Last night we received a letter from school. The law has changed. The school are no longer allowed to authorise family holidays in school term time.

What do you think about this?

Personally… I think it’s ridiculous! I’m someone who missed over a year of school and didn’t take my SAT’s (because I was having Chemotherapy), but still got 9 GSCE’s, 3 A Levels, an AS Level and a 2:1 honours degree (amongst a few additional vocational certificates). I don’t think missing a week of school makes any difference to a child’s education.

Furthermore, I feel it should be a parent’s choice, whether or not they take their child out of school for a holiday.

The majority of parents, cannot afford a holiday in term time, as the prices are so much more expensive.

In addition to this, families with children or parents who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the winter, can experience a real boost in confidence, attention span and physical wellbeing, by taking a holiday in the winter.

The chances are a child will learn a lot more about culture, language and real life with a week in another country, than they will a week in the classroom. Children learn through experience too and this shouldn’t be disregarded.

I’m not saying children should have a holiday every term, but I think they should be allowed a holiday every year. And parents should have that choice.

This morning, the school office was met with several angry parents and a few more parents listening in. The consensus amongst them, was that they’d still choose to take their children on holiday and that they’d accept the unauthorised absence and pay the fine if they were reported.

I’m guessing the people who came up with this new law don’t have children. That or they can afford to take a tutor with them to their villa in Barbados or they can afford Christmas in Aspen! Most of us don’t have that luxury!

Let’s face it, whilst none of us condone law breaking, there wont be any fewer absences or holidays in term time. There will just be a lot more children staying off school with tonsilitis and returning with a tan!

  1. Michele Elton says:

    I would have been one of those angry parents if I was at your school. I take my children out of school for 1 week every year and will continue doing it for as long as I can afford to keep going on holiday. As you say, the children learn a lot while they are away and there are children who have lots of time off sick which thankfully mine don’t. If our school adopt this policy I will just say they are ill that week!! We cannot afford a holiday in the school holidays and as a parent who fought cancer myself last year my holidays with my children are very precious.

  2. Samantha Fernley says:

    I hate being told what to do and having no flexibility. I’m a member of a SEN group and many parents on there want to take their child with autism away when it is quieter and not main school holidays. My son is 3.5 and we don’t have this problem yet but it yet another reason I may homeschool him. How much is the fine?
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  3. Kim Carberry says:

    We’ve had a similar letter a few weeks ago….Saying we will be fined £60 per child if they are taken out of school in term time….

    My friend was looking at holidays for her to take the holiday during the summer holidays would cost over £1000 more then it would during term time….She’s taking the £60 fines….She has two kids so would rather pay £120 then over £1000!!

    Another friend has a child with ADHD and is missing the first week of the new school year and is quite happy to pay the £60 if if means they can relax a little with the place being quieter….

    Stupid rules….As long as they’re not missing too much school I don’t think it’s a problem!!

  4. Louise says:

    :-( We decided to take big man out for a week this year as 1. my husband couldn’t have a full week off in the holidays and 2. It is too hot and too busy for our 1 year old the rest of the time.
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  5. Claire Lazy Girl Blog says:

    Yep couldn’t agree more.

    We took the Brats off for Friday and Monday as we had won a holiday in Cornwall and there was no way I was missing it. I got back to moaning emails asking me to explain their absence. Now, to my mind, they are 4 and 6, its the end of term anyway, and all they were doing was practicing for Sports Day.

    But, still I got read the riot act from the Head. It went in one ear and out the other to be honest, they moan constantly at some parent’s but not others, with certain religious groups in my school allowed as much time off as they like for their religious festivals and holidays. But I take them off for two days and its a scandal. Ridiculous!

  6. Knitty Mummy says:

    If they go ahead and introduce the variable holiday idea too, with each school setting its own term dates, people will have no choice but to take their kids out during term term – suppose you are a teacher with a child at secondary and a child at primary. What are the chances that all 3 schools would have the same holidays if they all choose them independently?
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  7. Dawn Frazier says:

    It absolutely ridiculous that families aren’t allowed to take their children out of school for holidays. My husband had a look online at some holidays the other day and the price during the school holidays doubled! Personally I think that unless the child is in the middle of exams, a week or two away once in a while will not impact the rest of their lives.
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  8. DaddyGeek says:

    While I see the argument about holidays being more expensive, I have to disagree with pulling children out of school during term time.

    Firstly, remember that schools will soon have the ability to set their own term dates. Whether they do so is another matter, but this may help reduce costs (unless holiday companies broaden their ‘expensive’ dates!).

    If a parent ‘lies’ to take their child out of school, the trust between parent & teacher is broken – and that trust is increasingly important in my opinion.

    But most importantly, while missing a week here or there might not damage a childs education, it can be harmful to them in other ways. For example, if they miss the first week of term, everyone else in school has settled in – picked their seats in class, got used to the timetable etc, whereas your child has to go through that from scratch. I remember doing it once early in secondary school, and it was a dreadful experience – you feel like an outcast!

    But, as I say – I agree the costs are ridiculous and I agree that seeing the wider world is important to children too.
    DaddyGeek recently posted..Social Anxiety and MeMy Profile

    • Emma Day says:

      The school always had the right to say no to the first week of term, or the last week (when they just watch videos and go home early) or indeed any important week (exams etc). But now they are taking away valuable life experiences from so many children. They are also taking away parents choices. I think this is wrong on so many levels.

  9. Mums do travel says:

    I used to take mine out of school for a week every year – until the head sent me a letter saying she’d discussed my son’s attendance with the Educational Welfare Officer. This upset me so much that we moved our him to a different school and we’ve never taken a holiday in term time since.
    Mums do travel recently posted..Family Days – share yoursMy Profile

  10. Sarah MumofThree World says:

    We’ve had this rule for years and so have lots of other schools. Took eldest out of school for a week for first three years ie infants, but then rule came in. Haven’t had a term-time holiday since. As a school governor, I can’t even bend the rules. I would love to take a holiday in term-time, but know it will never happen. It’s even worse now we’ve got two schools in equation :(

  11. kathleen says:

    But then (just to play devil’s advocate) say one of my children is in a class with children who have taken holidays in term time. Why should the teacher spend time with those children who have been away catching them up while my child is left to get on with it waiting for them to catch up (probably more relevant in high school I guess). I think it is potentially disruptive to the rest of the class. The curriculums make it tough for teachers anyway, surely this just makes it harder? Plus there are many families who can’t afford to take holidays no matter the time of year.

  12. Chelsea Williams says:

    Having always been taken away during term time, my up bringing would have me agree with this post. I don’t think it ever really affected me. Saying that, I know we will only go away when the girls are in the young ages, probably due to the fact we will have no money to go away during the holidays and the law will have been made even more tighter as they get older.
    Great post.
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  13. Mummy & Daddy says:

    As I said on Twitter we received a similar letter last year when we took our kids away, for just one week. We knew about “the law” against doing it without written permission from our children’s school, but why the hell should we ask anybody’s permission to take our kids on a little holiday?

    They’re our kids, and like you we believe they are likely to learn just as much – if not more – by visiting new places, trying new things etc. In four weeks we’re going away again, this time it’s during the summer holidays and was much more expensive – we booked that week because of the better weather (hopefully) and were not effected by the school threats of fines or whatever else.

    Next summer it’ll be another term-time holiday.
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  14. Alison says:

    Another one playing devils advocate here… you could argue that it’s important to set a good example to your kids, and showing them that you can break these rules might leave you open to tricky conversations. What if they want to take a day off school – it’s harder to say “no you must attend school every day” when you allowed them a week off for a family holiday to Spain.

    That said, I don’t have school age kids so have no direct experience and I dread the day our only option is to pay inflated prices during school holidays.

    When I was growing up, we holidayed in uni halls of residence around the UK – might take a leaf out of my parents’ books and look for frugal options! :)
    Alison recently posted..Brilliant Mum-In-A-Hurry Make UpMy Profile

  15. alexi says:

    i’m in Austrlalia i went out of school for holidays no trouble . my dad worked for a tourist resort so he could only get holidays in term time . ITs not the same thing as wagging

  16. Pinkoddy says:

    That surprises me because I’d have thought that you’d have been under the same council as me and we had the letter years back – unless it’s changing again. I recently asked and got permission to take my boys out during term time – but yes I’d have took them anyway.

    As I said I do think they “miss out” educationally, but this is only going to matter imo, if they are behind. They learn a lot whilst out, as well as the break.

    Seems to be a different kettle of fish when the school wants to take them too.
    Pinkoddy recently posted..Page 3 Girls or SAHM – Are they both bad role models for girls?My Profile

    • Emma Day says:

      All schools have their own policies. Ours was that holidays were authorized if they didn’t clash with important school matters (exams etc). Now the law has changed, not our school policy. The school is no longer allowed to authorize holidays, because of the changes in law.

  17. Geekisnewchic says:

    Is this really law? Surely all parents would have been notified if that’s the case? As far as I’m aware, each LEA has it’s own policy for in term holidays and each request is evaluated by your school head.

    If they are saying it’s law, I would be asking for the evidence!
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    • Emma Day says:

      Our letter said it was in accordance with new changes in school absence laws and there was a quoted section and an explanation of it.

      I can only go on what I’ve been told but I have heard of parents from other schools getting the same letter this week. X

  18. Attachment Mummy says:

    The nanny state strikes again! I think it’s a disgrace that they think they can tell us what to do with our own children, and that we don’t know what’s best for them. Your children will benefit from quality time with their parents, new travel experiences be they in this country or abroad, and so much more. Just ridiculous. Surely if all the parents stand up and say no they can’t get away with this?! Every new pronouncement and debate I hear makes me even happier that we are avoiding the education system altogether!
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