Going on Holiday During Term-time Can be a Good Thing

Parents who have children at independent school must wonder what the fuss is about, what with their two week half term break in October, their three week holiday at Easter and eight week summer break, they are used to being able to get good deals from holiday companies.

Children at independent schools have more time on holiday, excepting those who board, this can mean more time on family jaunts than the average state educated child. Does this ‘missed education’ (in comparison with state educated pupils) mean they are educationally neglected?


If a parent of a state educated child were to take said child out of school one or two weeks earlier at, say, the end of the summer term, would it mean missed opportunities? Would it mean essential learning forever lost? Would it mean a backward step in a child’s potential earning power?

Probably not.

They might miss out on end of term word searches and half watched videos, cake, fizzy pop, and a visit from a local dignitary or assorted enthusiasts for some thing or other. They might miss out on an end of term goodbye to a supply teacher, a retiree, or young teacher who has a future somewhere else, or some despondent member of staff who has got out of the game. They might miss some fun…

And, in some lessons, they will miss out on vital up to the wire education that…


…they were always likely to forget due to the impending long summer break.

And if it’s that important it will be repeated anyway, but they might miss homework, though anything really important shouldn’t be left for homework tasks, although we can if we have to post homework tasks on the school web pages in a ‘parent’ or ‘pupil’ portal.

How much of the education pupils receive in private and state schools is so necessary that they can’t miss it? Blink, sneeze, have flu, compassionate leave, or ‘whatevs’ and your education is ruined?

Some times in school are more important and vital than others but I don’t believe that the week before the end of the summer term is always that special. Of course some schools might do some very valuable work at that time that might beat a week or two at DisneyLand, but what if the child was embarking on a grand tour of classical Greece and Italy with their family and/or friends?

Perhaps judgements as to time off from school to take a holiday should take into account two pieces of evidence:

  1. The quality of education missed from school
  2. The quality of education gained on holiday

And if 2 is higher than 1 then no fine should be levied.

This would be fairer than just tarring all with the same brush.

Oh, and it has great cultural snob value, which can only be a good thing… Cheaper holiday in the Peloponnese anyone?

5 thoughts on “Going on Holiday During Term-time Can be a Good Thing

  1. The case considers in the Supreme Court this week was one where the child was taken out of school in April 2015 not at the end of the summer term. Considering that Easter was at the beginning of April in 2015 it’s reasonable to assume that the holiday was taken at the beginning of a new term, not a period of “half watched videos”.
    The picture you use in this post suggests that holidays in term time are ones taken to historic or cultural locations. Let’s not forget the case before the Supreme Court was one where the family went to Disney World.
    To reduce this to a simple scenario of a child taking a week off at the end of the summer term is misleading, as we know it isn’t such a simple situation.


    1. I know the situation involved, and my piece takes that all into account and is arguing against blanket bans. At the risk of writing it all again, I’m suggesting some holidays are better than others and some times of year might be more suitable than others.


      1. It’s a percentages thing Martin. That some holidays are worth something says nothing about how many of them are. My experience is that the percentage worth the time taken out of school is extremely low. If you have some evidence that most in term holidays aren’t just people trying to save money on a trip to some resort, then I’d like to see it.

        There’s also the issue about whether school is compulsory or not. If it is compulsory, then it is compulsory — not compulsory when it suits the parents and not when it doesn’t.

        I might note that I don’t go for “half-watched videos” in the last weeks of term. I teach pretty much every hour of every day, save only sometimes for the very last period of term, when I might pull it early. If people are showing videos in class rather than teaching then they should be sanctioned. The compulsory thing works for teachers as well as students — term is for teaching, holidays is for not teaching.

        Liked by 1 person

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