By Miss Pollyanna, 31st October 2015

Take your Kids out of School for a Holiday… or Two!

4 Life-Changing Reasons why they'll Thank you.

4 Life-Changing Reasons why they’ll Thank you.

Rules are there to be broken. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. They are. However we live in a world where we’re so used to being told what to do; we cling to convention as a snail would its shell… often without even questioning the rhyme or reason behind it. That was until Jon Platt dared to challenge the notion that children should not be taken out of their Great British educational establishment during term time for a holiday. Well all hail that man.

“I cannot allow a local education authority to tell me what is right for my kids – I know what is best for my kids. My kids’ education is absolutely critically important to me but I’m also responsible for their welfare. If I think it will do them the world of good to go on holiday to Disney with the 17 people who love them the most in the world I will do that…”
ferris wheel
Mr Platt discovered a ‘loophole’ in the law; the big fat juicy delicious Section 444 of the Education Act which requires parents to ensure their children attend school ‘regularly’… giving parents of children who do pretty much that, carte blanche to follow suit. Easy Jet brace yourself.

Here are 7 reasons your children will envelope you in hugs full of gratitude for adopting similarly maverick behaviour:

1: You will open their minds
The older we get, the more likely we are to stay in our comfort zones. When kids get the opportunity to experience new countries and cultures at a young age, they are more likely to develop a healthy curiosity about the world as they grow up. They are more accepting of other races and religions. They are more willing to try new foods and languages. This can only be an extremely positive thing. If a family has more disposable income to take their children out of school during term time since the prices are double in August… surely it is better that these children get to benefit from this experience, than not at all?
family vacation
2: You will inspire new passions
Yes, this point does lead on from the last. But it is so true. Would your son have had the opportunity to scuba dive if you hadn’t taken that trip to Egypt in June (when he should have been at school?) Of course, I know some of you are going to tell me he could wait and do it as an adult… sensibly learning about the volcanoes of the world in his geography class instead. But would his seed for the Spanish language have been so firmly planted prior to his GCSEs if you hadn’t jetted off as a family to Valencia a week before the end of term (because it was the only way you could ALL afford to go)? Sometimes we need to take a leap of faith while our kids’ passions and curiosities are latent. Perhaps they will never unfold otherwise. What’s to say that if we don’t follow our gut instinct and make that booking now, our son grows up instead to be an armchair traveler… petrified to step on a plane, boat or the Eurostar but quite content to watch others do it for him from the safety of his TV screen? I can’t tell you how many grown men – and women – I know who have succumbed to just that. And it is sad. Very sad. For the world is our oyster. And that extends to everybody And as for our daughters: might they be inspired to follow a culinary career in Patisserie because we whisked them away for a long weekend to Paris, will they embark upon a Formula 1 fueled academia of engineering after a visit to the Malaysian Grand Prix, or did our family visit to Lundy Island off the Bristol Channel thrill them so much that they just have to get involved in marine conservation?
disney
3: Disney is a right of passage for every child
Love it or loathe it, it’s absolutely true. Disney IS the epitome of the happy and joyful life that all children deserve. Yet for many a family, the only way to Paris or America is categorically during term time. Because the prices are so inflated and crazy during the traditional holidays. And so just like Jon Platt, take the initiative and go when not only the costs are easier to bear, but so are the queues and the heat. Why should your kids miss out just because you aren’t rolling in it and happy to fritter away double the price? Yes, we can all be big kids at heart and return to Disney in adulthood, and at any time of year. But frankly, tell me, what’s the difference between your child being off school sick for a week and your child being off school at Disney? The latter is definitely going to be doing the most wonders for their immune system. And in both cases, work can easily be caught up with. It’s only a few days!

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4: They will learn more in a week on holiday than they ever could in the classroom
This is without a doubt one of the best pieces of advice my primary school teacher ever gave my parents. Okay, I was lucky. I attended a village school, and later a small town high school whose views were very relaxed over term time holidays. I remember one or two kids having gone to Australia and New Zealand for a month at a time to visit their family! I recall two of my best buddies deserting me (sob!) for two whole weeks – which just happened to collide – as they holidayed with their parents in Greece. And I myself was transported to Cyprus, Portugal, Mallorca, Malta, Tenerife, Kos during the last week of term. Did I miss out? No. I was too busy visiting historical monuments, honing my map reading skills for my parents who’d decided it was a good idea to hire a car and negotiate the hairpin bends of the Troodos mountains, devouring Kleftiko and Baklava, venturing up the (fortunately) dormant Mount Teide in a rickety cable car above the clouds, watching dancers in national costume strutting their stuff, taking boat rides to lagoons, encoding mysterious languages and learning the art of making friends with children whose language we didn’t share. Of course we swam, sunbathed and ate copious amounts of ice cream too. But would my senses ever had feasted upon so much variety, so many new and unique experiences in the classroom? Of course not.

So it’s a no-brainer. Book your term time break today. Jon Platt did this for his daughter. But he also did it for all of us. Now we have the green light to take our holidays and adventures into our own hands, live our lives, spend less money in the process AND prove to any remaining stubborn educational traditionalists that we’ll have more enlightened children as a result of it.

Just, whatever you do, make sure their school attendance is really, really good first!

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