Lucy’s rant

February 10th, 2014 | Posted by Helene in Children | Cornwall | Rants and waffle

Frugi’s mum (Lucy) has a rant about taking the kids out of school during term time- all opinions are her own :)

Over Christmas we took some much needed time off and took the kids on their first big adventure, to Australia.

Jewsons

The Jewson family

Of course, there were all the necessities – sun, sea, sand and Kurt’s terrible Aussie impersonation. But the best thing about it was watching the kids immerse themselves in another culture on the opposite side of the globe; gawping at the wildlife, amazed at the Great Barrier Reef, and of course spending Christmas day on the beach!

Over a month on and they’re still talking about it every day. They’ve learned so much and it’s proved once again to me that these formative experiences are every bit as valuable as time spent learning in the classroom.

Clearly, trips like this aren’t always going to be possible (it took us ten years!) particularly when you have to work around the school holidays. This is particularly true in Cornwall, where tourism brings around £2bn to the economy and provides over 45,000 full time jobs – everyone’s working in the school holidays!

Every region, town, and family is different. That is why it is so important to have decisions about this sort of thing made at a local level, instead of which our local head teachers have now been stripped of their powers of discretion with the new amendments to the Education Regulations. Pupils can only be given extended leave in ‘exceptional circumstances’, with short-payment fines dished out for rule breakers.

It seems to me that they are fixing the wrong problem. If a head teacher cannot tell the difference between persistent truancy and parents trying to give their children a rounded education, then they shouldn’t be a head teacher!

So when parents are condemned and fined for this ‘crime’, as well as suffering from bad decision making, they are paying for the Government’s own incompetence.

This entire situation was beautifully captured for me when a friend of mind fought to take her child out of school to go to NASA to watch the last shuttle launch.  Do you know what the class did in her week long absence?… Made Easter Bonnets.

Lucy signature

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6 Responses

  • As a teacher I totally agree. I also believe there is a difference between sitting round a pool somewhere on the med for a fortnight and discovering a new culture.

    I’m working as a supply teacher at the moment as it gives me more flexibilty with a toddler. It meant I was able to take time off work to take my daughter to India. Somewhere where the climate and British school holidays don’t mix!

    Adventures should be encouraged and embrased!

  • Bethan says:

    Well ranted Lucy! Our 2 have learnt so much about a different culture in just under 2 weeks of living in our new home (Oman), there is no way they would have made these ‘gains’ sat in a classroom for the same amount of time. I’m sure someone must have started a petition already, but if not, parents need to gather and unite!

  • Anon says:

    ‘…If a Headteacher cannot tell the difference between persistent truancy and parents trying to give their children a rounded education, they shouldn’t be a Headteacher’

    This is a government policy that is imposed on schools to implement. If you spoke to 99.9% of Headteacher you would find that they are equally against this policy. Schools can not win, if they don’t implement it they are judged poorly by Ofsted, if they do, as they are legally required, they get their competency questioned as above.

    Everyone can see this policy is a shocker but let’s make sure blame is directed at the right people and not the messenger.

  • Brilliant blog & could not agree more! Yet another piece of legislation from the government to make teachers & parents lives more difficult, and cause tension between parents & teachers when a teacher is forced to fine parents. Crazy. As you say it is persistent truants who need the help & support. Fining their parents is not the answer.

  • angela says:

    I agree with you – local situations mean local decision making is the best approach to holidays in term time.

    I used to take my children away for the last week of the summer term. Two of my children struggled with the chaos of this week of school and I had the approval of their heads of year for this approach. Obviously the reduced cost of our holiday was valuable, but the big gains were missing a stressful week of watching DVDs at school and enjoying a more relaxed holiday because there were less other teenagers about.

    When you talk about the summer holidays and the SW I wonder if we should schedule our school holidays in Devon and Cornwall for June and September then our children could enjoy their own area!

  • Hi Lucy,

    Glad to hear that you all had a wonderful time in Australia. I agree that life experiences are just as important as what they learn in the classroom. It angers me that the government have now implemented these ‘fines’ and we as ‘parents’ have been forced to comply or face the consequences. The costs of half term holidays for many families are simply unaffordable. Yet again the government are addressing the wrong problems.

    Best,

    Tina



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