Now here’s the thing. In the past, we have been able to put in requests for term-time holidays – and ours have always been approved. I think this is down to a combination of factors – my children have perfect attendance records, they have been progressing well at school, and we have never taken the mickey – it has been one holiday a year, almost always tagged onto the end of a school holiday – meaning the children miss a day or 2 at most. This system has always worked well, and we have been able to treat our children, and ourselves, to a holiday most years.
But this year will be different. This year I cannot request holiday from the school – because it is now against the law.
For us, and many other parents, this poses a huge problem. In short, we simply cannot afford to take our children away in peak season. It will also prove almost impossible for every parent in the country to take leave from work at the same time. What this means is that many families simply will not be getting a holiday this year.
We have already booked our family break this summer. It will involve the children missing 2 days of term. Do I care? In all honesty – no, I don’t. The first 2 days of the new term will not involve any critical or important work. In fact, they will probably learn more in those 2 days on the beach than they would in a classroom. We can teach them about the tides, the life cycle of a hermit crab, and how to count up enough pennies for an ice-cream. Experiences they will miss out on if we adhere to the new law.
In my eyes, the new law is just plain ridiculous. It doesn’t take into account the needs of the child, or the family as a whole. The Education Act 1996 rules that parents are required to ‘ensure their children attend school regularly, or face a fine or jail’. I do send my children to school regularly – come rain or shine, come coughs, colds and dark dreary days where no-one wants to leave their beds, my children will be at school, on time and ready to learn. Taking my child on holiday for a few days does NOT count as failure to send them to school regularly.
So yes, we will be breaking the law this year – and I am proud of that fact. We will be providing our children with experiences – and you can’t put a price on that.