Should holidays during term-time be banned for school kids?

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Since September 1st 2013, teachers have no longer been allowed to grant up to 10 days off to school children for family holidays in “special circumstances”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10414228/Scrap-term-time-holiday-ban-say-parents.html

Now there is a growing petition and outrage regarding the ban of term-time holidays, some saying it’s unfair on parents who can’t afford to take their children away during peak time.

Do you think kids should be given time off school for family holidays? What seems fair to you?

Lottie Gross 30/10/13    Travelling with children Link Report

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8 Replies Date Popularity

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Personally, from an educational rather than a travel point of view, I think banning children from going on family holidays during term time is ridiculous. The educational value to young people of visiting another country and experiencing a culture entirely different to their own cannot be underrated. Exploring new places, trying new foods and dealing with challenging situations all strengthen creativity and curiosity – surely more so than sitting in a classroom?

This strikes me as yet another method of control from central government – the decision should surely be made by the parents and teachers of the child concerned? What about the many children who’s extended family are abroad? Holidays should not be equated to truancy, and parents should not be criminalised for not being able to afford peak time fares… which will undoubtably rise even further because of this move.

Rachel Mills 30/10/13    Link Report

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I never took long holidays during term time in school, but they were excellent bribery material for my parents… “If you do your homework, you can choose where we go on the first day”, or more often “Oh, you don’t want to do your homework? I guess you don’t want to go to France then…” Either way, if anything it made me work harder!

Aside from that, I remember those trips a lot more than much of my time in school; with two parents working full time, it was the best quality time we got together, and I experienced so many new things I never would’ve at school!

So long story short – I think banning term-time holidays would be missing the point of what education really is, and potentially doing more harm than good.

Rebecca Hallett 01/11/13    Link Report

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At Primary School age, I can see ‘less’ issues with holidays that occur during term-time.

However, at Secondary School age, course-work and internal assessments happen throughout Key Stage 4 and 5 and, they happen when a professional decides that their class is ready.

There is no way teachers can provide enough notice to parents so that they can book holidays around this sort of class-based work. As such, students will risk missing this work (could be up to 25% of final grade) and failing GCSE/A-level examinations to go on holiday.

rmpiedra 03/11/13    Link Report

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I personally think everyone is looking at this from the wrong angle. The onus shouldn’t be on parents or schools, it is the travel companies who should be forced to stop ripping off families (and everyone else who happens to need to travel during that time).

I understand market forces and supply and demand, but there should also be an onus of social responsibility on any business as well. Jacking up the prices in the holidays is just wrong and it should not be allowed.

While it is allowed however, if I ever have kids I will have absolutely no qualms about taking them out of school during term time, and I don’t blame any parent who does now.

Michael Huxley 03/11/13    Link Report

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According to the WTM industry report 37% of adults would take kids out of school for holidays, despite the £60 fine because the fines are cheaper than peak-time rates!

There’s definitely something wrong with this system…

Lottie Gross 05/11/13    Link Report

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As a parent myself, it is horribly depressing to see the price of flights rise so dramatically (sometimes tripling) at the onset of the school holidays, with half-term weeks being particularly excessive. I agree with Michael in that it would be great to see a cap of some kind on such seasonal increases, but I can’t see it happening, and while families are restricted to a few weeks a year in which to take their annual holidays, airlines and travel agencies can pretty much charge what they like.

I can see that taking a week or two off during an exam year at secondary school isn’t going to do much good for your kid’s prospects, but a few days here and there during primary school is hardly going to have an adverse effect on their education. As Rachel says, it’s more likely to be the reverse in fact, and I’m sure my kids remember more of their visit to the tanneries in Fez than they do of the potato printing they did at school the following week (we actually bit the bullet and went during Easter…)

I think the key to having a good-value school-holiday holiday is to pick a more “unusual” family destination (so Albania rather than Andalucia) and to throw your lot in with the budget airlines – without any of the optional extras, of course. That way, it might even work out cheaper than going during term time, as the penalty is £60 per parent per child per day – so a family of four taking a two-week trip would run up fines of £2400…!

Keith Drew 05/11/13    Link Report

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My son is in his 2nd year at primary school he is nearly 6 & has a heart condition, which will need further surgery, we have been told this is likely to be during next years summer holidays, so he will be out of action for a good couple of weeks. We are planning on going on holiday in early June for 2 weeks, so will have to take him out of school, if they want to fine me then so be it, but no way are we going to miss out on giving him a treat before he has to go through surgery!
Surely in cases like this holidays in term time should be allowed/sanctioned……it boils my !!!! That they think they can dictate to us what we can and can’t do.

Rant over

Marks 06/11/13    Link Report

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It’s tricky. Overall, I think it should be up to the parents as long as there is a limit that is monitored by the school.

KeyserSuzy 11/11/13    Link Report

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