Monday, 8 February 2016

Term Time Holidays - Yes or No?


Image Credit: Mayan Ruin from Shutterstock

It's quite a major debate, isn't it?  I am constantly seeing posts across my social media feeds with parents asking other parents if they should take their child out of school to go on holiday. We all know that the price of holidays depends on the popularity of the time of year and it is pretty logical really.

When JJ first started school we took him on a term-time holiday each year as it meant we could enjoy a break with my parents for next-to-nothing and seeing as I wasn't earning major money it was just what we needed. Time to be a family, have fun together and recharge our batteries. We didn't have any qualms about doing it as he was just 4 or 5 years old and the the few days he missed school were not crucial in the overall scheme of things - he is a bright boy.

Then things changed, the twins became old enough to go to school and JJ was learning different kinds of subjects and we felt he might miss out by not being at school. Also the ten days discretionary leave that a Head could issue changed and now Head Teachers can only authorise leave in exceptional circumstances and those circumstances are left up to the Heads discretion. It is a bit of a minefield to be honest now.

I have to say though that for responsible parents I still believe that children should be allowed to take term-time holidays. There are massive benefits for all the family to be able to go on a well-priced holiday and enjoy some down-time together. Summer is the busiest time for my husbands work and as a responsible employer he wants to be at work to support his staff when they need him most but of course as a loving parent he also wants to relax and have fun with his family.

Depending where you take your holiday there is so much you can do with the children to help them stay in an educational mindset whilst also having an amazing time. Take Mexico for instance, this is just one country that I'd love to take my children on holiday to. The girls have recently learnt about the Aztecs and Mayans and where better to educate them than by letting them climb Teotihuacan or visit Chichen Itza. Nothing they can do in the classroom will compare to that experience of being there and seeing what was achieved back in the 2nd century.

JJ is also learning Spanish at school and he has really taken to it but can you imagine just how much he could improve by trying it out in situ for a week or two? Then what an amazing experience it would be if we took the children to Mexico at the beginning of November for the Dias des los Muertos festival. They would absorb and learn so much from experiencing the beliefs and traditions of this different culture and of course the same goes for the food. JJ is just about to start food technology lessons and he is being encouraged to try new foods, so there would certainly be plenty of room for that in the back streets of Mexico City. The possibilities for fun and educational experiences is limitless.

Image Credit: First Choice

We do have this dilemma this year about taking the children out of school at the end of September/ beginning of October as we have a wedding coming up of some wonderful friends (one Spanish and one Italian, so there will be a wedding in Italy and blessing in Spain). We now need to go through the process of applying for leave for the children.

I hope and pray it will be approved by the Head of the girl's school as she has known us for about three years now and seen this is not our norm. The kids attend school regularly (which is the key indicator in the Education Act of 1996), it is not at a crucial point so they will not miss any tests or assessments and it is not something we intend to do again. I do wonder if we will get leave approved from my sons school though, as she only started there last September and whilst he is a good pupil with 100% attendance, no defaults and has earned lots of vevo's (like house points) from what I understand it is just not the done thing at secondary level education. Oh well, we will see.

But what do you think? What would make you take your child for a holiday in term-time?


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