Why I Plan on Taking my Son out of School for our Family Holiday

Harlyn beach and clouds

Why I Plan on Taking my Son out of School for Holidays

I think I should start this post by stating that my husband and I believe strongly in education. We both have degrees, in fact my husband has two as he also has a Masters. We support our children’s education and believe it to be both an important and intrinsic part of their lives. But, we also, both love and believe in the importance of family holidays.

I think most modern parents know that the cost of holiday within school holiday time is beyond crazy. Last summer, The Telegraph reported that the cost of holidays during school holiday time often more than doubled. With price rises of 115% being reported. It’s a cost that many families cannot justify, and left with these price rises are left with the choice of taking their child out of school in term time, or no family holiday at all.

Just over a month ago, a father who took to the education system to court to appeal a fine he was given for taking his daughter out of school in term time lost his case at the Supreme Court. Which is a clear ruling on the government’s stance on where they stand on this issue. Taking your child out of school for a family holiday will equal a fine.

As you can guess by the title of the blog post, this is a ruling I whole heartedly disagree with and there are multiple reasons for my argument. We have booked a holiday and will be taking my son out of school in term time for two weeks to France. Just yesterday we received a letter back from my son’s school saying that his absence would be unauthorised and should we continue to take him out of school we will face a fine. I feel like a naughty school girl summoned to the headteacher’s office, rather than a competent mother of two who wants what is best for her child.

Education is Important, But so are Holidays

Firstly, this assumes that holidays are un-educational and that parents cannot educate their children when they are away. It also does not take into consideration the emotional and psychological benefits of a child of family holidays. A second article on The Telegraph shares a study where there is believed to be a correlation between IQ and family holidays, calling a holiday an ‘investment in your child’s brain’. Another study ‘found that 49% of British people said their happiest memory is being on holiday with their family’. You can read the full post on The Huffington Post.

A lot of my most treasured memories both as a child and as an adult are from our family holidays. We have not long got back from a weekend away ourselves in Wales and my son cried as we left as he had had such a wonderful time. In that time we have made some wonderful memories had some great fun. But my children also learnt about things too. My son’s confidence in the water has definitely improved. We took a school project with us, in which we were challenged to find shapes in ordinary places, and enjoyed taking photos of shapes to take back to school. We were fortunate as this was a long weekend, we could afford to do it in the Easter Holidays.

It develops the bond between a family. My husband quite often works long hours and so to have that unadulterated time all of us together is both special and important. The bond children share with their families stands them in stead for growing up and sets foundations for their emotional development.

Children learn about different cultures, different environments, different languages and engage in experiences they would never normally see. How is this not important? How can families justify another £2000 (which is what we were quoted to go in August)  to do this in school holiday time when they are already financially pushed in the current climate? How can the government not recognise this?

The Parent vs The Government

As a parent I don’t believe that the government should not have the right to tell me whether I can take my child out of school or not. Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that this means I should be able to take them out of the school however and whenever, it is an education system after all. But the decision to decide if it is the right thing for my child, I believe should sit with the parent.

This also applies to bereavement and illness, only a parent truly knows what is right for their child. As they know and love their children inside out. How quickly they will recover, if going back to school is the right thing. Parents know in their gut what is right. If they are concerned about their child’s performance they can make the informed choice as their parent, discussing options with the school as necessary.

I have seen the argument that teachers cannot take time out in school holidays, so why should children. I think the distinct difference here is that teachers and people who work in schools make a career choice and know the implications of that role. As a parent, unless you choose to home school or can afford private school where you get on average 4 weeks more holiday. Then, you have no choice but to be in the school system with all of its rules and regulations.

Bring Back 10 Days Authorised Absence a Year

Surely a compromise can be met here between the government and parents? For many years parents were able to have their children out for 10 days authorised absence every school year. Something my husband’s family did every year. As I said above my husband went on to do get a master degree so it obviously did not affect his education. Give families those ten days, let them make the informed choice to take their children out or not based on what they know and understand about their children. Give them flexibility in their family lives. Cost aside, there are some parents whose own jobs will mean that taking the time out in school holidays is not easy for them, just a small bit of flexibility can go a long way.

I will be taking my children out of school for their holiday, because I think a child not having a holiday is a greater loss than missing one or two weeks of school.

6 thoughts on “Why I Plan on Taking my Son out of School for our Family Holiday”

  1. I totally agree that a holiday is really important. I recently took my daughter out of school just for a day for an opportunity that we couldn’t do at any other time. I wouldn’t take her out for a fortnight but only because we don’t need to, we are lucky that we are able to take our holidays during school holidays without worrying too much about finances. However if we weren’t in that position I would probably do the same as you. I hope you all have a lovely holiday.
    Nat.x

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  2. I can see both sides of the argument but I have to say au wholeheartedly agree with you. I took my son out in February, we visited my Mom in Italy to surprise her for her 70th birthday. The experience the boys had was amazing and they got to spend a wonderful 5 days with their Nonna who they usually only see for a day when she comes over.

    In Scotland it is unauthorised absence but you don’t get fined!

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  3. I totally agree that family holidays are of great value and I was lucky enough to have amazing holidays in my childhood to seaside resorts around the British coast. Holidays are no less valuable during the school holidays and as the blogger and her partner are in the fortunate position of both holding degrees they have the potential to be higher level learners. Surely a supplement once a year is not beyond more people’s means if they are in a fortunate position like this but I am not commenting on the OP’s circumstances. If every parent in the class took their child out for 2 weeks holiday in term time, at no point in the year would the teacher have a full class. Two weeks holiday means the child’s attendance is just over 94% and in many Local Authorities when attendance drops to 90% or below it should be reported to the Attendance team. It leaves little lee-way for inevitable childhood illnesses. Valuing education can only be shown in actions not words. I am writing this as an education administrator of 20 years standing and as a grannie.

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  4. Fab post Laura and I agree with your thinking! Sylvia has had 100% attendance all school year until two weeks ago when she had to take off 3 days. I think 3 days in a whole school year is not too bad but we would love to take her out for a week and go on an affordable family holiday which is less likely in the summer when it’s super expensive.

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  5. From your educated and caring parent point of view I agree with some of your points. From a school’s viewpoint I think of how time consuming it is to fill in the gaps for some children whose parents have not got the time, energy or skills to help their children to catch up with what they have missed.

    I also think of the children who are attending school full time and are aware that some of their peers are enjoying the sunshine outside whilst they are expected to pay attention to their studies. It could become an attitude changer. If there were no rules about attendance it would become easy for some parents and children to treat schools as a child minding service rather than as a place of education. It would also be more difficult to keep track on children’s well being – illness is accounted for whereas holidays cannot be tracked so easily and some children are not as fortunate in their family life as others.

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