#Whatwouldyoudo? Would You Take Your Kids On Holiday During Time Time?

#Whatwouldyoudo? Would You Take Your Kids On Holiday During Time Time?

You have probably seen the recent Supreme Court ruling earlier this month, which over ruled the Court of Appeals decision in a recent case. A case regarding a father who was taken to Court for not paying a fine he received for taking his child out of school during term time without permission. OK so perhaps if he had paid the £60.00 no further action would have been taken, he would have enjoyed his cheap(er) family holiday in Florida and that would have been the end of it.

It wasn’t.

He didn’t pay the fine and it brought about a lot of back and forth in the Courts about what is ‘regular attendance’. As regular attendance appeared to be the crux of the matter, put very shortly if a child had regular attendance, i.e. over 90% then he argued they should be allowed some time off. Apparently over 90% isn’t that and accordingly to Lady Hale ruling on the case, removing children from school would have a ‘disruptive effect’ in the class.  Essentially therefore regularly now means to ‘attend on all the days and at all the times that a school requires it’.

Meaning, you could  ask for permission from the school to take your child out of school and if it is granted then so be it. Off on your term time holiday you go. If it is not granted your child’s absence will be unauthorised  and therefore failure to attend school will attract a fine and you will be legally required to pay.

school books

I appreciate the  Supreme Court’s sentiment in that there is a difficulty in having a ‘one rule for one and one for another’ approach when it comes to attendance. There may be pupils who do have a near on perfect attendance but equally there will be those who don’t through seemingly no fault of their own. Perhaps they have medical reasons inhibiting their attendance. What would be the right decision in their case? Perhaps a one size fits all is the only fair way to govern such a situation?

I also appreciate that if you are told your child is not allowed those days off then undermining the headteacher or the school doesn’t exactly set the best precedent. Are we not showing are children that if the rules don’t suit, well screw that, we’ll do it anyway? Neither is it fair to expect a teacher to take time out to cover missed work with a pupil or do the necessary to ensure that child has the work they may miss to take with them over their absent period.

As parents we send our children to school to receive an education. It is not up to us to pick and choose when they receive it and it is not up to us to pick and choose what rules we wish to follow. I do believe schooling and a healthy school life for all parties works best with cooperation, from all parties.

I would also point out, I am also the first person to advocate schooling, education and regular (if not perfect, where possible) attendance and honestly don’t  think days off should be given lightly.

Now despite all that, or with all that in mind, I am however the first person to admit, we bloody like a holiday.  I know it does not mean we cannot go on holiday. It does however mean that if we are not granted permission to take our children out of school a few days early, we will be breaking the law and subject to a fine. Alternatively can pay an average of £1,771.00 more for said holiday out of term time. I don’t know about you, but it stings a little.

Some just will not be able to pay it, lets face it we’re not talking small change. What about the flip side here? What about what holidays teach children? The new experiences, new cultures, broaden horizons. The importance of family time, down time, enjoyment. The importance of the break in routine and the daily grind. I feel holidays and travel have a lot to offer young minds too. Dare I say as much as those last two days at the end of term you spend clearing your draw and painting?

girl colouring

I also can’t help but think, what happened to common sense? If my child does have a near on perfect attendance, works well, attains levels they should be, then will a few days toward the end of the term rock the boat that much? Will their schooling future really be down the pan because we wanted an affordable holiday? I am not convinced. If I take my responsibility as a parent to ensure they attend school ‘regularly’, do their homework, that they work to the best ability and I am satisfied that they are so doing ninety odd percent of the academic year, should I not have some say in whether they are able to miss a couple of days, without being labelled a criminal?

I would  point out I am not talking about children who are facing exams. I cannot foresee a situation where I would ever advocate missing school during this period, or even in  the two-year period that is GCSEs.  Neither am I talking about taking them out of school for say an entire week. However my 5-year-old, who might miss two  maybe three days of cutting and sticking…

I would also like a bit more information on what exactly a ‘disruptive effect’ is? I think a little credit should be given to pupils here, are they really going to be disrupted because Sam from science is not there for a few days?

The only thing I will say – a lot of you may be thinking, well ok £60.00 fine  is less than the £1,700.00. Swallow it, take your child out of school and pay the fine, it’s still cheaper. Yes it is but one thing that doesn’t sit well is the fact I would be breaking the law in doing so, I would egally be a ‘criminal’ and that doesn’t feel right.

When it comes to my #whatwouldyoudo series I don’t generally have the answer. I often don’t know. I think however this is one of those rare situations where  I do know what I would do. I am not saying I am right or that I should be agreed with however would also love to know your thoughts, what would you do? Would you take your children out of school during term time?

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23 Comments

  1. This is so tricky isn’t it. I can see why parents do it, but then what if half the other parents did the same and a couple of pupils were out every week across the term? Or if barely anyone turned up for the last couple of days… Like you, it wouldn’t sit right with me to take a child out without permission so I’d simmer with unspoken British resentment of someone else did! Also it’s feels a bit tough on the teacher who had no option but to take their holidays outside of term time when it’s expensive. Parents would scream blue murder of the teacher didn’t show up. I think the problem that the government actually need to address is the blatant price inflating in the holidays! Most travel companies rely on these peak times to make money so an increased cost is inevitable. But some of the increases are frankly insane. There needs to be a rule that a holiday cost can’t be x% more expensive during school holidays than during term time. Or something like that! :) #FamilyFunLinky

  2. April 26, 2017 / 9:14 am

    What has happened to common sense? The world has gone mad. I think the whole thing of fining parents like this is stupid. As someone who had a lot of time of school with illness, I still got a degree so I guess my education worked fine. I don’t think the rest of the class suffered because I wasn’t there and my absence certainly wasn’t a disruptive effect. Parents shouldn’t be ‘criminals’ for taking their children on holiday!
    And yes, I took my children on holiday in term time and they all graduated just fine (yep, even the dyslexic one). If the fine + the term time holiday turns out cheaper than the holiday time one, then do it.
    Sorry, I got a bit ranty.
    #familyfun

  3. April 26, 2017 / 10:45 am

    I like the way you laid out your argument – am I right in thinking your decision is not to take your children out of school for holidays?

    We have just taken our 5 year old out of school for an entire week, the week before the Easter break. She learn to Ski in that week. Now I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty good use of a school week!
    At such a young age I do think a little common sense is needed. My daughter hasn’t had to catch up with anything, and the teacher – to the best of my knowledge has not had a pile of extra work because we took her out of the classroom.

    I will probably do this for the next few years with both of our girls so that they can ski. It just isn’t affordable during the school holidays. Of course secondary school is an entirely different ball game.

    Big love

    #familyfun

  4. April 26, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    Ooo it’s such a tricky one. The problem is that any child missing a lesson takes up a bit of the teacher’s time – e.g. If they miss listening to a story on Monday then they won’t be able to write about it on Tuesday.

    Of course it’s not at all that simple because the amount of time required to enable them to access the lesson when they return depends on what lessons they missed, in what point in the learning cycle ( so if they missed the end of a unit it doesn’t always matter as much as the beginning) It also depends on the child’s ability to pick things up – so in the example of the story, if they could just read it to themselves that’s not a big use of the an adult’s time.

    Unfortunately headteachers are discouraged from using discretion in these cases so a one size fits all situation has developed which doesn’t work either.

    Personally we haven’t (and probably won’t ) take our child out of school except for medical reasons- but I agree that missing the last few days before a holiday is not a great loss to their education!

    That was long sorry!!

    #familyfun

  5. April 26, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Really difficult. If only the government could do something to make it illegal for companies to put their prices up! I wouldn’t want to break the law but I can understand why people do. #familyfunlinky

  6. April 26, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    This is a really tricky one and I liked that your post was looking at both positives and negatives. I’m a teacher and tbh a few days isn’t going to make much difference to a child’s education. However, when a child goes away for longer it really DOES make a difference and it doesn’t matter what their age is (the only exception perhaps is in Reception aged 5) I am also a parent though and I can see the amazing benefits that a family holiday brings especially if this is the only time families can be together due to perhaps a parents job. The money differences are awful and I hate that we are all penalised for having children (or being a teacher) when we have to take holidays in school holidays. Interesting post and I agree with other comments about why can’t it be left to common sense? #familyfunlinky

  7. April 26, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    I would probably take my daughter on a short term-time holiday as long as she had generally good attendance and wasn’t struggling in school. What’s a few days, really? Kids are often off sick for a few days at a time, but still manage to do well in school. #FamilyFun

  8. Claire dobbs
    April 26, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    I have struggled with this one myself and usually wouldn’t condone missing time out of school for a holiday, however we are facing this situation ourselves next year. The circumstances are unforeseen, but we will pay the price both literally and metaphorically I’m sure. We have been invited to attend a wedding next May in California, this a wedding for an old school friend of my husbands and one of his closest friends. He relocated to Ojai a year or so ago to persue a cheffing career with his L.A born girlfriend and while there he decided to stay and they will be getting married outside of school holiday time next year. Now, my son has had an average school attendance of over 95% over his whole school career and I really am struggling with whether these circumstances are considered ” exceptional” and whether or not I can deal with the whole ‘criminal’ label being put on this if I don’t get approval to take him out of school. What do you think? Personally I feel that there are a lot of grey areas and perhaps each case should be considered by a head teacher.

    • Tammymum
      April 26, 2017 / 8:40 pm

      How old is your son? And how long would you be going for? It’s so difficult because to my mind it is exceptional and with such a good attendance I would be minded to take him out (age dependent obvs). The difficulty now is that it is up to the nuance of the school. There is no black and white so you can’t predict the outcome, it is a roll of the dice. If you broach it with the school you run the risk of then saying no and then your options are a rock and a hard place. I happen to be of the opinion that there is lots for son to learn on this trip too. It is a once in a life time and in the long term is it really going to effect your sons education so dramatically? I think if it were me I would probably go regardless, it’s not your average holiday after all is it? I think I would feel worse missing out then the potential repercussions of the school saying no. I THINK anyway. It’s hard to know for sure but I think that’s how I’d feel about it. I totally agree there are lots of get areas and it a case by case approach would be a good thing xx

  9. April 27, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Common sense needs to prevail here and parents should be allowed to choose what their kids do or do not do. I am all for taking kids out of school for holidays, however, this does need to factor in their previous attendance. If my kid had missed a lot of school due to illness then, no I wouldn’t take them out. If they were approaching exams, again no, I wouldn’t. But if a 5-year-old is going to miss out on learning their 3 times table, I highly doubt that’s something they’re subsequently never going to learn in the future. I can see why the courts ruled against this Father, as they need to set a precedence and can’t allow a free for all to any and every parent. The world is going somewhat mad! #coolmumclub

  10. April 27, 2017 / 10:36 am

    As an EXPAT family this is so relevant to us. I did once ask for the boys to be released a day early and it was not allowed! I think this is one symptom of a failing school system where we are forgetting common sense and forgetting what matters (i.e. the kids) and focusing only on results determined by a test! Great post! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  11. April 27, 2017 / 10:41 am

    I think this whole school holiday thing has got totally out of hand. I got taken off school to go on holidays all the time and agree it was a fantastic learning experience. One week is not going to set them off course. I think it’s totally miserly! But I live in fear of the action that could be taken against us if we did. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

  12. April 27, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    As someone whom holidays cheap and in the U.K. Camping and what not i think I’d not be taking my kids out of school in the future. However I do remember those last days of a school term being absolubtly pointless and even as a kid I thought that. Why can’t some people go away, or is that why they have a lax end of term because they anticipated people going somewhere!?

  13. April 27, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I also have many two sided arguments about this whole situation. My number one argument is that I believe the UK school terms are too long, as is the ‘summer’ break. My step-daughter (in the UK) had a 7 week school holiday last year! 7 weeks. Whilst the rest of the year they may get 2 weeks here, 1 week there. It’s ridiculous in my opinion. Thank goodness that she came to us for a month – who can take of 7 weeks to spend with their child on holiday? In contrast, Zimbabwe have 3 terms a year and still follow the GCSE curriculum. They have a long break over Christmas, then 3 terms of around 12 weeks each, with a 3/4 week holiday in between each term. South Africa have 4 terms again with a long break over Christmas, then around 2 to 3 weeks between terms the rest of the year usually over the time when the public holidays are close together like over Easter and August.
    Here’s why I think it works better: 1. The kids get a good rest and break between terms. 2. More frequent holidays mean that the expensive ‘holidays’ are spread out over the year, not everyone can afford 3 or 4 trips away but because they are staggered, the prices are not over-inflated. 3. Too long a holiday makes it very hard for parents to provide adequate supervision of their children (childcare).
    That’s my two cents anyway.
    #familyfun

  14. April 27, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    I don’t have that problem yet but it’s making me quite stressed when I think about it. Sometimes you need to choose the dates when your baby is at school:/
    #FamilyFunLinky

  15. April 28, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    My eldest is in reception and yes we have taken him out of school, only for a couple of extra days, one for going to Center Parcs and the other two coming up are for a wedding we are going too, my husband is best man, and they live a good 4 hour drive away. We received the sorry we cannot authorise this letter, and when I spoke to them, they told me not to worry and that my son had already been marked as absent. I think we have to be able to use common sense, but on the flip side I do understand that some people will take advantage. I think as my son gets older and then our younger one starts school, it will get harder to do. I do wish that travel companies, and holiday places in this country would drop their prices. #ablogginggoodtime

  16. April 28, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    Couldn’t have written this better myself and in order to avoid writing one of my infamous overly long comments, I’ll just say I agree with absolutely everything you’ve said. I think I’ll just have to keep my kids in the International School system where this nonsense with fines doesn’t happen (or at least not where we live…my brother got married a couple of weeks ago and I simply emailed the school to say we were missing the last 3 days of last term and the first 2 of this term. We then missed a third day as everyone was exhausted after the late flight back to Malta from the UK and the school didn’t bat an eye because they know we don’t usually do this.) I guess I lied about the overly long blog comment. Oops. #coolmumclub

  17. April 29, 2017 / 7:13 am

    The nature of my husband’s job mean he is rarely home during school holidays, in fact, last year he was home for one half term and that was it, the rest of the holidays he was stuck on a ship thousands of miles away, so we rarely get chance for a holiday. One year we had just planned a trip away during half term and my husband got called back to sea early (during the half term) so we asked the school and under the circumstances they let us take him out the week before. But he was only six at the time and really didn’t miss anything. We’ve never done it since as it doesn’t sit right with me and I get the impression from school any future requests wouldn’t be granted. That said, I do think it should be allowed. I think kids should be given 5/10 days per school year (never more than 5 together), where they can be absent as long as it’s not at a time that will massively interfere with their learning, such as the start of a new topic or near SATS etc. I can’t remember it ever being a problem when I was kid, all my friends who went on holidays during term time all still did amazingly well in their exams and have great careers.
    #FamilyFun

  18. April 29, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Ah it’s so frustrating. From experience the teachers wind down anyway in the last week or so and thus it may be more educational to go away when it’s cheaper. #FamilyFun

  19. April 29, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    I am so with you on all of this. It really grates on me. This is the first year that it’s affecting us and thankfully – I don’t know how, but I managed to get a really reasonable holiday for the October half term. I can only assume that it’s because I booked it so early. Next year though? I have no idea what we will do!! #familyfun

  20. May 1, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    It really upsets me that we can’t take our daughter away for one week on holiday to something that is good for her. I have problems with anxiety and especially crowds. To get to an airport in the winter months when its quieter is a massive obsticle for me and I don’t think I could go in half term. The thought makes me feel sick. #familyfun

  21. May 3, 2017 / 12:15 pm

    This is such a tough call to make. I can see both sides of the argument but the goody two shoes in me would probably do a non-term time holiday! #familyfun

  22. May 3, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    This is such a tough one! I haven’t done it but would never say never – although I appreciate we can’t all do it because then what? #familyfunlinky