Are term time holidays really so bad?

Michael Gove has announced that he plans to introduce fines for those parents that remove their children out of school during term time to take family holiday. It sounds reasonable enough doesn’t it?

I mean, we all want our children to have the best education possible and we all take for granted the fact that education in this country is free. However, he’s failing to take one thing into consideration. What about those families who simply can’t afford to take a holiday in peak season?

I’m not suggesting for one minute that parents should be able to take their children out of school as and when they feel like it.

I get really angry when I hear of parents just not bothering to take their children to school – it’s shocking how common this is! But I think Gove fails to realise just how much of an impact a decision like this could potentially have on the middle class families of Britain.

My children are still young and all at primary school. Each year we take them out for one week so we can have a break at Butlins and the memories that are created with each visit are priceless.

When we book our holidays we take into consideration the time of year that we’ll be going and we check with the school to ensure that there aren’t any important tests or exams taking place in that period so I’m always confident that my boys won’t be disadvantaged when they return to school.

Why do we do this? It’s all down to maths. We can book a break for around £250 in June or early July, an absolute bargain! For the same break in August, the price increases to anything between £600 and £800.

Now, bear in mind that these are self-catering breaks so with each visit we have to add spending money, food and treats to that bill. It adds up very quickly and going in the peak summer months just don’t make sense.

The proposed fines are £100 per child which will add up to quite an amount depending on the size of each family but they won’t deter us from booking our breaks during the low season. Why? Because even with the £300 fine, we still work out better off!

The average holiday cost increases by approximately 45% during August compared to the same weeks in June. Is this a case of holiday companies just taking advantage or is it just good business on their part?

Either way, if the Government aren’t prepared to support families by regulating holidays costs (which I’m pretty sure they’re unable to do) then they shouldn’t be punishing us for trying to spend quality time with our children, one a year. Of course, with their salaries, this isn’t a problem for most politicians. Just an observation.

Our annual family holiday is a time that we treasure. It may not be a five start, luxury resort in Hawaii and I doubt we’d enjoy it as much if it were,  but  We love it none the less and there is no way I am going to back down and be told how to raise my children by yet another government proposal.

In my opinion, if the time out of school is planned carefully and the school are in agreement, what is the problem? Parents can help their children make up lost time with extra homework in the weeks preceding and following the holiday.

So Mr. Gove, add as many fines, slaps on the wrists or penalties that you like because no matter what you do, you will not be taking away the one week each year that we get true  family quality time.

I will now get down off my soapbox and start planning this year’s break which, yes, we are taking during term time.

(image from library) 
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