Holidays during term time? Not on my watch

There has been renewed debate recently over the whole thorny subject of taking kids out of school for holidays. Last week there was a phone in on our local BBC radio station on the subject and this morning a press release has landed in my inbox from Holiday Hypermarket with a survey result that says 2 out of 3 parents polled would take their kid out of school for a week to get a better deal on a holiday, and that fines/prosecution wouldn’t deter them. Looks like I’m once again in the minority as I most assuredly wouldn’t take the kids out of school for something as trivial as a holiday.

Norfolk in the summer

I’m afraid I’m in the same camp as the host of the radio show, who was very unsympathetic. Can’t afford the prices during the holidays? Do something different then. Perhaps it’s something do with this whole “bargain” mentality that we have as a nation, the same sort of mentality that saw punch ups in supermarkets on Black Friday over crappy TVs with £20 off the price, but are holidays more expensive in the school holidays? Or are they actually cheaper during term time? Is a premium put on a holiday when supply is limited or is the standard price discounted when the majority can’t go during term time and the resort is half empty? To a degree it’s semantics I suppose, one is either cheaper or the other more expensive but the end result is the same, a lot of resorts and holidays are out of the reach for many during the school holidays. It’s our attitude though, complaining that things are more expensive, as though it’s our right to overrule the simple mechanics of supply and demand.

Boo Hoo. I know people who have spent £8,000 on a summer holiday but to be honest, if they have that much spare cash floating around or a special occasion to celebrate and they want to spend that much, fair play to them. For the vast majority of us it’s not a situation we’d be familiar with. Would I like to take the kids on a skiing holiday while they’re still little and will bounce rather than break? Yes I probably would but it won’t happen because it’s too expensive in holiday times and our priorities lay elsewhere. Like our parents before us, we holiday within our means- usually self catering in the UK, mixed in with a bit of camping. A big foreign holiday to a theme resort is a luxury, not the right that some seem to think it is and I’m not sure we’d enjoy it anyway.

Regardless of whether you think your child won’t miss out if you take them out of school, the rules are there for a reason. Given that the sort of holiday activities we do tend to focus around museums, nature reserves, fossil hunting, wild life spotting and so forth, we’d probably have a better claim than most to say that our kids would get something positive out of a holiday we would take them on in term time but I wouldn’t consider it. I think at some fundamental level it’s selfish for a parent to do it. Regardless of the educational effect, the kids will miss a week of social interaction with their mates, and when they’re little that can mean a lot.

At the end of the day, kids will cherish spending the time with you, and the activities that they do with you will be what they remember most, not the places they go. And if that holiday is £500 cheaper 3 weeks earlier, well save up that extra £500, grit your teeth and know that you’re doing the best by your kids.