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Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
qwertyuiop7 wrote:
Thornyhill wrote:
Price difference between half term and low season is minimal. We only go low season because it is less crowded.


Sorry but thats just not true,
Your fuel, tolls, food, lift pass, ski hire and lessons are the same price when ever you go.
But you will pay atleast 50% more for your flights or ferry and your apartment will be more than double.
We go to Saint Foy in early march each year, the apartment which we book direct with tthe owner is around £800 for the week, the same one in february is £2200!!


flights are generally the same price for us - type of apartment may be different - no frills, 4 beds, clean and warm suits us. £250 low season, £450 peak. That is £50.00 a head. Possibly around 10% of the total cost. Going with TO the increase would be more like 100%



edit - Like Boris, it usually involves converting the sofa bed, but we don't go to have a comfy bed and room service. We go to ski. The cheaper it is, the more often we can go Smile
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

if you are given no choice about your time off, and it's in term time, then that's a jolly good reason to take the kids out of school, I'd say.


Agreed - will be interested to see how schools react on this. Ours have already indicated that this is not considered to be "exceptional circumstances"
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
In my young day.... being able to have a family holiday, when parental leave time was restricted, was regarded as something akin to a basic human right. My dad always used to argue that with a small team of senior managers it wasn't possible for all to have their fortnight's summer holiday in the 6 week school holiday period. He therefore would make the sacrifice of having his holiday in late June or early July rolling eyes which meant that I had to make the sacrifice of missing two weeks of school, sometimes school exam time. I remember the headmistress's face on one occasion, looking at me over the top of her glasses, and saying "but you will do your revision, won't you?". "Oh yes", I replied. And at the time I really meant it....

My dad genuinely was allergic - or more accurately averse - to crowds and traffic (although the latter was much less of a problem than it is now). Our family never, ever, went anywhere on bank holidays. Ski holidays, or any kind of package holidays, were nowhere on the radar but even camping was too busy for his liking in the school hols. I think I have inherited some of his aversion. when I hear tales of people queuing for an hour or more for rides at a theme park, or to get out of a multi-storey car park after a big concert, or see pictures of crowded beaches with hardly room to walk between the towels and umbrellas, I just think "Why?". I live in a lovely location and would prefer to stay local. and when I lived in or near London there was never a problem getting on a bus and finding somewhere good to take a walk. I am lucky to be able to avoid lift queues but I really think that if half term were the only ski-holiday option for me I'd give up downhill skiing. Could still get out into the mountains and snow - cross-country skiing is a great option suitable for families but not one which often occurs to the Brits. Seeing enthusiastic and very skilful youngsters on XC skis is one of my winter pleasures. Slim, muscular and beautifully balanced, showing off with jumps and twirls and trying to knock each other over. Much cheaper, no lift queues. More than enough challenge if you get away from the dreaded flat valley circuits.
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pam w wrote:
More than enough challenge if you get away from the dreaded flat valley circuits.


probably too much challenge for most UK holiday skiers - downhills on XC gear are terrifying to a relative novice.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
fatbob, but they don't need to start on significant hills - they can take lessons which will start in suitable spots, just like downhill lessons do. After all, a gentle blue run is terrifying when you first start downhill skiing. But having the challenge keeps kids interested - in Les Saisies there is a little XC "fun park" with bridges and obstacles (which I find terrifying!) and a drag lift so it's not too much of a slog.
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Just had formal notice of this from my daughters current school (which she won't be in come Sept) but they have at least given what in the past has been defined as exceptional circumstances, they then go on to say that the policy has change with respect to issuing penalty notices (fines) to parents / carers "who fail to ensure their child's regular attendance at school"
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
NickyJ, but see the Hampshire document I linked to above - there are a lot of steps to go through before there is any question of a fine. No need to panic. wink
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
pam w, not panicking, honestly. We are booked for Easter hols next year. I have been researching during this last season best ways to make affordable School holidays skiing holidays for the next year and have a Plan of attack ready. Happy

The families I see this impacting most are those new to the sport thinking of taking their families. They will (in most cases) look to TO's for package deals and could so easily be put completely of it all together due to price. They almost certainly feel daunted by something so new so not be confident to take the DIY approach I wil be using. Which I feel is a real real shame for the sport in the long run.
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We've just had permission from our Hampshire School headmistress to take our son (year 10) out for two weeks tacked on to the Christmas break. She agreed that our planned trip to visit relatives in Aus was indeed an exceptional circumstance. It was probably helped by the killer letter I sent outlining the educational advantages of such an experience.

NickyJ, have a look at this website www.ski.sunweb.co.uk we've just booked for next half term self catering at £329 per head including lift pass, 6 people in an apartment that will sleep 10, in what looks to be a decent ski area too (Les Sybelles). It would appear to be very French, but to be honest, that's what we like.
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Thanks I saw your other post and was looking at it earlier it does look good. I can't help worrying it is too good to be true (I am so paranoid aren't I?)
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
New petition available if interested https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/45247
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Signed, thanks Boris.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
How many do we have to sign to get noticed?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I have signed because as a general principal I agree, it but I think it's too loosely worded

IE Give parents the right to take their child on holiday in term time if the holiday would benefit the child.

My child would benefit being taken out of school for a holiday as it is cheaper and therefore he could get more pocket money
My child would beneift being taken out of school because he is a bit tired and needs a rest

I could go on.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ansta1, on the child is tired one I have heard of parents doing just that (though phoning them in sick) I also know of parents who were withholding their child as there was a sickness but going round and the didnt want hem to catch it. I wouldn't dream of doing that (sadly she did catch it and got sent home).
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Out of interest, there is another Petition which is doing the rounds

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/reverse-the-changes-to-school-term-time-family-holiday-rules
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
This started with this

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/behaviour/a00208164/taylor-review

report from Charlie Taylor, which for no particular reason, recommended banning such holidays.

On mad Planet Gove it was decided to legislate to that effect.

Schools are not to blame for this and most heads probably do not agree with it and are aware it will likely mean children returning to school from illness with suntans.

The Government response to this petition

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49640

makes clear that a family holiday is not acceptable reason for absence - "There are 190 days in a school year and enough opportunities during school breaks for parents to plan their holidays".

As far as lunatic Gove is concerned, family holidays are not exceptional and can therefore not be a legitimate reason for absence.

There is tiny amount of wriggle room as 'exceptional' is undefined but this

http://www.education.gov.uk/popularquestions/a005551/can-i-take-my-child-on-holiday-in-term-time?

says "This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday". Perhaps a visit to Australia might just be permissible but I would expect it to be rejected as a valid reason by the local authority - if a head has accepted such a reason then the local authority might be having a talk with the head.

So all, or very nearly all, family holiday absences will have to be marked as unauthorised by the school. It is then for the local authority, specifically the Education Welfare Officer, to decide on what, if any, action will be taken. That could amount to none at all where children otherwise have a good attendance record.

In any case, as others have said, it is much cheaper to accept the fine and go away during term time than to pay the higher costs of break time holidays.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My nephew has just taken his family on holiday for 2 weeks and said he will pay the fine as it still works out cheaper than paying the extortionate mark up that the tour operators squeeze out of people who stick to the law. Fine for him is £120, going in school holidays on the same trip an extra £2000. Both his children have 100% attendance records but he school said no when asked for time off. He sees it as a bargin and to be honest, I don't blame him.
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Samerberg Sue wrote:
My nephew has just taken his family on holiday for 2 weeks and said he will pay the fine as it still works out cheaper than paying the extortionate mark up that the tour operators squeeze out of people who stick to the law. Fine for him is £120, going in school holidays on the same trip an extra £2000. Both his children have 100% attendance records but he school said no when asked for time off. He sees it as a bargin and to be honest, I don't blame him.


and i think that is the issue that needs to be sorted. I fully understand supply/demand but it is just completely out of proportion to add 50% on becausr its the school holiday.
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Quote:

it is just completely out of proportion to add 50% on becausr its the school holiday.

or discount a holiday by 50% when its not school holidays and the price has to be low enough to fill beds? At the end of the day the tourist industry is just reacting to demand and supply.

Cost aside; I wonder is its actually going to be feasibly possible for parents only to take holidays in school holidays - it will put a strain on businesses if so many employees try to head to the sun in the six week summer hols
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
Quote:

it is just completely out of proportion to add 50% on becausr its the school holiday.

or discount a holiday by 50% when its not school holidays and the price has to be low enough to fill beds? At the end of the day the tourist industry is just reacting to demand and supply.

Cost aside; I wonder is its actually going to be feasibly possible for parents only to take holidays in school holidays - it will put a strain on businesses if so many employees try to head to the sun in the six week summer hols


good point, but i suspect they are loading the price more than discounting the price. I have no specific evidence to that effect but as an example (not skiing)

centerparcs...

you pay nearly 50% less for holidays in term time, yet they are always just as busy. I seem to recall they run at something like 90-95% full for most weeks.


and flights

The plane is booked as are the cabin crew, but because its a school holiday we will charge 5 times the normal price. Fuel isnt anymore expensive, neither are the staff costs and i suspect very strongly that landing and airport fees arrent any higher or lower depending on what time of the school year it is or isnt.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

I fully understand supply/demand but it is just completely out of proportion to add 50% on becausr its the school holiday

Sorry, but you don't understand supply/demand at all. If the demand is such that you can sell holidays for 50% more, why wouldn't you?

The daftest thing yet is the suggestion that schools should set their own term times. In my daughter's family, with two teachers and two children, all four of them could end up with different holidays - and teachers have no possibility of taking term-time holidays. They live right on the county (educational authority) border and kids can easily end up in either authority, as can teachers.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
What annoys me is that in addition to the 4 days 'training days' that a school can schedule when it likes schools also do what our secondary school does. Often on the last day of term - NOT a training day. They will opt to close the school at lunchtime on the last day, effectively losing over 1000 school days (given the number of kids in school) and as parents we have no come-back on this at all - it's something that the school just opts to do across the board. Yet if I ask for one day, in an otherwise 100% attendance year to leave for holiday early and miss the busy roads I will be turned down.
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I can also see the number of unauthorised absences going through the roof in the coming years. The problem with the unauthorised absences is that I would still like a mechanism that would enable me to tell the school that my kids are safe and are with me. Despite trying to to do this and emailing the absence officer last year telling her which day we would be out of school for I still got a text message saying that my daughter's absence had been noted and no phone call had been received by the school that morning.
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Quote:

Despite trying to to do this and emailing the absence officer last year telling her which day we would be out of school for I still got a text message saying that my daughter's absence had been noted and no phone call had been received by the school that morning.


then you need to speak to your school about the failure in their system
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What has changed since my school days? Pretty sure I was never allowed time off during term time (except for sickness) yet I went on a family holiday every year and the school skiing trip. Was it just less of a rip-off back then?

There's always issues at work with ballots between the colleagues with school-aged children for time off during school holidays, since only one person in each department can be off. It means people like me without children can never have school holidays off, but the bonus is there's less competition for the dates I want.

Personally I would prefer it if there weren't families with school-aged kids about when I am on holiday, it can make my holiday experience less pleasant (obviously well behaved children and parents are fine, but somehow I often get lumped with noisy brats with sanctimonious parents). But obviously I understand the financial reasons for doing it.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
queen bodecia, what has changed is it used to be upto the head teacher to authorise term time absences, now they are no longer allowed to do so.
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Megamum wrote:

and as parents we have no come-back on this at all

You do if you want it...talk to the Head, or join the school's governing body and get involved in the decision making process yourself. Although if you do, be prepared to end up coming round to the opinion that taking your children out of school during term time is extremely bad for the school and generally pretty selfish.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ChrisWo,
Quote:

Although if you do, be prepared to end up coming round to the opinion that taking your children out of school during term time is extremely bad for the school and generally pretty selfish.


In a free and open society the general idea is that the state and its institutions are meant to serve the individual and his/her needs not the individual the state. Whereas one should not be disadvantaging others the idea that the occasional holiday does so is a little absurd.

I am glad my children have been schooled in a rather less draconian environment than seems to be being introduced in England now.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
my yongest' primary is closing at 11.30 one day this week so all the staff can attend a former staff members funeral, and of course they will all be on strike before long....
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
T Bar wrote:

In a free and open society the general idea is that the state and its institutions are meant to serve the individual

Actually I'm afraid I disagree. The state and its institutions are supposed to serve society. And the key point is that society has different needs and different optimal solutions to the individual. Part of the price you pay for living in a society is giving up a small amount of individual freedom...this is an example of one of those freedoms. All of which is not to say whether holidays out of school holidays should be a freedom that is given up, just that you as an individual should not expect the state to do everything that you want.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ChrisWo,
I don't expect the state to do everything I want, just not to produce a vindictive fine because some attendance target is not met.
Family time is important including holiday time and not everyone can always take holidays simultaneously.

I did take my children out of school on occasions for holidays with full permission from the headmaster, I was not always able to take school holidays. As the school has an excellent academic record it is hard to see that anyone was disadvantaged by this.

The current system appears to punish people in my situation, whereas I value education highly I put a happy family life above even that.

Society by the way is made up of individuals.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ansta1, my school did exactly the same - and boy was I annoyed. It's fine when the school deams they don't want to teach the kids, but not when I want one kid out for one day Evil or Very Mad . There are over 2000 kids in our secondary school - how many days education were lost just so that teachers could attend a funeral?
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ChrisWo,

Quote:

You do if you want it...talk to the Head, or join the school's governing body and get involved in the decision making process yourself. Although if you do, be prepared to end up coming round to the opinion that taking your children out of school during term time is extremely bad for the school and generally pretty selfish.



I suggest you lose the 'how mighty am I' attitude and ask before you assume!

I am a school Governor and have been so for the last three years - I know more than a bit about the process, and I still say it is unfair and un-necessary - school heads should still be given the option and some guidance and should be allowed to make decisions on a case by case basis taking into account overall attendance, achievement and underlying family situations. Families are individuals and I will say it again a 'one size fits all' policy is unfair and un-necessary. We are rapidly moving from a democracy to a dictatorship with things like this. School heads can think for themselves and IME are quite capable of of making a case by case decision. A process which would really encourage better attendance IMO, if it was stated that X days would be considered for pupils with Y attendance overall.
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ChrisWo wrote:
...... Although if you do, be prepared to end up coming round to the opinion that taking your children out of school during term time is extremely bad for the school and generally pretty selfish.


How is it bad for the school and selfish, other than for attendance records?
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Quote:

is extremely bad for the school


Hmmmm..................Not the 'students'? Confused
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In fact in terms of school statistics I think school heads will just see an increase in unauthorised absences? Personally I think this is a less desirable statistic than authorised absences.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
ChrisWo, BTW. I am currently going out of my way to ensure that my kids get the best possible education I can possibly get for them and this is inconveniencing me in all sorts of ways. I am a mother who has driven through 5 miles of icy, snowy conditions as the bus didn't turn up to drop my kids at school only to receive a text message at 08:50 telling me that the school was closed because of snow. I find your insinuation that my wish to take my child out of school for a days or two authorised holiday is 'selfish' to be quite insulting!!
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Megamum, Mr Gove doesn't seem to believe in leaving anything to Heads - he must be the most dirigiste Secretary of State for education there's been for years. How he fits into a government which is supposed to be "rolling back the state", goodness only knows.
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Megamum
Quote:
Personally I think this is a less desirable statistic than authorised absences.

Why? Unauthorised or authorised are just numbers on a bit of paper/computer. What is meaningful is whether the little darlings have their bums on their school seats on the days they should. Whether this equates to a good, rounded education is neither here nor there, it seems, so long as the stats are there.
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