Have you taken your children out of school to go on holiday?

Unauthorised absences in schools. Unauthorised absences in schools.

Thursday, September 27, 2012
2:39 PM

Have you taken your children out of school to go on holiday, because of high holiday prices outside of term time?

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Latest figures from the Department of Education show that between the spring terms of 2011 and 2012, children in secondary schools in Norfolk had fewer absences year on year.

Between the two terms, the number of unauthorised absences fell by 21.5pc and the number of unauthorised absences due to holiday fell by 8.5pc.

In the spring term last year, secondary school students recorded 94,188 unauthorised sessions compared with 73,897 this year - a 21.5pc decrease.

Between the two years, the number of unauthorised absences due to holiday fell by 8.5pc from 6,831 to 6,486.

Teachers have cited the inflated cost of holidays outside term time as one of the reasons.

- We want to hear from parents who feel they have had to take their children on holiday during term time? Contact reporter Lucy Wright on lucy.wright@archant.co.uk or leave a comment below.

26 comments

  • Catalonia13 - the two things are not mutually exclusive. If you are missing school you are missing the education on which you will be tested, unless of course you take school work with you to do on holiday. I do not dispute that there are many different facets of education, both through formal teaching learning but also life experiences. However, regardless of our views on the rights and wrongs of testingleague tablesOfsted, the fact of the matter is that children are tested on what happens in school, not on holiday, and therefore if they are not in school there will be an impact, unless the parent is practive and makes arrangements to ensure their child does not miss out, such as by taking some schoolwork to do on holiday. But most don't do this and simply expect the teacher to have to duplicate their efforts. I agree with the comments made by Tim Will, but in contrast I find the comment from woollyjumoer that they chose the Free School solely on the basis of their term dates incorporating cheaper holiday time as a bizarre criteria on which to select a school. As I said before, priorities have become skewed.

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    Row71

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • I have always taken my children out of school for an annual one week hol due to the difference in cost compared to school hols and they are all doing brilliantly - it has made no difference. However we fully support their learning at all other times reading with them and doing homework etc. BUT I do get annoyed when they come home on the weeks leading up to the end of term to hear they have been sat in front of a telly and let watch DVD's at school, and this happens a lot!!!!!

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    outspoken

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Yes we do!!! every little helps in these austerity years.

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    nrg

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • As a mother of two I take holidays in term-time very seriously and last year my children had 100% attendance, but I am annoyed as due to family circumstances I have made an application to the School which means my Children will miss one day and it looks like it will be refused. I am annoyed because normally I do not take them out of school for holidays or anything and because it was ok for the School to shut at 12.30pm this week because of an Open Day and it is ok for the school to close early on the last day of the Christmas Term and at the end of the Summer Term too and all I have asked for is less than the School decide is fair my children to miss! It is hypocritical when it suits them.

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    kb

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Whilst the prices of holidays during school holidays continue to be out of the reach of so many families its not surprising that we take our children out for a week. School attendance is of course important but it is not going to make any difference to their overall education if they miss a week once a year, no more than it makes any difference if they miss a week through illness!

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    catalonia13

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Forgot to say. My son went to real Spain where you have to speak Spanish and live the Spanish way of life

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    Jacob Burns

    Friday, September 28, 2012

  • Yes and will continue to do so My son missed the last week of the July term He missed starting Year 9 early On his return in September he found that the teachers and the timetable had changed anyway He learned far more in Spain that week than he would have done at school

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    Jacob Burns

    Friday, September 28, 2012

  • i holiday when kids are in school.should be illegal to take them out of school and ruin others hols.

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    bookworm

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • The problem is OFSTED judge schools on their attendance and could be a factor for sending them into special measures. As for the realistic side of things, it depends on the child, there are certain children in my class it wouldn't affect whereas others who desperately need continuity and are behind on the learning every moment at school is precious.

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    Claza

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Parents should book winter holidays instead of summer holidays....the chances are that most of Norfolk's schools will be shut do to snow anyway.

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    Rhombus

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • Schools are keen not to give term time holidays as it affects their budgets. I am wondering how they know what percentage of unauthorised absence is holiday? My own experience of taking' authorised' term time holiday [which many in tourism based employment cannot avoid] is phone calls from the school, even though we had an authorisation letter. Makes you wonder how it is recorded.

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    suffin else

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • No never because of low prices but sometimes because work commitments overseas meant that the children would otherwise never have had a holiday with both parents. And school work was always made up and all the kids are graduates so it didnt do much harm .Sometimes I took them out for special events like the Norfolk show. What education ministers have to acknowledge is that some schools are seen by parents as wasting an awful lot of days on events which are of no interest or benefit to the majority of pupils-career day visits by the armed forces for instance, and that some parents will wish to take their children to events which have educational value.Plus, schools do no one any favours by ending and starting terms in part weeks, which reduces the number of weeks available to families for booking a holiday-where both parents work and have to arrange their vacations well in advance with employers getting both employers to agree the same weeks may not be easy.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • The whole reason why we applied and got places for our children at the Free school Norwich. we are lucky that we got places for our chidren. School policy is not to permit children to have holidays in term time. But their holiday dates, overlap so we can take advantage of "normal" prices, just common sense really.

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    woollyjumper

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Tim Will wrote "it's a shame some people think a holiday should have preference over an education" - sounds like you think 'education' can only take place inside a school? travelling abroad IS education, and one that can never be replicated in school!

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    catalonia13

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • catalonia13 - i know the most important education takes place out of school and is family driven, but that stands you in little stead when you want to go into further education, or find the career of your dreams. you have many many weeks for holidays and a short few years for your education. if your children see adults deciding to ignore the education guidelines what makes them think they should behave any differently ?

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    Tim Will

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • 'N' said " attendance is monitored by the authorities and can adversely affect a school's Ofsted inspection judgement" which implies that children taking holidays during term time and 'missing' education is not the issue here, it's more about Ofsted results!

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    catalonia13

    Friday, September 28, 2012

  • Whilst the prices of holidays during school holidays continue to be out of the reach of so many families its not surprising that we take our children out for a week. School attendance is of course important but it is not going to make any difference to their overall education if they miss a week once a year, no more than it makes any difference if they miss a week through illness!

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    catalonia13

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • I have taken my children out of school for holidays because the price goes up as soon as they break up for summer. My husband is self employed and doesn't get holiday pay so this adds to the expense. I also think taking them on holiday to another country is educational as they see how other people live and we visit places of interest. Visiting France helped my daughter with her French language too so I don't feel guilty as I think they gain alot from these experiences.

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    Sweetpea

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • we would not consider taking our kids out of school for holidays. when the cost of holidays rose we stopped going abroad. some consider taking the kids out for a few days to be of little consequence, i disagree - and i've volunteered in several schools for past 3 years. with illness necessary work can be sent home so nothing important is missed. it's a shame some people think a holiday should have preference over an education, hope it doesn't come back to haunt them later

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    Tim Will

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • I do not and have not, however, in certain circumstances I can see that it can benefit children to have this experience, and I think it is a decision that can be taken by the parents with discussion with the school.

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    Parley

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

  • Well, been on both sides of the fence and I suspect many older parents who went to a reasonably good school may feel like me, that kids today are spending too long over too little and that teachers have too many pointless hoops to make them jump through so they need every minute of every day. Politicians have used education to score points for the last few decades and not much has improved in schools as far as the individual child is concerned. Instead we have browbeaten staff and management teams so full of their own importance,eduspeak, statistics and money management that we end up with situations like that pointed out by kb.If vast numbers of parents did not put their children's education first and help them with not just reading writing and numeracy but every other subject under the sun the failings of the current system would be blown wide open, especially at primary school level. Schools that use unqualified staff to supervise and even teach lessons have to be judged hypocrites when they deny kids who are on top of their game academically the odd day off on the grounds that their education will suffer.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • we would not consider taking our kids out of school for holidays. when the cost of holidays rose we stopped going abroad. some consider taking the kids out for a few days to be of little consequence, i disagree - and i've volunteered in several schools for past 3 years. with illness necessary work can be sent home so nothing important is missed. it's a shame some people think a holiday should have preference over an education, hope it doesn't come back to haunt them later

    Report this comment

    Tim Will

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • the most important lesson i've learned about bringing up children is to spend half as much money paying for things, and spend twice as much time doing things. that goes for education as much as being a parent

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    Tim Will

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Well after 35 years of teaching it took retirement to enjoy a "cheaper" holiday out of term time .. not that I can afford them now !!! I guess people know what their priorities are when it comes to holidays versus their childs education ;-)

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    Responsible parent

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • The whole reason why we applied and got places for our children at the Free school Norwich. we are lucky that we got places for our chidren. School policy is not to permit children to have holidays in term time. But their holiday dates, overlap so we can take advantage of "normal" prices, just common sense really.

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    woollyjumper

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • As a parent I would not take my child out of school during term time unless there were really exceptional circumstances (and I don't consider that a cheap sunshine holiday on the Costas or a trip to see Mickey Mouse qualifies). I am also a school governor and a couple of other commenters are quite correct when they say that attendance is monitored by the authorities and can adversely affect a school's Ofsted inspection judgement. There also appears to be quite a lot of misunderstanding over what 'unauthorised' actually means. If a school refuses to 'authorise' a request to take your child out of school during term time it does not mean you can't take them, it is simply recorded as unauthorised, but then if that child subsequently has other attendance issues and attendance falls below85%, the school can act to try and address the situation with various interventions, whereas if they have authorised holiday they can't. Some schools have operated a policy of authorising up to 10 days per year but unfortunately there are quite a few parents who then view it as an automatic right to take 10 days every year just to get a cheap holiday - in the same way that some people view paid sick leave at work as 'extra annual leave entitlement. I know of one parent who even rang the school up to find out the following year's term dates so she could work out the cheap time and book early! people's priorities have got completely skewed -a holiday abroad every year is not a god given right - instead lower your expectations - save up or stay local.

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    Row71

    Friday, September 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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