wanted off. The other factor is my daughter hasn’t seen my partner since he moved to Spain in January and she misses him desperately, for that reason I think it’s totally justified. It’s not every day the person you think of as your father moves to another country after all!

The official stance on holidays in term time from the government is:

You should not normally take your child on holiday in term time as it can be disruptive both to your child’s education and to the school.

Holidays in term time can only be agreed by the headteacher or someone with appropriate authority. Schools can use their discretion to grant up to 10 days’ authorised absence in a school year if both:

•the parent the child normally lives with applies to the school in advance of the holiday
•there are special reasons for the holiday

It goes on to say that:

Schools can only agree to more than 10 school days’ absence in any school year in exceptional circumstances.

Schools must judge each holiday request on a case by case basis.

They can take into consideration:

•the time of year for the proposed trip
•if it’s near any exam dates
•your child’s overall attendance pattern
•any holidays already taken in the school year
•the age and stage of education of your child
•your wishes
•the ability of your child to catch up the work that they have missed
•the reason why you are taking the time off during term time

Schools should not take into consideration:

•availability of cheap holidays
•availability of desired accommodation
•poor weather experienced in school holiday periods
•overlap with the beginning or end of term

Firstly I don’t quite get how taking a child out of school is disruptive to the school, maybe a teacher can help me out with that one?

My daughter is at primary school and as we will be moving to Spain before the beginning of the next autumn term, her education will take a completely different turn at that point anyway because she will have a new language to learn as well as a new style of learning and a new curriculum, so at this stage I doubt her education will be interrupted any more than it will be already by the move.

Luckily I’m told children of her age find it relatively easy to pick up languages (and she’s certainly doing very well with her Spanish already) and children often end up with a far better grasp on a language than their parents! I wouldn’t take her out of school for a holiday during her SATS or 11 plus (not that I agree with the SATS anyway in their current format, but that’s another debate entirely!) nor would I take her out of school in the immediate lead up to these exams.

The school itself has recently advised parents that they will only allow up to 5 days holiday a year that can be taken on any number of occasions. Prior to this we could take children out of school for 10 days in any one school year but if you only took a day, you’d lose the entire 10 day entitlement, so I suppose being able to take the 5 days over the entire year would be beneficial, especially if you have several small holidays a year. I know I’ve taken my daughter to Haven or Pontins before for a weekend and called in to say she was sick on the Monday just to avoid using all the 10 days for one days holiday, just incase we went on holiday later in the year.

The procedure at this school is that you complete a holiday request form which then gets passed to the school governors for their approval. Now if you’ve read my previous posts you will know that one of the school governors is the mother of a child who if he was over 10 years of age I could have had him charged with assault against my daughter on numerous occasions, having broken her nose, smashed her head on the playground floor etc, so needless to say their blessing on me taking my daughter out of school or not is not exactly held in high regard.

The government information states that the availability of cheap holidays should not be taken into consideration as a reason for booking a holiday. Now this is another bug bear of mine! If this is the governments stance on the matter, surely they should be doing something about regulating the prices in the tourism industry to ensure that some parents don’t have to take their children out of school during term time in order to be able to afford a well deserved family holiday.

I’ve worked as a travel agent in the past and rubbed my hands together when I saw families coming in to book their holidays because I knew they would earn me more commission due to the astronomical price of their holidays, that was I hasten to add long before I became a mummy myself! I’ve never been able to afford to take my daughter on holiday except for the odd weekend away to Haven or Pontins because I simply couldn’t afford to pay for it on my own. The only reason I can afford to take her to Spain is because all I have to pay for is the flights and car hire (and thanks to my mum who’s paid for my daughters flight, I only had to pay for mine!) because we have my partners flat to stay in. Without that we wouldn’t be having a holiday again this year, it’s far too expensive.

So what do you think? Is it ever ok to take a child out of school for a holiday?

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