Cheaper holiday or a full term of study... Which is best for kids?

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A recent study of 2000 people, carried out by LV=Travel Insurance, shows that over a quarter of parents in Britain are planning on taking their child on holiday during term time this year. The study comes at a time when the government is planning to ban term time absence, removing headteachers' discretion in sanctioning time off.

Although there are already financial sanctions for removing a child in term time, many parents feel that the £50 fine is outweighed by the colossal savings on trips away in off-peak season. With 57% of this quarter taking their children out of school due to holidays being cheaper and 32% saying that they cannot afford holidays during term time, it comes as no surprise that LV found term time holidays to be 46% cheaper than holidays taken during peak season. With such a sizable saving, the possible fine seems a small price to pay in comparison.

But the question here is not whether it is fair that parents should have to pay that extra cost of peak season holidays, the question is how to make parents see that their child’s education could be at stake, for the sake of a two week holiday in Spain.

A spokeswoman for the Dept of Education has said that schools should be taking a ‘tough line’ on extra holiday allowance as missing a couple of days of school could be detrimental to a child’s development and could leave them ‘struggling to catch up’. But Charlie Taylor, the Government’s behaviour tsar, has added to this, showing that a ‘tough line’ is not enough. He warned that young people regularly taking time off school can end up missing a year’s worth of education by the age of 16. Isn't this enough to show the impact of extra holiday on a child's education?

In spite of this, parents feel it is their prerogative to remove their own children from school for reasons they deem fit, and this will not change with a new government initiative. So how about a compromise? If schools agree to grant leave based on the child’s age, attendance record and academic progress, parents must provide an educational itinerary for the trip. The holiday can then be regarded as didactic and the child seen not to be losing out due to missing school – the benefits of kinaesthetic learning cannot, after all, be denied and isn’t worldly experience an asset to all ages?


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