As a blogger there are certain opportunities that come up from time to time where I am lucky enough to be offered a chance to take the family away or on a day trip of some fashion. Consider it a perk of the job, but with it comes a certain date and time frame, just like any other job. More often than not a client would ask you to take the opportunity during a less busy period for them – it makes sense and often gives you more chance to enjoy the holiday or day trip without a huge amount of crowds whilst you are trying to grab photos.
This means taking holiday during school time.
Now, it is by no means a “blogger thing”, rather a parent thing, but it’s one that really grinds my gears. Earlier in the year we took Reuben out of school for a family trip to Center Parcs. I have to say Reuben’s school seem to be excellent with regards to holiday, especially when I compare their attitude towards friend’s schools. Still, regulations are regulations and we put in a holiday request, which is required from the term after your child turns 5. What gets me wound up is, why am I requesting permission to take my child out of school, but I don’t have to request permission to take him out of school altogether?
A couple of friends took a trip with their two little ones a few months back. Their daughter had just turned 5, an age where no fundamental coursework or exams could possibly be a factor, yet they were denied the right to take their child on holiday during term time, a holiday that was to see family members in Australia who they hadn’t seen for over 2 years. They had to pay a fine and a black mark was put against their child, noting that there was “unauthorised” absence.
What is with that?
Look, I get it, some people are totally irresponsible and would think nothing to hoisting a 15 year old in the middle of GCSEs out of school to take a family holiday to Benidorm for a week, but at 5 years old? What could they possibly be missing that is so vital two weeks will make a difference? Nothing. It’s a nanny state complex that has been introduced as a money making scheme by government.
In addition to this, I have a friend who was fined for taking her daughter out of school for a family trip to Portugal. During this two week family holiday she took her girls to museums, aquariums, beach trips and other cultural experiences that they simply wouldn’t have here… Yet it was considered a break in their education and worthy of a fine. No. Just no. This was further accentuated when one of the girls was sent home with a request to visit Pizza Hut for a “celebratory” end of term lunch. During a school day!
Someone draw the comparison for me there between taking time out to further your social and cultural education, build quality relationships with family members and a trip to Pizza Hut with your friends… What on earth is wrong with this system?
As far as my teacher friends go, I have a mixed bag though the majority lean towards thinking it is a ludicrous policy (the only one that doesn’t is rather laughably a primary school teacher, who works with year 1 children and sees absence as a nuisance because her planning could be disrupted.). After discussing it with them it further emphasises to me how this attitude suits no one, and is in no way productive to the parent/school relationship. It is also heavily biased towards people with a higher income too – what is £60 PER PARENT, PER CHILD when you are spending £5,000? A lot to some people, not much to others. It’s biased and unfair to those who have to scrim and scrape to make the holiday viable in the first place, not to mention to parents of multiple children.
We try our hardest to be respectful of the fact that teachers do have enough on their plates already, and ask what they will be missing and if there is anyway they can let me know where I can download some materials OR we buy them some work books and get them to continue reading, practising maths and writing. As I said, at this stage, those really are the things that they are missing out on and NO ONE will ever convince me that it’s necessary for any child to have 100% attendance. It’s not always about putting more work on to already over stretched teaching staff, but about working together and taking responsibility for the fact that you need to get your kiddo caught up.
What are your thoughts? Have you been caught out by this or had any issues with taking your children out of school? Do you think it’s fair?