Thursday, 26 June 2014

slacking off before the summer

Bring on Alice Cooper! Tomorrow is the last day of term and at 1pm school will be out for Summer!

Wow!  That song is older than me!

Anyhow, we have had a topsy turvy week this week, as the school has given up on its regular programming to bring films and games, and leavers assemblies, and all sorts of nonsense.  It's fun, but it's also kind of hard work for the kids (mine do like a routine!), and my boy is really annoyed that they're not doing enough maths (takes after me).

A few of their classmates have already gone on holiday, their parents either taking advantage of cheaper holidays, or booking leave when everyone else has not already booked it, and taking their children out of school.

This is how we felt on the last day of term last year
Personally I don't have a problem with kids being taken out of school for holidays.  I kind of feel like everyone should get a week during the year to take off as they see fit.  That said, there are caveats around that.  Taking kids out of school at the beginning of a school year can be detrimental, as can taking them out when they're in the middle of an important project, or nearing exams.  To be honest, the last week of term is just perfect.

I remember taking a couple of weeks out of school as a kid, for the family to go along with my stepfather while he was delivering a canal boat.  It was brilliant.  We helped with locks, tracked our route on a map (and in doing so learned lots about different kinds of maps), and worked through the work books the school had given us at the galley table with Mum.  We also made regular stops to look at museums, find out about witch trials, and to visit Wedgewood.  We learned so much, and handed it all in to the teachers, who were not remotely interested, but we had jumped through the required hoop.

Now, in England it seems that the required hoop is plated with gold.  If you take your children out of school for a holiday, you have to pay a fine.  A fine!  They can only do it because if you do choose to send your child to a state school then attendance is mandatory.  Fines work as deterrents.  I know people who won't attend family weddings because of the risk of fines.  But really, they're not there to be a deterrent.  Rather it is an income generating scheme, which I hope they don't decide to take up in Scotland.

It is supposed to be at the Headteacher's discretion whether kids can be taken out of school in term time, but in reality many councils have policies whereby headteachers cannot grant permission.  Before now we have been advised not to ask, because taking a child on holiday without permission from the Head is preferable to taking them on holiday when the Head has refused permission, which they often must do.  It's a shame, because you can learn a lot when you're not in school, and that learning is not being encouraged.


We're hanging on in there until tomorrow afternoon.  Can not wait.

What are your thoughts on taking kids out of school for holidays?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 26/6/14 - 93,500.  
54,000 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine going home to bed.