On the news this morning was a report about a mother who has been fined for taking her child out of school, during term time, without permission. She was getting married, in the Caribbean, and her son was going to be giving her away. She asked the school for permission for him to be absent a year before the date of the wedding, but it was not until a month before the occasion that she had a communication from the school to tell her that permission was denied. She took him out of school anyway as all their plans had been made. When she originally booked the wedding, she thought it was going to be during the school Easter break. That seems quite harsh to me, especially as his attendance record had been good up until that point.
I was wondering what the general consensus of opinion is about taking children out of school during term time. As a teacher, I probably should be against it, but I’m not generally. Of course it depends on the circumstances – if it’s a regular thing for a family holiday, for example, then I’m not so keen. However, it could be that during term time is the only time that both parents can get away from work together. Perhaps there has been a family emergency – that sort of thing cannot be planned to happen only during school holidays. Perhaps it’s for a special occasion of some kind – then why not grant the time off? The experience gained during the special occasion would probably outweigh the benefits of being at school for those few days. Many families ask for work for the children to do while they are absent, so that they do not fall behind, so they are clearly thinking about the impact that missing school will have on them. It’s the families who take their children out of school to go on a birthday shopping trip, or regularly take a Friday off so that they can have a long weekend, or to accompany mum to the hairdresser because she can’t be at school in time to pick them up at the end of the day that I have more of a problem with.
What do you think?