• IndiaLily

Holidays in term time - yay or nay?

Updated: Jul 15

Taking students out of school could have an effect on their results, but surely if they’re doing well and not in the “hard-core” years then it's fine?

Jon Platt made the news recently when he took his children out of school in term time to go on a family holiday to Florida. He was initially given a fine of £60, but after refusing to pay, the amount doubled before he went to court with his case, and won.

He was “adamant” that he had done nothing wrong, and argued that Section 444 of the Education Act required parents to make sure their children attended school “regularly”. Nowhere in the statement does it mention restrictions on term time holidays.

This topic will raise opinions from parents, as well as students. I went on holiday during term time up until a certain age, and I think this is the point that must be made; age really does matter in these situations.

The age of his children ranged from six to ten, which I personally feel is more than young enough to miss some time off school. The children all had a good attendance figure, which lead Platt to feel comfortable with their temporary absence.

He argued: “My children are doing well, their exam results are outstanding, because they attend regularly and if they were missing school for other reasons, they wouldn't be going on holiday.”

If students work hard all year round, it shouldn’t then be that their parents are punished with a bill for a holiday that doubles between the weeks of term and school holidays.

Where I grew up, ‘The Yorkshire Show’ was three days of the year that teachers didn’t seem to care when kids were missing. Do I think they needed to be at the show for three full days…no, but that didn’t stop it becoming a regular joke every year that class sizes would nearly half because of the show. Why so relaxed in this situation, but a threatening letter if a couple more days were missed because of a family holiday?

I always attended school regularly, which meant that until the age of 14, we would have a week off school to go away, the prices of flights rocketed otherwise, which meant it was a no brainer. However, once I was into year nine I was taking exams, so the holidays had to move to school holiday times (it was that or leave me behind...I’m glad they didn’t choose the latter!)

Two things need to be looked at individually, the age of the child and their attendance the rest of the year. If both these questions can be answered positively then go for it- save a few hundred on flights with a potential telling off from school after… but it will be worth it.

As Platt proved, there are no set rules against term time holidays so make the most of it while they’re young.


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