Schools, Children and Holidays – What would you do?
The debate over whether it is wrong to take children out of school during term time to take them on holiday is one that raises its head every year and so it’s no surprise that it is currently being discussed again.
I admit to having sympathy with teachers who finds themselves at the mercy of parents or guardians who decide that the family holiday comes first and the disruptive effect it has on the learning and teaching of the children involved.
On the other hand of course holidays, and especially if children are being taken somewhere away from the area they live are a great experience and arguably a learning experience.
I’m not talking about ‘learning’ as in dragging the kids off to art galleries or museums though they are valuable, but the learning that is gained from having new experiences.
It is also an opportunity for families to be together which something is that unfortunately is becoming increasingly difficult because of the problems brought about by the current economic strains on family life.
It is why given that holidays ‘out of season ‘ are very much cheaper than when ‘in season’ it is understandable that parents will take advantage.
The questions are will taking children out of school for 2 weeks really affect their long-term learning, and of course will a £60 fine to the parents really make any difference.
When the Department of Education sat down to draw up the changes to legislation which makes it possible under the attendance regulations to fine parents £60 what were they thinking about?
Head teachers already work with their staff and parents to maximise the time children are in school and at least all of those I know are really committed to encouraging parents to make sure their children attend school.
The almost certain impact will be an increase in “unauthorised” absence because Headteachers will be reluctant to authorise absence which will in turn create a confrontational situation.
The reduction from 4 weeks to 3 weeks in the time parents have to pay fines according to the Department of Education is to allow for ‘prosecutions’ to be brought forward.
are we now going to see parents lined up to attend court?
and if so what impact will it have on children who will know that ‘mum and dad are in court for taking them on holiday’.
Talk about laying a guilt trip on kids.
The other problem of course is if parents have more than one child at a school, do they get fined £60/child? and if so would the parents face two prosecution charges and have to go to court twice?
Of course what it will encourage is a rise in “mysterious illnesses” that will by coincidence coincide with a pre booked holiday.
I suspect that what will happen is that common sense will prevail and Head teachers will authorise absences under some form of continuing ‘special circumstances’ and the legislation changes will be shown up to be not only impractical but unenforceable.
I can’t help wondering how many of the highly paid officials and MPs who have made the decision send their children to a state school and if they do just where the schools are situated?
If you’re a parent with children at an inner city school what would you do?