There's been a lot of debate recently about taking children out of school during term time to go on holiday. Up until a few weeks ago, it wasn't really something that crossed my mind. However when I started pricing up our annual holiday, I was genuinely shocked to see how much more expensive holidays were during half term.
As this is the first year that our children are in full time school, it's never been an issue before, but now that it is, I've found myself on the side of those who want to be able to take their children out of school during term time to go on holiday.
Obviously I wouldn't take my children out of school if they were having exams etc, but at five years old, I really don't see the harm in taking them out for five days.
I think as long as it's in moderation, then it should be allowed.
One of the many comments that I've read on this topic was:
"No, my wife is a teacher so we would have to leave her behind as she can't just walk out. Teachers' performance is now linked to the progress a child makes throughout the year. It's very difficult to make it up if the child already has bad attendance or is struggling. A responsible parent will understand and attempt to get the child back up to speed. Unfortunately there are a lot who don't. This causes the teachers to potentially be penalised for stuff out of their control."
Someone then replied to this comment with:
"Well said. People don't understand the extra pressure that taking their kid out of school adds to their teacher."
Now, I do understand the first comment. Teachers with children don't have the option of taking a term time holiday. I also understand their point when they say that the teachers' performance is linked to the child's progress, but this is where my problem is.
In my personal opinion schools are too focused on hitting their own targets that they'll do what they can to achieve this, even if it's not in the child's best interests.
My twins are five. They can talk, walk, run, get themselves dressed, brush their teeth, go to the toilet by themselves, write their names, count up to 30 and beyond, and to be honest the school doesn't really recognise some of these.
When one of my girls came home with a certificate saying 'Well done. You can count to 10!', they questioned why it only said 10, when they can in fact count much higher than this.
It was the second comment that got to me to be honest. Talking of the 'extra pressure' on teachers. What about the pressure on five year olds?
At the last parents' evening, we were told that the school was keeping one of our girls in during part of her break so that they could give her extra learning. She's five! She's entitled to the same break as her peers. This had been going on for weeks before my husband and I found out about it. I'm pretty sure that's wrong in the first place, as they should have asked our permission before taking this action, and then failing to tell us until parents' evening? Couldn't they have told us one morning when we dropped them off or picked them up? They could have made a phone call to let us know or even booked a 10 minute appointment with us to ask for our opinion.
Anyway, the comments go on...
"Nope! I chose to have children and accepted that that would mean I was limiting my opportunities to have holidays. I agree holiday companies take the p*ss with school holiday price hikes, but holidays are a luxury and there are ways and means to make it affordable."
I'm sorry, but does learning and education only take place at school?
Holidays can help children learn about different cultures, experience new foods and visit places of interest. Not all of this would be possible in the confines of a school classroom.
Also what about trips that the school take children on? A week skiing trip in the french alps or a week in Germany? That's allowed, but a holiday with their parents isn't? Maybe if I called our 'holiday' an 'educational trip' instead then it would be allowed?
Children are tested so much nowadays that I think parents fail to see that education isn't just learned at school. Real life experiences are what's most important if you ask me.
Yes, I agree children should be taught maths, english, science etc., but how does knowing about the year in which the Battle of Hastings occurred help children in the long run? Well, unless they do lots of pub quizzes, then maybe it could useful for that.
I genuinely believe schools should have classes that educate our children about finances, mortgages, leadership skills, forging a career, proper cooking and nutrition classes etc.
If my children were majorly struggling or as I mentioned above were taking exams, then no, I wouldn't take them out of school. I think it should all come down to common sense on behalf of the parents and school.
What do you think?
This post was originally published on Twin Mummy and Daddy.