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Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pam w, Unfortunately I believe you are right. I don't hold the Heads and the schools responsible for this decision, they are just the poor sods who are going to have to deal with the irate parents. The fact remains that school Heads can and indeed were making decent decisions on this last year and for many years previously. If Gove thinks this is some sort of magic bullet which is going to up the academic standards in the UK in three years time I think he is mistaken. It will penalise parents like myself (and there are millions of decent parents out there that try and do the right thing), and it won't make the slightest bit of difference to the people out there that should never have had kids because they don't care one iota whether they are in school in not and they won't bat an eyelid that a policy has been implemented.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sun 15-09-13 23:46; edited 1 time in total
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Quote:

so long as the stats are there


maggi, precisely, stats have overtaken educational standards IMO. Perhaps every child in school needs to study double stats - at least it sounds like there might be jobs for them rolling eyes
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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?
Megamum wrote:
they are just the poor sods who are going to have to deal with the irrate parents.




Why get irate? Tell the school you are going, go, come back and make sure the kids catch up in a few days. I can appreciate how this might be difficult for people without an education but I'm guessing that most people who can afford to pay for a family ski trip will generally have enough education to bring the kids up to speed in most subjects.
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Thornyhill, I do better than that. My diligent kids even do work whilst they are away. Daughter last year came back with a lovely diary all written in French, with illlustrations that was shown all over the school by her French teacher as a superb piece of work. She had spent every evening doing it whilst away - many hours of work in exchange for one days un-authorised leave that technically I could have been fined for. It's the double standards which make me mad - I want to do the right thing, yet Gove is telling me I can't.
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Megamum, We used to ask the teachers what they would be doing that week and make sure the kids came back having covered the material. Sadly the teachers will get in trouble now for for assisting us with unauthorised absences.
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Megamum wrote:
Quote:

is extremely bad for the school


Hmmmm..................Not the 'students'? Confused


Yep. I picked my words deliberately - I can well believe that taking a child out of school for a period can be far more beneficial for the child than staying at school (especially if we're talking about the last day or two of term). But if everyone does it then it can have pretty bad consequences for the school in terms of their attendance figures, which in turn can affect the school's OFSTED performance, reputation and ability to retain good staff. Most of the effects aren't going to be felt by the child in question, but by those who come later.

Clearly one day's lost absence isn't going to lead to a failing school, but the problem is that if everyone did the same then the school would suffer - it's a little bit like immunisation programs, in the sense that individually there's no real need to immunise your child (and if there's even any hint of risk to the injection then it seems sensible to turn it down) but if too many people take the 'rational' (and 'selfish') choice then everyone suffers (sometimes substantially).

As a relatively disinterested observer, I can understand people's frustration with a school closing half a day early and doing nothing useful with the kids on the half day they are in. At the same time, I don't think that taking the kids out of school on that day is the answer - it would be much better for the school to open for the full day (and potentially do something educationally useful). And I think taking kids out of school at any other time (particularly for longer than a day) is pretty difficult to justify. Although FWIW I think mandating the use of the penalty scheme is a ludicrous (and probably counter-productive) thing to do, and Micheal Gove is a menace.

Megamum wrote:

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!!


I'm sorry you feel like that, but I think you should think about it again. Don't misunderstand me, being a selfish act doesn't necessarily mean it's a terrible thing...I'm saying that you've chosen something that you think is right for your kids over something that is right for the school - that's the basic definition of selfish (and a choice that many would make in the same circumstances). I'm not criticising you for it, I'm just saying that it is fundamentally an act that's designed to achieve your own aims over the aims of the school (which include having an attendance of over 95% or whatever the target is). Whether you're insulted by that or not is really up to you, but given you're a governor I 'd be a bit surprised if you didn't feel that putting your own needs above those of the school was an uncomfortable choice.

Megamum wrote:

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


Then I apologise for assuming you weren't, and thank you for donating your time to what is often a pretty thankless task. I certainly didn't intend to come across with any kind of attitude. I'm just fed up with people complaining about something without actually thinking about what they can do to change it. As an aside (and one that I'm genuinely really interested in the answer to), do you have any difficulty reconciling your position as a governor with the act of taking your kids out of school during term time (or get any stick from other parents for it)?
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ChrisWo, good post. I hadn't really thought about it in those terms. What happens to attendance figures and OFSTED ratings when the school decides to close for the day because there is 2mm of snow on the ground? I could never really understand it, but from what you say it might be an attempt to avoid having a day where only half the pupils show up. Would public transport no-show still count as unauthorised absence?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thornyhill, the schools' hands are tied by the advice they get from Health & Safety, they have clear terms they have to stick to which are largely drawn up by legal experts to limit the possibility of a school or authortiy being sued about any accidents that may occur. When the absences are a result of external forces such as public transport strikes (I used to work in a school where more than 75% of the pupils were bussed in), then they are noted as such. It is not just the decision of the Head teacher that causes a school to close that's why it is often late notification. An individual is easy to criticise but more often than not it is the system that causes the irregularities and inconsistencies, in education this is particularly true. Plus it is an easy target for both politicians and media to blame directly or indirectly for the "ills of society". While a single family unit may be inconvenienced by the choice of training day date, the school has to plan them often more than a year in advance and submit these plans for approval by the local authority. It is not as clear cut as people think, I know my head tried to organise as many of our B-Days for the first or last day of term, but it is not always possible.

As to the complaint about the loss of half a day while staff AND pupils attend the funeral of an obviously well-loved member of staff, that shows what a close community the school is and is to be praised rather than complained about. When we lost our head of maths due to cancer three weeks after it was diagnosed, we shut the whole school for the day and bussed the students to the cathedral where the funeral service had to take place as his parish church was too small to cope. Those who did not want to attend were supervised by some parents and ancillary staff and had a programme of sports and other entertainments. If I remember correctly we had more volunteers left in the school than pupils. Most wanted to be able to go and pay their respects to him and show support for his family.
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Just passing through.

When I saw this, I started clapping...

ChrisWo wrote:
.... and Micheal Gove is a menace.


Then when I read this, I stood up and started cheering (to the tune of Land of Hope n Glory)...

ChrisWo wrote:
... I'm just fed up with people complaining about something without actually thinking about what they can do to change it.


carry on...baah!
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Quote:

do you have any difficulty reconciling your position as a governor with the act of taking your kids out of school during term time (or get any stick from other parents for it)?



None whatsoever, in fact I am a parent Governor - I feel that it is my job to represent the views that parents might have to decisions that the Governing board are making - this might, and often does, mean that I question decisions that the Governing board may wish to make. I believe that my position is not best served by blindly allowing the Governing board to take decisions which might be driven by concerns about statistics and OFSTED without saying 'that might not be popular - is there a way we can achieve X without alientating the people that help us get there'. It is my experience that you get best results by encouraging 'buy-in' from all interested parties. So, in the current situation, if you want good attendance then I think a suggestion which rewards good attendance, but allows common sense latitude is one that parents would find more acceptable than one which places a immovable dictatorship on pupil attendance. We had good attendance, but our own Head in the last couple of years had really pushed the issue and got excellent attendance whilst still being able to offer parents a common sense approach to sensible requests for holiday. Gove has now taken that right away from our Head and as a Governor I don't think that is fair on a school and I think it could backfire as there will still be parents, myself included who will take their kids out for odd days whether we are allowed to or not. I would sooner Gove had allowed me to work with the Head's for the day or so that I want, I would still like to be able to tell the school that my kids won't be in for a day, but they are safe, with me and doing something productive (which holidays often are), I would like the school to be able to say 'that is fine, in exchange please get the kids to catch up with X, Y, Z'. It all makes such a lot of sense, but Gove has removed that right from Heads. I just hope some of them aren't frightened to sign petitions and make a noise through the appropriate channels and say 'we are grown-ups and can make these decisions ourselves' as this might be the only way things will change. I am a parent first and a Governor second, I would rather be allowed a situation where I can support both, but if Gove won't officially let me, I will still do what I think is fair. If the school doesn't want me as a Governor because of that then I will happily leave.
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NB.

Quote:

over something that is right for the school


I wonder how many Heads feel having the right to make their own decisions removed is right for their school Puzzled
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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.
Quote:

As to the complaint about the loss of half a day while staff AND pupils


Firstly it wasn't a complaint, but an observation that individuals in schools can and do make choices about 'non learning days' the teacher concerned was a former teacher to my eldest who is now in secondary school,and no pupils are going not that it is particularly relevant.

As a further example of my first point, not that really feel the need to make a further one, my eldest has a letter about a school trip to see the England Netball team. This will be an all day trip and is sold on the premise of (amongst other statements)

"The students will be able to see how a dynamic sport and team at the highest level are played"
"They will get to see how fast paced the game is and how the passes and shooting come together"

Seems to me that it is an excuse for the PE faculty to have a jolly day out.

And for the record taking the kids out of school is a moot point as Mrs Ansta1 is a secondary maths teacher.
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Quote:

As a further example of my first point, not that really feel the need to make a further one, my eldest has a letter about a school trip to see the England Netball team. This will be an all day trip and is sold on the premise of (amongst other statements)



"The students will be able to see how a dynamic sport and team at the highest level are played"

"They will get to see how fast paced the game is and how the passes and shooting come together"


ansta1,+1 I'm def. on your side with your sentiments. Don't get me started on the amount of time that I see 'lost' to things like this. If your eldest is not particularly into PE, I would think their time would be better spent in school doing curriculum things for the day. The problem with trips organised, particularly in smaller schools is that if most of the kids go then any kids whose parents think the trip is worthless and perhaps don't sign, end up with a practically lost day because there is no-one left at the school to deliver a full lesson timetable anyway. The child then feels left out because they are not off on the 'jolly' too.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I remember one form outing which sounded very dull - a coach trip to the Brecon Beacons (which I loved) but without doing a hill walk. Seemed pointless to me. It wasn't very expensive but my parents were not well off so I didn't even ask them - as I knew they'd have paid up. I thought if they were going to shell out any dosh it should be for something I actually wanted to do.

My form teacher was a very sweet lady and spoke to me very discreetly saying she wanted us all to go and if it was difficult for my parents she'd pay herself. So needless to say I asked my Mum and she paid.
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pam w, +1 I think it puts a huge amount of pressure on parents to say 'yes'. Not every parent either qualifies for financial support or wants to be seen to be asking for it, and I am sure many parents cough up cash that they would rather not have done rather than be seen as not able to do so so that their kids aren't seen as not able to go on trips. Whereas if the schools never offered the trips the parents wouldn't be in that situation in the first place. Our primary school offers a Yr 6 trip that costs about £250+ by the time spending money is concerned I reckon thats equates to around (ball park figures) 30 parents ending up £9000 collectively out of pocket which wouldn't be the case if the trip wasn't offered. That's £9000 taken out of the local economy and out of parents pockets that needn't be the case. I personally don't feel that the gains are worth the expense in many cases. I also know that I will now be shouted down by loads on SH's that don't agree with me as we've done this before, but I am entitled to my opinion. Neither of my kids went on said trip and were ones of only a couple in the class that didn't. The pressure on me to comply, spend cash I didn't want to spend and let my kids go on the trip was huge and I hold the school fully accountable for putting me in that horrid situation. My kids do wonderfully out of me with several foreign holidays and expensive trips each year yet, I am made to feel like a bad parent just because the school sees fit to offer a trip that every child in the school could easily manage without and wouldn't even notice the absence of if the opportunity had never been proposed - its not on IMO.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If you booked ski school for your little darlings and some of the kids in the class missed day 2 and 3, would you mind if the class was repeated to allow them to catch up with your children?

Being a middle class Middle Englander does not give you special rights. Either take the kids out without permission or quit moaning. Teachers need training days, and I assume you get notice of these?
Schools close in snow for logistical and H&S reasons.
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Quote:

I assume you get notice of these?


We do I call them 'Baker's days' - yes they are the so called 'training days'

Quote:

Schools close in snow for logistical and H&S reasons.



So they tell us

That doesn't account for the regular half day closing at the end of term that is not a training day, or on the schedule, or one of these days that schools get to slot into the curriculum for training. 1000+ lost school days every time one of those happens!

Quote:

If you booked ski school for your little darlings and some of the kids in the class missed day 2 and 3, would you mind if the class was repeated to allow them to catch up with your children?


I don't think any of us have suggested that they should Puzzled
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Being a middle class Middle Englander does not give you special rights


Well it darn well should and any political party which mentions this will win by a landslide.
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The official line on snow:

The contentious issue of school attendance - which is inspected by Ofsted - isn't part of the equation, according to the DfE, which says head teachers should not be worried about the impact that remaining open might have on their attendance statistics. Before 2010, pupils who did not turn up to school in extreme weather had to be marked down as absent, which wasn't the case if the school shut. But the DfE says the department amended regulations in September 2010, allowing the school to use the attendance code Y - which does not affect attendance statistics - when a pupil cannot get in because of severe weather. However if the head teacher believes that a child could have got to school, then the child should be recorded as code O - an unauthorised absence, it says.

Other vaguely interesting things here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21119186
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Quote:

If you booked ski school for your little darlings and some of the kids in the class missed day 2 and 3, would you mind if the class was repeated to allow them to catch up with your children?


I don't think any of us have suggested that they should Puzzled[/quote]

I was not aiming any of this at you personally, but if kids miss school they miss lessons is it fair that my daughters Mogadishu and Croydon to have to spend double time on some lessons. I am sure you get yous to homework on holiday , but most parents would not. This could be repeated through the year , all the Tabithas, Isabelle's and Hugos disrupting the term after Christmas , around half term and Easter?

Then all the jaydons, chanellls and gary-deans, leaving for magalouf before the end of year is finished.

You must see it disrupts the kids.

Better off dumping them with grand parents and go skiing without them.
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Quote:

You must see it disrupts the kids

Only if the parents don't care enough to prevent it.

The thing is it won't stop things like truancy - the focus is wrong. Those it will impact are probably those with the lower levels of lesson skipping in the first place - just a few days holiday in a single year - it won't impact on those who never care enough to make sure their kids are normally in school anyway IMO. Even with 5 days authorised holiday absence most kids will still have a higher percnetage attendance than those who constantly play truant. Something to target truancy would probably have change overall school attendance levels far more than just cancelling a few days holiday IMO.
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Megamum wrote:
Quote:

You must see it disrupts the kids

Only if the parents don't care enough to prevent it.

The thing is it won't stop things like truancy - the focus is wrong. Those it will impact are probably those with the lower levels of lesson skipping in the first place - just a few days holiday in a single year - it won't impact on those who never care enough to make sure their kids are normally in school anyway IMO. Even with 5 days authorised holiday absence most kids will still have a higher percnetage attendance than those who constantly play truant. Something to target truancy would probably have change overall school attendance levels far more than just cancelling a few days holiday IMO.


Or those who keep their children out of school at the slightest sniffle or cough.

Also in addition to the, in my view, limited impact of a few days off in the academic year which if correctly and appropriately managed by both the parents and the school (additional work to undertake and ensuring that little Frederica catches up on the missed work), shouldn't unduly impact on their overall learning, there is obviously the concept of setting or streaming to ensure that this has minimal impact on the other learning, though I do accept that it is not as clear cut as that.

But if little Johnny or Janet misses a week and is then a 5c as opposed to a 6a this will obviously potentially impact on any ofsted reporting and it is a shame that a child capable of a certain level didn't achieve it because mum and dad wanted a slightly cheaper holiday which I still maintain is blatant profiteering and something should be done.

And yes Pam before you mention it again, I am fully conversant in how supply vs demand works in the same way I fully understand pricing for risk in the insurance business works but that didn't stop 'sheilas wheels' getting told to change their business practice so why can the same not apply to Holidays?
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Quote:

But if little Johnny or Janet misses a week and is then a 5c as opposed to a 6a this will obviously potentially impact on any ofsted reporting and it is a shame that a child capable of a certain level didn't achieve it because mum and dad wanted a slightly cheaper holiday which I still maintain is blatant profiteering and something should be done


I doubt that happens - those kids that don't make their expected grades by miles are those who miss far more than a week in school when, lets face it they are only going to miss one or at the most two sessions in each of a half dozen subjects that really matter, and if a school does a One day trip out of their won making the children can easily miss one or the only session in subject X that week. The kid that misses their maths grade by miles is the one that doesn't like maths and skips every session on a regular basis IMO
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I shall be interested to see any figures come next year, or even sooner, on unauthorised leave or sudden increases in illness across schools.

I am going to stick my head out here and say that this policy will be either heavily revised, to give headteacher more of a say, or quietly dropped within a year. I have not found anyone - parent, child, teacher, governor or headteacher who thinks this is a good move.
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Boris, that thought pattern mirrors my own.
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Megamum wrote:
NB.

Quote:

over something that is right for the school


I wonder how many Heads feel having the right to make their own decisions removed is right for their school Puzzled


NB: I think you may have misunderstood me. I wasn't refering to the new legislation when I talked about something being "right for the school", I was talking about all the kids being at the school rather than on (un)authorised absence.

It would be interesting to know what Heads generally think about the new law - I know of one who is pretty supportive (having tried several other tactics and not had enough success), but I don't have a sense of what the general feeling is. And the NAHT website doesn't shed much light on their view.
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Well if schools can cancel because of snow I fail to see where the problem is now. In future you just inform them that your child cannot attend because of snowy conditions.
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T Bar, Laughing Laughing I was thinking that might be a plan
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ChrisWo, No you misunderstandd me, I meant exactly what I put, and was deliberately misunderstanding you just to prove that there is more than one way of viewing this. I sense that you are a little blinkered where this is concerned - you didn't have a hand in writing the report that led to this did you? LOL

You only have to look at those petition websites to see that this decision has got a lot of people's 'backs up' I wouldn't want to be a Head facing down irate parents and having to tell them it is out of their hands to make any other decision. I think its taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, that is probably bad inside anyway.
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ChrisWo, Head of daughter's school thinks this is a stupid idea and has been very vocal in his opposition to it. Head of boys school also seems thoroughly fed up with it and has written to all parents along lines of "don't even ask as I can't allow it"
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

I wouldn't want to be a Head facing down irate parents and having to tell them it is out of their hands to make any other decision.


Actually I think many people would love to be able to demonstrably blame someone else for not having to (ie "my hands are tied") make an unpopular decision.
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
I think the current system was fine - up to 10 days, with approval. If the attendance % figure for the child was too low then the approval was not granted. With the new regs. loads of parents will still take the child out of school but the school will be fed a pack of lies - and the children will have to play along with these lies...thats not a great example to kids regarding rules and authority etc


So don't do it. Funny old thing, in my experience children do not suffer badly from attending school throughout the school year. Nor does their world come to an end if their parents cannot afford for them to go skiing during the standard holiday periods.
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Does any one phone in sick themselves when on a ski holiday? Or use part of their holiday package?

This all comes down to the cost of holidays during the school holidays?

If your children have a good attendance just go the unauthorised route, most of the people on here have children with good attendance, what will the school do?

When is the preferred time to whip them out? Half term?
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achilles, is exactly right on this. First world problem.
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The new rules mean that we won't even be asking for an authorised absence day (1 day!) for younger child this winter as his (primary) school have basically told everyone that all requests will be refused. We will just tell the teacher (in advance) that he won't be on that day. I suppose it's less paperwork for them and the same end result for us.

In contrast, elder child has already been told by his (secondary) school that he *can* have the day off because they class it as a sporting event.
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achilles wrote:
So don't do it. Funny old thing, in my experience children do not suffer badly from attending school throughout the school year. Nor does their world come to an end if their parents cannot afford for them to go skiing during the standard holiday periods.


Neither do the majority of children suffer if they take a day or week out of school once in a while.

The world has changed there are more one parent families more families with both parents working probably more families unable to all get away during conventional school holidays.

Family life is important to some, fines to meet government targets are an abuse of power, certainly not the worst in the world and it does not bring the world to an end but it undermines the individual and the family unit to attain some damn stupid target.
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Filthyphil30k, while there is an obvious focus on ski holidays here, don't forget this applies to all holidays. Many people I know have to bid for holidays from work and basically have to take the weeks they are given, which are not always in school holiday time. So for many people this is a matter of having a family holiday together rather than the cost of the holiday.

Personally we are going over Xmas break but had requested one day off at end of term - which was refused due to new rules. Was the first I had heard of this and started the thread to alert others. Haven't yet decided how we will handle it when the time comes!

Just from reading through here, it is obvious that the new rule is not going to make the slightest difference it will be ignored.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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simple answer (well of course it's not that simple but he ho) teach em yourselves... Oh no that's frowned upon by snowHead http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=81541

just teasing.... Twisted Evil
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Boris, I agreed boris, hence my comments earlier when the unwashed all pull kids out a week early to go to benidorm what will happen then? Nothing, even for kids who are truant all the time.
My advice is book the holiday and see if the school want to sue you, not likely.

Or remember aunts wedding in the alps that week, schools allow time off for family weddings.
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ansta1 wrote:
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.


I wish it was a case of loading the price rather than discounting. I have an apartment in Les Arcs which I rent out more now than I used to as I ski elsewhere a lot of the time. My rental price for New Year is £1,249 and the cheapest weeks of the season (first two weeks of January) are £849. I have had 12-15 solid enquiries for the New Year week (it was booked before the summer), but not one enquiry for January. If I cut the price of the January week much more it will be approaching the point where it doesn't really cover the cost of cleaning, laundry, heating, water, electricity, broadband, management bill, local taxes, wear & tear and mortgage. If I could guarantee to fill every week (like Center Parcs does, as it has no serious competition in its market segment) then I wouldn't need to load the peak weeks like I do and it would be easier for me to be even cheaper than other apartments of a similar standard (which is what I try to do). But there is loads of competition and it is very difficult to fill the off-peak weeks. It seems to me that renting ski accommodation is a fairly well functioning market, with lots of suppliers all chasing a very uneven demand which is as price sensitive as any other type of holidaymaker. Anyone who loads the price significantly above the competition is going to lose bookings.
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