Comments for article

LisaV

The Education spokesman is wrong.

We have taken children on holiday during term time after seeking permission from the school. The result was a far cheaper holiday than we would have had during school holidays.

There was no detrimental effect on their education and we all had a great time.

Mowog

How do you know that there was no 'detrimental effect on their education'?

LisaV

Both have done extremely well in examinations since the holiday and continue to have excellent reports. They didn't suddenly start failing at everything because they missed 5 days of school.

Woody

This needs a common sense approach... yes missing any amount of school time may affect development, but many families struggle to afford holidays out of school terms, holidays can also help a child's development by broadening horizons, learning about new cultures etc and benefit the whole family's wellbeing (I'd get rock fever if I didn't manage to get away every now and then).

As long as it's agreed with the school and does not interfere with any exam preparations, then some leeway should be given to term time holidays. Going to the UK extreme of fining parents for taking kids out of school would just create divisions between parents and schools when it should be a partnership.

misty

Yes but common sense should also dictate that if you can't afford to go to Florida, take the kids to Herm for a week, during school holidays. Surely that's not beyond most people's budget. We also have some great beaches at home. So why not just take a week off work and have a "staycation" as the Americans call it? You don't need to spend a fortune going abroad to have a good holiday.

glp

Not all learning comes from text books.

I've happily taken the children out of school for short periods to take them to places that are much better experienced than read about.

Kittycat

True, but most people who take their kids on holiday during term time aren't doing it to give their children an educational holiday. Most go to a sunshine destination and never leave the resort. The occasional educational holiday isn't a reason to relax the rules for every child.

Common sense

In the UK some schools have changed the dates of their half terms so there are either a week early or later than those commonly used, it has reduced the amount of absentees as parents have benefited from the lower cost of holidays, the down side is that many community events are planned during traditional school holidays.

PLP

I used to be strongly against the state on this one but having thought about it I can understand where they're coming from. If parents were allowed to take their children out of school at will, it would become a nightmare for teachers to provide a curriculum knowing that at any given moment they could be missing half the class to a cheap Disney holiday.

The way I see it, you either send your children to school and work within the framework provided or you take on the responsibility yourself and home educate - which takes time and effort but is perfectly legal so long as you provide your children with an age appropriate education.

There are a large amount of high quality resources out there now for home education which means you don't need to be a qualified teacher or an academic to do it well. There are also support groups both online and in person - I believe there is a home educating group on the island, which I think former deputy Yvonne Burford was quite into.

Home education is no longer the sole territory of insular religious fundamentalists or anti-establishment hippies - a lot of normal professional parents are pulling their children out of school because they are starting to believe they can actually provide a better education at home. Not that long ago the answer to that question was usually a no-brainer but when you see the amount of funding cuts, growing classrooms, lack of discipline and shrinking resources that make up modern education one starts to openly question whether that is still the case. In our family, we haven't jumped the state education ship just yet but we're giving it some serious thought.

LisaV

I think the real issue is that the travel companies are allowed to do this. They hike up their prices, sometimes over double the usual rate, making it impossible for some families to afford.

Until there is no longer this huge increase in prices during school holidays, you will not stop parents taking their children out during term time.

PLP

It's a simple matter of supply and demand economics - during school holidays demand is higher so the price goes up. It's no different to seasonal variations - you wouldn't generally expect to pay the same for a package holiday to the Med in January as you would in June.

Whether it's ethically justifiable or not is a matter for debate - but economically it makes perfect sense.

Kittycat

That's not quite how it works. It's not a question of them hiking their prices during school holidays, rather they lower them during term times and off-season to attract some visitors when there would otherwise be none. They make almost all their money during peak season and school holidays - if they permanently lowered prices to term time/winter rates they'd go out of business.

It's like moaning that grocers hike the prices of fruit when it's ripe, when in reality they lower the price when it nears the end of it's shelf life.

LisaV

So, have reasonable price throughout the year rather than more than doubling the cost during school holidays.

Yes, I understand the economics of business and that they will obviously prefer to have a larger number of people paying a higher rate, but until holidays don't cost over twice the price out of term time, people will keep taking their children out of school.

Jake

No thanks, I don't have children and I don't see why I should have to pay more for my holidays because you decided to breed.

Yours Faithfully,

The devil's advocate

LisaV

Why should I pay more for public services because some of the population decide to get plastered at the weekend leading to arrest and A&E admissions, leading to increased costs year on year?

Why should I pay more for health services because some of the population decide to smoke 40 a day and we have to cover the cost of their care?

Jake

Now you are getting it!

I don't want to pay any of that either, also I want a discount for not having to put children through school... but then I also get a charge for not producing a future tax payer... unless that hypothetical tax payer hypothetically moved to the UK and therefore wouldn't have contributed anyway...

Either that or we can just all admit that sometimes stuff is just unfair but as long as we have the correct basics in place then it's the best we can do.

LisaV

The price hikes during school holidays are more than unfair, they can be extortionate and rule out foreign holidays of any kind for many people.

Even our local companies do it, so even if you wanted a 'cheap' UK or French holiday, the travel costs from the island can make it impossible for some.

Jake

A price is just what people are prepared to pay and therefore represents the value of what is being purchased. A holiday during the school holidays has more value and therefore commands a higher price. It's rubbish for those that have to pay that higher price but then what they are purchasing has an overall higher value because of when the holiday is. Sorry but you can't have your cake and eat it, you are purchasing a holiday that has a higher value, therefore you will have to pay a higher price.

Changing this changes the very fundamentals our economy is based upon. It's all part of living in the capitalist structure we have plus we cannot force holiday companies to charge less for their holidays, that's just not possible. The only solution would be to live within this and change term times / half term times and I can't see why that cannot be done for years that do not have GCSEs / A levels to sit.

Guernzee

Save the accidental pregnancies a lot of people choose to have kids so should accept the rules regardless of the costs it does grate when people choose to do something and then gripe about rules that are common knowledge!

Guernzee

I also disagree with travel companies taking advantage of families like lisaV mentions above!

markB

School term is School term. Once one gets away with holidays out of term they will all be at it.

Kittycat

I think this is what its all about really - one child being absent for a week during term time may not be a huge problem, but it would be chaos for the teachers if they all started doing it. It probably isn't such a problem for younger children, but at a certain age the line has to be drawn and a strict rule put in place.

Devil's Advocate

If it's too expensive to go in holiday time.......go less often!

Kittycat

Yup. We don't have a God-given right to go on foreign holidays every single year. When I was a child we went away every 3 years or so, and in the years in between we'd go camping in Herm or have day trips to Sark or St Malo.

An AI Forever

This is clearly caused by the finance industry, kick em out

Bring back the good old days

judem

Blimey, 'don't have children' or accept the rules!! People do need to have children to counter the ageing population and also when you live in a small area you need to get off it too!

Didn't expect so many people to be such sticklers for the rules. Doesn't hurt, especially with young children, to 'break the rules' and save a few pennies and I've only done it for 1/2 a day so far. However, we intend to go a family holiday later in the year and the extended family do not wish to go in term time and we would like join them so we will have the take our child out of school I know people doing it for whole terms and travelling with their children which gives them an amazing experience and some quality family time. I would be disappointed if Guernsey went down the road of fining people for a couple of days here and there and in exceptional circumstances, such as travelling for a month or two, then permission should also be granted as you can't beat that sort of education.

Kittycat

With younger children it probably doesn't matter so much, and likewise if it's a day or two here and there - but if the line isn't drawn somewhere and the rules aren't enforced then it will happen all the time. How chaotic for the teachers to have to constantly go over areas already covered, and how unfair for the remaining children to have a disrupted education and less attention from the teachers because they have to focus all their energy on whichever child has been on holiday most recently.

It's not that it's always damaging for every individual child, it's that if it's seen to be permissible then everyone will do it. And that's a problem.

PLP

Nail on the head Kittycat.

Perhaps a common sense solution would be to reduce the summer holidays by a couple of weeks and give each individual school the freedom to pick two weeks out of the year to have a school holiday outside "normal" term times.

There's certainly no reason why this couldn't be done for primary schools. High schools would need to keep some kind of consistency because of GCSE / A Level exam timetables.

islander

With the number of staff employed by the States of Guernsey many who have children and want to get off the island for a family holiday need to summit their holidays during the summer months due to staff cover

pixie22

The argument that holidays give the children an education, is a tired one and I fail to see the educational value of the Florida theme parks or the all inclusive resorts of the canaries. The single reason (so just be honest about it) in wanting to take your children out of school to go on holiday is the cost!! I don't recall seeing any child on term time holidays with school books in the evenings catching up on work their peers will be undertaking in the classroom. The teachers are then expected to pick this up when they return.

I do however sympathise with families who struggle to meet the costs but living on a beautiful island like this ( and no I am not a local) surely the children would be just as happy on the beachs here or is it more the parents who feel the need for a break??

When my children were in education in England, their fee paying school had a zero policy on this. Other than the funeral of a parent, grandparent or sibling, unauthorised absences resulted in a request for your child to be removed from the school and we were all aware of that.

I guess it comes down to priorities, if the holidays are the most important thing to the families, then other things need to be forfeited to pay for it which is exactly the same choices my husband and I made when deciding to send our children to fee paying schools.

judem

The families I know that have been or are going travelling for a couple of months with their children go to Asia and travel around different countries - not to theme parks - which I think is very educational for a child. The island may be beautiful but the weather is not always good here even in the summer and so it is nice to go somewhere where you are more likely to get some heat. I think I was able to go to the beach about three times last year as it wasn't a great summer. Also, if you have family who live in Australia or NZ and you want to spend Christmas with them then two weeks is not enough time to go all that way. There are many different reasons for parents taking their children out of school and it's not always to get a cheap couple of days at a theme park.

It really depends on the age of the age of the child as to whether they have to catch up - young children do not have to catch up. However, there does come an age where it is important that they don't miss more than a week or two of school. of course you could be sick for that time and also have to catch up.

Many parents on this island do not see the benefit of paying for their children to go to school if under 11 as all the schools here provide a good education and there are not many fee paying places. The majority of parents I am aware of paying for under 11's to go to school are non locals and some of those have family that they can stay with in England or elsewhere if they need a break from Guernsey.

I have to get off the Rock at least three times a year to keep my sanity! I can say that as I am local.

Kittycat

Travelling around Asia would indeed be an amazing and educational experience for a child, but even for those children its probably something they'd only do once in their childhood. It's certainly not the norm for most children. You have to concede the vast majority of holidays parents take their children on are nothing like that. Most families will go to a Club Med or similar and probably never leave the resort. Parents will go away for 1-2 weeks and specifically choose term times over school holidays to travel because of the cost.

Most kids don't have family in Australia either, although I visited down under for two weeks and it was plenty of time for me, still not really an excuse for missing more than a day or two of school.

I agree that with young children it doesn't matter so much, but wherever the line is drawn and rules are put in place they should be respected and adhered to. It's unfair on teachers and other students otherwise.

pixie22

Traveling around Asia is a cultural experience not an education! Additionally, the younger the child is when it occurs, the less likely it is to have made a lasting impression. Can we all agree that taking children out of school is simply to save money. Several posts have admitted as much as well as the fact that it is the parents who most feel the need to holiday off island and not the children.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, compromises have to be made. What's wrong with a caravan park holiday in France. My son and his French wife who is a teacher and has to take holidays at this time are renting a fully equipped (bar b q, en suites, air Conditioning) mobile home near Bordeaux with free children's clubs, water park, bicycle hire, 15 minutes from the beach etc etc for less than 2000 euros for a fortnight (including the ferry) by booking in January. It is also possible to get similar deals in many areas of UKs national parks where cultural activities are additionally on your doorstep.

It's still "getting off the rock" but we come back to the same thing time after time, it's not Florida or an all inclusive on the Med.

judem

I've only ever taken my child out for half a day and I often go to caravan parks in France but disagree it is always about money. As I said earlier my family (mum, sister, etc) are having a family holiday and have no desire to go during school holidays (because they don't want to be surrounded by kids). If we decide to go with them outside of the school holidays it is because that is the time they all want to go, nothing to do with money and if I was visiting my family in Australia for Christmas then I would be going for longer than 2 weeks because it is long way to go for just 2 weeks and we wouldn't have enough time to visit family and friends in two different states- again nothing to do with money. However, I agree many people do it for economic reasons but I was just pointing out that sometimes there are other reasons and it is justifiable. But for me, like most summers, it will be the caravan park in the summer/half term holidays as I wouldn't take my child out of school on a regular basis and she loves caravan parks!

Personally I think a cultural experience is educational however I agree with Kittycat that it is usually a one off childhood experience.

I suspect the onus is often on the parents to make sure their children catch up, especially if they have gone on holiday and haven't been off sick.

Devil's Advocate

If the extended family don't like being surrounded by kids they should go somewhere that kids don't go to!

pixie22

Judem, I don't think half a day at the end of term etc is considered disruptive and the schools in Guernsey are mindful of ferry/ airline schedules here which present more challenges than for mainland dwellers, but I don't think it's "justifiable" to take them out for two weeks in term time for any reason. If you have family in Australia then visit them in the summer when you can go for a month if you feel like it and your oz relies can visit you at Xmas sometime. As to your extended family, I like them , now that my own children are grown choose to holiday in term time for the same reasons yet you and they seem quite happy to take yours to resorts out of season potentially disrupting other people's peace and relaxation. In several European countries children do not start school until they are 7 so they too will be present in the resorts from May through to October, it's a fact of life and the only way to avoid it is to rent private accommodation, gites/villa etc where you can enjoy peace and quiet while still being in the thick of things and the cost of the rental of a large villa spread amongst yourself/mother/sister etc will be at an acceptable level even in the school holidays.

It's hard but children are'nt children forever and there is no excuse for taking them out of school for two weeks or more in term time simply to go on a holiday.

LisaV

You are right pixie22, children are not children forever.

For some families, where both parents are at work all day, holidays are the chance to spend some really quality time together without worrying about the next morning's lunches or band/football/ballet practice, work deadlines etc. And for some of those families the only affordable time to get that time together is during term time.

I'm not saying take the kids out in the middle of exam week, but there are times during the school term that are 'quieter' than others, like the last week of term, when most of the students are already dreaming about holidays anyway and not much new information goes in :) !

wallygator

I have had to take my children out of school to go on holiday, mainly for personal reasons, but also the cost.

With all the rules and regulations and safeguarding etc, it begs the question if you are actual in charge of your child's life anymore or just bringing them up for the States.

My children never suffered for lack of schooling, they both succeeded in life and have very good well paid jobs.

More than this though, they have fond memorises of those holidays that they had in school time.