Oliver’s Travels urges schools to be more flexible with parents when considering genuine requests for authorised leave
With the Summer holidays drawing to a close and kids heading back to school for another year of learning, Oliver’s Travels (www.oliverstravels.com) have confirmed that 18% of all holidays booked with them between August 2016 – August 2017 actually involved taking children on holiday during term time.
It is unknown the percentage of holidays that were actually signed off as authorised leave, however, in light of this revelation, the award-winning Travel Company has reached out to families across the UK to find out more about their motives for supporting such authorised or in some cases unauthorised absences.
Whilst it is important to note that Oliver’s Travels in no way condones families taking children out of school without permission, the insights from this qualitative research conducted amongst parents facing these choices do in fact raise some very interesting and valid points.
Should exceptions be made for single parents on low income?
“I’m a single parent who loves travelling but on a single person income with a large mortgage and teenager this can prove tricky. Not all airlines charge a child fare for teens and even that aside, the cost of flying during the school holidays is insane. I would like to take him a week before the holidays when costs are lower but I fear being prosecuted”.
What about once in a life time family events?
“I try where possible not to take my daughter out of school as it’s important and you get enough holidays through the year, but we were invited to a wedding in India and she missed two days in January and she now has unauthorised absences on her record. I myself am a teacher at a private school and I do think there needs to be a bit more leniency for absence taken to travel to major family events because these are incredibly important for a child’s wider understanding and awareness of their family unit.”
Just how productive are children in the last week of term?
“Taking a week out before the summer holidays will not negatively impact my son’s education as that last week is largely spent faffing about watching movies and playing games. As kids, our parents used to take us out a week before the end of summer term and bring us back a few days after school started or our family of 8 would never have had a holiday. We didn’t suffer during this process.”
Oliver Bell from Oliver’s Travels commented, “ This is clearly a very controversial subject and we can see the merit in all of our customers viewpoints. Quality family time has a profound impact on children’s mental health and their adjustment to life but the harsh reality is that 66% of us (according to a UK wide survey conducted by Oliver’s Travels) wish we had taken our kids on more holidays when they were younger but didn’t because of lack of time or money.
“Maybe as this debate unravels further, we will see some solutions, which support both the learning objectives of children and the personal circumstances of the parents taking them on holiday.”