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Are holidays really necessary?


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#1 Maggie Jarvis

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Posted 23 May 2004 - 04:49 PM

Every year we get increasing numbers of parents who take their children out of school during term time to go away on holiday- usually abroad. In a recent survey two in five parents admitted to taking their children on holiday during school terms with 7% of these doing so every year.

Of course it is a fact that holidays are very much cheaper when the schools are in session. Nevertheless it amazes me that parents expect their children to achieve good results despite themselves destroying the continuity of the education processes that are set up to help them do so! Some parents even ask teachers to provide their offspring with work to take with them! Why on earth are they doing this in the first place? Aren't there enough holiday weeks for them in the school year? Or perhaps they just want to spend their fortnight in the sun when the resorts aren't full of children?? :hotorwot

The latest madness was a call for the UK government to set up schools abroad so that children (from ethnic backgrounds) on extended visits to their country of origin would be able to continue their education there! :ice

Is this 'holiday' thing purely a British problem?

#2 Jean Walker

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Posted 23 May 2004 - 10:55 PM

No, it happens here too. Probably not so often because we're not so close to "foreign parts" but it generally does annoy teachers and is certainly more frequent than it used to be. I used to say, when asked for work: I'm sure they'll learn just as much from being there as being at school. Or "encourage them to keep a diary or read some books."
Also much more prevalent than it used to be is being out of school for whole days to have their hair cut, go shopping, etc. However, such parents still expect all responsibility for their child's education to fall slap-bang on the teacher!!

#3 David Richardson

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:38 AM

It isn't common in Sweden. But then again, everyone gets 6 weeks holiday, with the right to take 4 of them in July (which is why Sweden shuts down in July!), so perhaps it isn't so necessary.

You can take the kids out of school during school time, but there are some horrendous forms to fill in!

#4 David Richardson

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:47 AM

They've been showing the 'fly on the wall' programme about EasyJet here in Sweden recently. It was fascinating seeing how British people react at times of stress (since I haven't lived permanently in the UK since 1989).

One reaction I had was that the Brits on the programmes seemed to be incredibly self-centred. There was absolutely no point relying on a sense of social responsibility (e.g. you can't get on the plane because you're so drunk you can't stand and you'd endanger other people), and even physical facts had no effect on many of the passengers (e.g. you didn't turn up on time for your flight, there are no seats on this flight, yet you still want us to bump someone who has turned up on time, so that you can fly).

Perhaps this holiday problem is part of the same phenomenon. You're asking parents to put some other values, such as their child's education or minimising disruption to the work of the school, before their immediate gratification of taking a holiday at a time when it's cheaper.

I can sympathise with people who're trying to work around the demands of their employers but surely the only long-term solution is better employment rights, so that employers aren't able to deny people with school-age children the ability to spend time with them when they're free from school?

#5 Mike Tribe

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:47 AM

At my school here in Spain, we have even longer holidays! :ice :pop From the last week of June until the first week of September -- and we're also quite close to all that sun and sand. But we still get parents who think it's OK to take their kids out for an extra week here and there... I had one student due to take the IB exam this May whose parents took her out of school for an extra 10 days after the Easter break so she could go visit the college she'd be going to in the United States. She only came to six of my classes between Easter and taking the exam-- but if she bombs in the IB who'll get the blame? The parents? I don't think so...
In an international school, some of this is inevitable -- family reunions every now and then, etc -- but the fact that the school is fee-paying (even if most of the parents don't actually pay the fees themselves but have their government or company pick up the tab) make most parents feel that they have a "right" to take their kids out. And the school's policy is that teachers MUST :hotorwot set and mark work for kids with an "excused absence"

#6 Rowena Hopkins

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 08:54 PM

I guess my reponse here is going to upset a few teachers! I actually think its completely fine to take kids out of school provided that the 'holiday' is educational.

For example my young sister missed a week of school to visit me in Rwanda a few years back. I doubt that anything she would have studied in school during that week would have touched the importance of the experiences she had there, but then I'm a great believer in the theory that experience if far more important than anything a child will ever read in a text book.

That said, I don't think a week lying on the beach in Gran Canaria really contrituates and educational experience, or getting your hair cut for that matter!

And if a child has time to do holiday work then its too much of a holiday;-)

Maybe parents should have to sign forms whereby if their child fails a particular exam they take responsibility for it......

Rowena

#7 Maggie Jarvis

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 11:21 AM

As Rownb says:

I actually think its completely fine to take kids out of school provided that the 'holiday' is educational.


I would agree wholeheartedly, but I think you also hit the nail on the head when you say:

I don't think a week lying on the beach in Gran Canaria really constitutes an educational experience, or getting your hair cut for that matter!


Just this last few weeks has seen increasing numbers of children out of our school not for just one week lying on a beach, but 2 - 3 weeks! The additude being 'oh well, school exams are over so they won't be doing much now!' One GCSE student has actually got her holidya booked for the day before the last of her GCSE exams! 'My mum thought they would be finished by then.....' She still plans to go, however!! Good idea don't you think? :stupid

#8 Donna Eaves

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 03:28 PM

As jaywalker mentioned above, I too am frustrated by parents full day absenteeism just to have a haircut or a dentist visit. I have a couple of mothers who regularly book their children in for appointments during school hours and come in just to tell me they think it would be easier to keep them home all day - a bit inane when they've just made the effort to come all the way into school to let me know that.

I know I'd make every effort to book my son in for appointments with minimal disruption to his schooling, and if he did have to miss time, he'd be away from school as little time as possible. It may be that I'm a working mother, but more importantly that I value his education.

Should an opportunity arise to take a family holiday to another part of the world, I wouldn't hesitate to take my children out of school during term time, but I know I'd be able to monitor the education, and I know I certainly wouldn't make a habit of it.

Absenteeism is a big problem at my current school of employment and the same parents expect so much when reporting time comes around. I don't believe they realise the serious detriment to their child by their regular lack of attendance.

#9 Maggie Jarvis

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 03:39 PM

Just a thought .... how many teachers take their children out of school during term time? My children were certainly taken on numerous visits to different parts of the UK and Europe during family holidays, all taken during the normal school breaks. I can't see many headteachers looking too kindly on teaching staff asking for time off to take their children on holiday, educational or not, during term time! :plane




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