To Do or Not To Do: School and Holidays…

Take your kids out of school for holidays? Gove thinks Not!
(ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ve started thinking recently about holidays and we’re currently considering whether we should take advantage of Biggest Boy’s school policy allowing family holidays in term time. The policy is basically thus: We can ask to take him out of school for up to ten days (i.e. a fortnight) for a family holiday, but if we only go away for a week, you then forfeit the second week. This is all on the understanding that it’s a convenient time for the school, that your child’s attendance is good and that there are no worries about their academic ability. So my question to you is: would you take a holiday in term time just to save a few quid?

I don’t like the idea at all, but up until BB started school we’d always taken holidays whenever we wanted, steering clear of the expensive times and on the last few occasions went to Center Parcs which is lovely and a place we’d love to go again, but in term time a week cost us just over £300, but in holiday time the same accommodation would cost us in excess of £1000 – something we are not able to manage at the moment. So is it justified to take him out of school for this?

Ok, I know it’s obvious that I want you all to say ‘yeah, go on, it’s fine!’ but I do really want to know what you think and whether you would do it, or have done it with your kids.

I’m also not saying that we’d definitely go somewhere like Center Parcs that is nice and outdoorsy, but not very educational in terms of culture and stuff. There are plenty of places we could go that are relatively cheap. My parents live in France, for example, so we could go there, or Mr W’s parents have a timeshare that they have often offered to let us swap for something, so even America’s not out of the question as the accommodation wouldn’t cost us anything.

Answers on a postcard then – does the reduction in holiday cost justify taking your children out of school?

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6 Responses to To Do or Not To Do: School and Holidays…

  1. Cath says:

    At the age your kids are, and with you as a mum (I’ll explain this in a bit!) I can’t see a problem. The fact is, you’re the type of mum who worries about the kids education, and will likely make up for the time out of school by doing reading practice with them, playing maths-y games, I-spy, lots of words games. All these things add to their education, and missing 2 weeks shouldn’t affect their school performance to any great degree.
    As you know, I has to take my son out of school for 2 weeks last year to go to America (yes, *had to* – holidays paid for and including grandparents aren’t to be sniffed at!). School was understanding (they haves points policy based on time of year, whether the kid is in a SATs year, and what their previous attendance has been like), and it really didn’t seem to affect his biliary at school. Don’t think he missed much to be honest!

    Obviously, if your kids were 16 & 14 my views would be different, but if I were you I’d take advantage while you can. Maybe get a couple of maths / English workbooks for the plane if you’re feeling really guilty?!

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks for the reassurance – and your faith in me (!). I tend to agree and there’s no way I’d take them out in an important exam year etc. So we may try it…

  2. Pointy says:

    I personally wouldn’t do it. I know that you’d do practices with the kids while away (if you can get them to sit stil long enough), but school is there for a reason. When they go back, they’ll have to not only do the work they’ve missed, but also keep up with the current work, and that’s going to be stressful for them.

    I can understand your thinking and it IS a massive saving to go off peak. But aren’t there off peak times at other times of year when the kids are off school? Is easter not still within off peak periods, and the half term holidays?

    btw cool for your parents moving to France – how long have they lived there? 🙂

    • Stacey says:

      The difficulty is even half term they ramp the prices up, those scheming bar stewards! Ma and Pa have been in France for nearly five years now…

  3. Boysmum2 says:

    Now if it was something you were planning on doing every year then a different matter, but just once or twice doesn’t make any difference I don’t think. The fact you are worried about it just goes to show you care about your children, their education and the effect 2 weeks away from school would have on them. Just imagine if he got sick and didn’t attend for 1 week, would you be too concerned? If planned and organised then no worries

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