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Term-time holiday father wins in High Court

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@pam w, I was merely suggesting attendance requirement, without regard of the child's academic performance, has little to do with "education" but more to do with the school's "power" over parents.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@pam w, @abc, I don't know if 'adequate education' is a phrase from the legislation, but what does it mean? Adequate for what? If a child leaves school with 8 decent GCSEs, is that adequate. How about three good A-levels? Or a place at Uni? Surely it should mean adequate to make the most of their ability/intelligence. Consequently there is no real way of knowing what is adequate until much, much later.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@abc, The attendance requirement comes mainly from the government. I don't think they introduced the new rules to make themselves popular. I do think we should consider that their motivation just may be a desire to improve education and it is possible that widespread but low-level truancy is harmful as the research suggests.
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@foxtrotzulu, did the government impose the new rule purely base on the research? Or was it motivated by pressure from some quarter (school administrator?) under the disguise of improve education?

Kids got sick, and will miss school with some 'regularity' through no fault of their (or their parents) own. Wishing 100% attendance is pointless. At what point does the absence becomes disruptive, and to what level is that harmful, surely is individual.

By imposing fine on parents who take their children out of school during term time, the government/school seem to think they can achieve good education DESPITE of parents who doesn't believe in the school.
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abc wrote:
foxtrotzulu wrote:

I fully appreciate that there is a world of difference between state and independent schools in many wayy. However, in the independent schools my children have attended term-time holidays are incredibly rare. I won't say they never happen, but I genuinely cannot remember hearing of a single instance.

Perhaps it's simply because independent schools provide much better education when the kids are in school. So parents aren't so keen to take them out for a holiday?

I do wonder how many of the state schools that support such policy are the kind of school where the kids weren't learning all that much in a week's time, so parents simply don't feel it's a big disadvantage to take the kids out for a ski holiday?
As parents have to pay for for a place at independent schools they presumably value it more and so don't want to spend money on school time they are not using. Also in general they are wealthier and can afford to take holidays in School holidays
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It's a long time since I was at school, so things may have changed since then Laughing , but I recall that in the last week of term time the lessons were often of less importance as the term exams had been taken by then and the results issued and new topics were left for the next term. So being off school in the last week of term was judged to be less of an issue. I wonder if that still applies?
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abc wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, did the government impose the new rule purely base on the research? Or was it motivated by pressure from some quarter (school administrator?) under the disguise of improve education?

Kids got sick, and will miss school with some 'regularity' through no fault of their (or their parents) own. Wishing 100% attendance is pointless. At what point does the absence becomes disruptive, and to what level is that harmful, surely is individual.

By imposing fine on parents who take their children out of school during term time, the government/school seem to think they can achieve good education DESPITE of parents who doesn't believe in the school.


I have no idea if the new rules were introduced purely on the back of research or whether the schools asked for it as well. I'm not sure what you mean by the 'school administrator' in this context. Are you suggesting that the school admin staff asked the government to do this purely to make their attendance figures better in order to please the government? Doesn't make much sense to me.

Of course children get sick. Nobody is suggesting otherwise. Surely that's the point? We have to accept that children are going to lose some school time due to sickness and that makes it even more important to try and minimise unnecessary absence. You ask at what level absence becomes disruptive. Surely there is no clear line. Any unnecessary absence is undesirable. We may never get to 100% attendance but surely that's what we aim for? Or, if you prefer "100% attendance once sickness is excluded". I wish it didn't need to be so rigid, but the old system of permissible absence for 'special circumstances' clearly wasn't working.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

You ask at what level absence becomes disruptive.

What I asked (above) is, if 90% is the wrong cut off point for pursuing parents, with prosecution as the ultimate sanction, what is the right cut off? The question is not "how much school attendance is ideal?" but "at what point we start getting heavy and ultimately criminalising parents"?

So what is the right level? It's a cop out to say we should expect 100% attendance and chase anything less (other than obvious genuine illness) because we have patently failed to provide the resources successfully to chase up all those with less than 90%. This is a practical problem for legislators, not a philosophical one.
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admin wrote:


In a similar vein to how the French schools have their day (or is it afternoon) each week for 'club' activities


for my son to get his Wednesday afternoon off he starts school at 7.45 and leaves at 16h30.

On Wednesday afternoon he is too tired for anything, maybe catch up on homework.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
We have to accept that children are going to lose some school time due to sickness and that makes it even more important to try and minimise unnecessary absence. You ask at what level absence becomes disruptive. Surely there is no clear line. Any unnecessary absence is undesirable. We may never get to 100% attendance but surely that's what we aim for? Or, if you prefer "100% attendance once sickness is excluded". I wish it didn't need to be so rigid, but the old system of permissible absence for 'special circumstances' clearly wasn't working.

No, I prefer the opposite. I prefer attendance is taken with the view of the impact on school performance. Basically, if a kid is already ahead, I don't get why he/she can't be taken out of school during term time. Except the current policy doesn't allow that.

Why should a kid that's struggling to keep up be subject to the same attendance requirement as the one who's ahead?

If the teachers aren't comfortable conveying the impact of a particular kid's absence from school, I wonder how successful that teacher is at conveying any other need that kid needs to his/her parents.

And if the parents takes the kid out of school despite of the teacher's warning, clearly either the parents don't trust the teacher, or the parents don't care about their kid's study. Would fines change anything?
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pam w wrote:
"Regular" is not being used in precisely its normal sense here. At what level of attendance would you suggest that line should be drawn, @dogwatch? .


One day per term on a summer/winter/spring term cycle. That's more or less 98%, the difference being that 98% would allow a week-long holiday if attached to a Bank Holiday.

You don't need to chase all those who don't meet this any more than you need to prosecute every motorist who exceeds a speed limit. You just need to do enough that parents who fail to do so can expect sanctions so that most will adjust their behaviour accordingly.
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abc wrote:
Why should a kid that's struggling to keep up be subject to the same attendance requirement as the one who's ahead?


Ahead of what? Nobody expects all children to be able to perform to the same standard and being clever shouldn't be a pass to get away with bad behaviour (even though it frequently is).
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@dogwatch, As 'Dogwatch' asks, ahead of what? I don't really understand this idea rewarding good attendance with permission to have poor attendance. "Well Sir, I'm delighted to tell you that as you haven't been caught speeding for a couple of years you now have permission to drive over the speed limit for a few days. I can also see you don't have a drink/drive conviction so you are welcome to have a few vodkas while you are speeding"

If, as you say, we don't need to chase every parent who breaks the rules but just enough to change the behaviour of the majority, then I wonder what percentage you think should be prosecuted and how we select them.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Schools are open for students a total of 195 days a year.
A 95% attendance means that approximately 10 days are not attended.
That is equivalent to one weeks ski holiday in the spring term, and a weeks jollies in Marbella with the crim-in-laws.

Schools are judged (not just) on attendance figures, and therefore Headteachers have a real interest in ensuring their students attend as fully as possible. GCSE grades are going to suffer with poor attendance, key concepts in core subjects may not be as well embedded by poor attenders, non-attendance has a culmulative detrimental effect on overall school performance in academic examinations. And that's the main reason schools require best attendance.

"Education, education, education...." Blair's 1997 slogan was about standards, and despite threats of jailing parents the issue of truanting still remains.

Going on ski/summer holidays is a very different thing to truanting. Headteachers should be intelligent enough to spot the difference and make informed decisions regarding the fining of parents in this matter.

I wonder just how many snowhead parents are planning a term time ski trip for the 2016/17 season.
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In my view I think (and I don't really care whether anyone agrees or disagrees Toofy Grin ) this is too complex to allow much in the way of discretion. There needs to be a blanket ban or a free for all, anything in between just creates confusion, one man's educational trip is another man's jolly Smile The former is the only option IMO. My daughter is 20 now and I only ever took her skiing at half term or Easter. The only time she ever had off was the Friday afternoon before to enable a quicker getaway. When this was forbidden in her last couple of years she stayed to the end of the school day, which surprised the school.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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180 "contact days" per year, means that in effect its imperative that every child attends every day. That's the way they deliver the curriculum. Miss a day: that days learning is gone. Allegedly.

Given that teachers get around 13 weeks of holiday every year, they're never more than 6 weeks from their next holiday, isn't there scope for a change? For instance schools open 46 weeks of the year, offering a flexible teaching pattern, or even different types of learning at different terms?
That in turn would means that one could choose formal classroom learning, vocational learning, holiday clubs..or whatever..and parents would have to engage in planning their childs learning, if they wanted to shift from a "regular" school year.
In turn, the more flexible holiday arrangements would spread the demand more evenly, and reduce the premiums which holiday companies can charge.

Oooh, and kids get a better education. Teachers get utilised more effectively.

All that said, and given that we are, at least for now, in the EU, can't we book with for instance a French travel operator? They're holiday patterns are different. Anyone tried it?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
...


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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Appreciate my view may be unpopular but if you are willing to accept the state's free education for your child you should be willing to accept the Ts & Cs attached to that "contract" or at least pay the price if you decide to turn a blind eye to some elements. The "educational value" argument is just a middle class rationalisation -yes without doubt some parents do with kids will be of greater educational value than things on certain days in school and certainly I doubt that the last week or so of summer term are used to great educational effect but pretending that skiing is anything other than mainly a jolly is stretching it.

There is no need to reconfigure school timetables to suit parents who'd like some cheaper holidays and if holidays were a free for all likelihood is that supply and demand would mean that the off peak weeks would not be as cheap as you'd expect. If "cheap" holidays are your No 1 priority in life then don't have kids.
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My mother was a teacher. We were never allowed term time holidays (even if her holiday weeks were different to ours) because as a teacher she experienced firsthand the overhead of bringing children who'd had time off back up to speed.

The impact on the rest of the class was similar whether it was a 'high achieving' child with good attendance, or a low achiever. Either way, they took additional effort before/after the holiday that could otherwise be devoted to the whole class. This was at a "good" (in the real, not OFSTED sense!) local grammar.

I follow the same approach with my kids. As has been demonstrated on numerous occasions on snow heads, the cost differential for school holiday trips can be minimised with good planning. In forcing me to book a year ahead, it probably makes it cheaper than I'd otherwise pay!
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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!
@Dave of the Marmottes, I think we got it the first time.... Wink
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Got it.
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Quote:

The impact on the rest of the class was similar whether it was a 'high achieving' child with good attendance, or a low achiever. Either way, they took additional effort before/after the holiday that could otherwise be devoted to the whole class. This was at a "good" (in the real, not OFSTED sense!) local grammar.


Garbage.
My parents took me out of school for holidays a couple of times and I also went on term time school trips a couple of times (when only a small minority were on the trip). In none of those occasions did the teachers do anything different to help me catch up. It was my responsibility - borrow someone else's books /notes and see what I had missed. But at I had good attendance and was achieving at the top of the year so may have been more self-sufficient.
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Quote:

accept the state's free education


Free at point of delivery
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Rabbie wrote:
abc wrote:
foxtrotzulu wrote:

I fully appreciate that there is a world of difference between state and independent schools in many wayy. However, in the independent schools my children have attended term-time holidays are incredibly rare. I won't say they never happen, but I genuinely cannot remember hearing of a single instance.

Perhaps it's simply because independent schools provide much better education when the kids are in school. So parents aren't so keen to take them out for a holiday?

I do wonder how many of the state schools that support such policy are the kind of school where the kids weren't learning all that much in a week's time, so parents simply don't feel it's a big disadvantage to take the kids out for a ski holiday?
As parents have to pay for for a place at independent schools they presumably value it more and so don't want to spend money on school time they are not using. Also in general they are wealthier and can afford to take holidays in School holidays


Probably more to do with your first point than your second, because if they were 'wealthier' before the school fees then they often won't be once they've paid them!
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Interesting discussion. Thankfully the nationalist government we endure here in Scotland haven't seen fit to introduce draconian restrictions on parents taking kids out of school. It is still left up to individual Heads to use their judgement. Either way there are no fines but you could still be prosecuted although that is unlikely to happen for the odd week.

I take my son out to go skiing with the full support of his Headteacher. He is a very bright child who is at or above the level of his peers. He does additional work at home such as mathematics (Kumon) and reading. My wife is a Primary school teacher and doesn't have an issue with him being out so long as it is the week before end of term/half term as generally these are the weeks where less important work is done.

@foxtrotzulu, should you ever decide to meet a group of teachers and tell them that their Inset days should be held at weekends or during holidays, then I suggest you have an ambulance on standby (for you, not them). Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

Like many people I viewed teachers annual holidays with envy. However, for the last 13 years I've seen why having long breaks is so important. My wife has 28 5/6 year olds in her class. Her school has a very large catchment area so has a wide mix of demographics. Out of a total class of 28 she has 3 who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum with another couple who are borderline. She gets next to no support to deal with this. There are some nights she comes home exhausted and collapses on the sofa. When she is not exhausted she will often have to prepare her lessons and plans in the evenings or at weekends. Any suggestion that she would have to go in at weekends to do Inset would more than likely be the final straw and she'd leave teaching.

Having been in the corporate world all my working life I can only recall one 'team building' event that took place at the weekend; all others have been mid-week 'jollies'. Even the weekend event was a tremendous jolly. All expenses paid to take part in a corporate challenge on the west coat of Ireland with nice hotels, food and booze was not a hardship; in fact, it was more like a holiday.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boris wrote:
Quote:

accept the state's free education


Free at point of delivery


& without getting into a discussion on taxation/ non-hypothecation your point is?
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Gaza wrote:
Interesting discussion...


However, do we really need youngsters to have an education, especially one like the state schooling system that now places more emphasis on assessment data than on individual learning outcomes?

Anyone ever been to a PiXL Conference? Or asked your child's teachers about their RAG Trackers, SIMS Assessment, PLC's and ILP's?

The better question would be to ask about the value and place of education for your children, and just how much "education" and "learning" is being wasted/disrupted by the actions of other people's children. Chav-spawn dont need no education. Toofy Grin
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Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

& without getting into a discussion on taxation/ non-hypothecation your point is?



Boris should answer for himself but as I pay many multiples of my family's burden on the State in income tax I don't feel very much like doffing my cap and saying cringing thanks for the services we receive. I certainly don't think that the fact I'm consume some small portion of my tax payments in funding for my kids education should supersede my discretion in deciding what is best for my children. And for the record, I don't think that would change if I paid less tax. As it happens, we haven't taken our kids out of school much (occasionally take them out a couple of hours early on the last day of a halfterm/term, they will miss a day at the end of this month to attend a family wedding on a Friday) but I wouldn't rule it out in the future for a very special holiday.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think the significance of this legal case is being missed here, much of the time. There is nothing new about SH threads going off topic, but the interest here for me is in the legal situation, not whether some SHs would like to reform the education system.

There is nothing new about the legal requirement on parents to ensure that children attend school (or make adequate alternative arrangements for home schooling, which requires jumping through all sorts of hoops).

There is nothing new about parents being prosecuted for failing to do so, when LEA attempts to help them to reduce truancy fail, or parents are intransigent, etc etc. There is nothing new about fines, there is nothing new about jail terms - though historically these will have been "last resorts" after all attempts to solve the problem by talking to parents etc have been exhausted.

What IS new is that some LEAs have been fining parents because of holiday absences even though their attendance rate is well above the rate at which, historically, truancy proceedings would have been begun.

The High Court found in this case that the policy of the LEA in question misinterpreted the law. What is interesting now is how they, other LEAs and the Government will respond to that legal judgement.
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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?
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Appreciate my view may be unpopular but if you are willing to accept the state's free education for your child you should be willing to accept the Ts & Cs attached to that "contract" or at least pay the price if you decide to turn a blind eye to some elements. The "educational value" argument is just a middle class rationalisation -yes without doubt some parents do with kids will be of greater educational value than things on certain days in school and certainly I doubt that the last week or so of summer term are used to great educational effect but pretending that skiing is anything other than mainly a jolly is stretching it.

There is no need to reconfigure school timetables to suit parents who'd like some cheaper holidays and if holidays were a free for all likelihood is that supply and demand would mean that the off peak weeks would not be as cheap as you'd expect. If "cheap" holidays are your No 1 priority in life then don't have kids.


1. Thankyou for clarifying nobody need pay all tax in future now run along and get Cameron to amend everyone's tax code to reflect this FREE ! education.

2. God has spoken I thought politicians had a deluded god complex seems they are not the only ones. The old system worked fine for the vast majority but no lets penalise the majority to make it look like we are doing something against the few who actually no matter what we do don't give a damn anyway.
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jedster wrote:
Quote:

& without getting into a discussion on taxation/ non-hypothecation your point is?



Boris should answer for himself but as I pay many multiples of my family's burden on the State in income tax I don't feel very much like doffing my cap and saying cringing thanks for the services we receive. I certainly don't think that the fact I'm consume some small portion of my tax payments in funding for my kids education should supersede my discretion in deciding what is best for my children. And for the record, I don't think that would change if I paid less tax. As it happens, we haven't taken our kids out of school much (occasionally take them out a couple of hours early on the last day of a halfterm/term, they will miss a day at the end of this month to attend a family wedding on a Friday) but I wouldn't rule it out in the future for a very special holiday.


I'm not suggesting doffing caps but I do think there is rather too much fuss about this whole issue which seems largely centred on self interest and/or listing gripes about the overall state education system which largely have nothing to do with whether the policy on "authorised absence" has changed. I'd likely be doing the same as you, using my own judgement on when and if appropriate to take my kids out of school "unauthorised" but would be trying hard at the same time not to bitch about how unfair it was that my kids' perfect record was being despoiled or that I'd picked up the odd (unlikely) £60 fine.
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pam w wrote:
I think the significance of this legal case is being missed here, much of the time. There is nothing new about SH threads going off topic, but the interest here for me is in the legal situation, not whether some SHs would like to reform the education system.

There is nothing new about the legal requirement on parents to ensure that children attend school (or make adequate alternative arrangements for home schooling, which requires jumping through all sorts of hoops).

There is nothing new about parents being prosecuted for failing to do so, when LEA attempts to help them to reduce truancy fail, or parents are intransigent, etc etc. There is nothing new about fines, there is nothing new about jail terms - though historically these will have been "last resorts" after all attempts to solve the problem by talking to parents etc have been exhausted.

What IS new is that some LEAs have been fining parents because of holiday absences even though their attendance rate is well above the rate at which, historically, truancy proceedings would have been begun.

The High Court found in this case that the policy of the LEA in question misinterpreted the law. What is interesting now is how they, other LEAs and the Government will respond to that legal judgement.



Good points and bringing subject back on track lets hope it will result in LEA's and schools working with parents not against them and they start seeing this act as a reinforcement of the final sanction not as a first and possibly only option.

Attendance and grades are highly desirable but effort should be the over riding priority, because as others have stated not every child can be a genius or fantastic with their hands etc.

I strongly believe in a pro active solution in that kids who work hard whose parents encourage them, and work with the school being given the chance in non exam years to have 5-10 days in term time can be used to encourage the few to work harder be less disruptive so as to be able to take advantage of these rewards themselves.

The Gov with young offenders adopt this system ie rewards going to McDonalds or to a theme park. So why can it not be adopted in schools why is it only available to kids who have been in trouble with the law?
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@speed098, my daughter is a teacher and struggles with the fact that the bright kids are bright, and will do fine, and get all kinds of tangible and intangible rewards and the disruptive, difficult, ones get masses of attention and special units and all the rest of it, whereas there are the "well-behaved, silent, non-disruptive, not terribly clever" ones who just miss out. My eldest grandchild probably falls into that category (whereas it looks as though both her younger siblings are "stand out" in one way or another) and it's a shame that teachers whose time is spent "zoo keeping" the disruptive ones cannot give that kind of kid more individual attention. She was complaining, quite mildly, a little while ago that the "bad boy" in her primary school class was given special merit points for NOT being disruptive in class or doing some homework - which he usually didn't do - whereas she got no recognition at all for not being disruptive and doing her homework - which she hates doing, actually and has to get nagged quite a bit.

I'm not keen on the idea of giving kids time off school as a reward for academic achievement - it makes attending school seem a bit like a punishment for not being clever. Gives the wrong message, I feel.

Criteria for the required attendance should be the same for everybody, regardless of how clever they are, or where they live, or the reasons for their unauthorised absence. Taking the kids away on a term time holiday should not be punished more severely than being so idle, hungover or stoned that you can't be arsed to get out of bed and get the kids organised.

And the High Court seems to agree.... Little Angel
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midgetbiker wrote:
Rabbie wrote:
abc wrote:
foxtrotzulu wrote:

I fully appreciate that there is a world of difference between state and independent schools in many wayy. However, in the independent schools my children have attended term-time holidays are incredibly rare. I won't say they never happen, but I genuinely cannot remember hearing of a single instance.

Perhaps it's simply because independent schools provide much better education when the kids are in school. So parents aren't so keen to take them out for a holiday?

I do wonder how many of the state schools that support such policy are the kind of school where the kids weren't learning all that much in a week's time, so parents simply don't feel it's a big disadvantage to take the kids out for a ski holiday?
As parents have to pay for for a place at independent schools they presumably value it more and so don't want to spend money on school time they are not using. Also in general they are wealthier and can afford to take holidays in School holidays


Probably more to do with your first point than your second, because if they were 'wealthier' before the school fees then they often won't be once they've paid them!
got to agree, lots of parents at independent schools give a lot up including ski holidays to pay for their child's fees, don't go thinking they all have the cash to pay full rate during holiday periods. The sheer fact the pay for education twice shows the importance they put on it, hence why the font remove their child from it
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Is there a market for qualified teachers to go on term-time trips with kids to cover any work that they would be covering at school while they are on hols?

I can't see a problem during a ski trip with a teacher sitting down at 9-10am and 3:30-5:30pm and covering the information that would normally be covered in the classroom environment. If you can't cover ground quickly enough 121 in 3 hours that a class of 35 kids is trying to take in over 5hrs there must be something wrong.

The saving in holiday cost would cover the cost of the teaching coming along for a nice free holiday, in return for 3 hours work a day. Probably an ideal opportunity for retiring teachers to share their vast experience and the school can't legitimately complain about disruption of a child missing a few hours of school when the subjects would be covered anyway.
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pam w wrote:

I'm not keen on the idea of giving kids time off school as a reward for academic achievement - it makes attending school seem a bit like a punishment for not being clever. Gives the wrong message, I feel.

Criteria for the required attendance should be the same for everybody, regardless of how clever they are, or where they live, or the reasons for their unauthorised absence. Taking the kids away on a term time holiday should not be punished more severely than being so idle, hungover or stoned that you can't be arsed to get out of bed and get the kids organised.

But, but, but...

"Required attendance"? THAT sounds like punishment!

If it's about education, then the kid who're doing well should be given more flexibility, which includes term-time holidays. It's not exactly a "reward". While parents of kids who weren't doing well were advised against taking them out of school during term time.

Should all kids to exactly the same amount of home works? Are we trying to create robots (or clones) out of kids?


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Mon 16-05-16 17:29; edited 1 time in total
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Quite a lot of company's give out bonuses for meeting and or exceeding targets so why is it so difficult for this type of system to be implemented in schools ?

The main difference is rather than it being a monetary bonus it is a time bonus.
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