The logistical nightmare begins for many this week as parents across the country juggle their lives around the October half-term break. No doubt leaving many to question whether this is one school holiday too many.
Now I think I need to be upfront and stress that I am not a parent. I am, however, a witness to the pressure many face during school holidays.
And as a parent of the future, the logistics and costs of childcare is becoming increasingly worrying. How will I cope, how do my friends cope, how do you cope?
With only myself and my fiancé to think about when planning our holiday, the toughest part in deciding when to go involves avoiding work deadlines and the date of the FA Cup final – well you never know!
Having my future holidays dictated by our children’s school is not something I look forward to, and without a family network within commuting distance, this type of assistance is a no-go too. And it always seems to be the grandparents who bear the brunt of childcare anyway – I’ve spotted many a weary couple recuperating by the beach on my holidays.
The cost of a half-term holiday
Even those of us who have planned to take time off this week will have faced a planning headache. The Which? Holiday team received two conflicting reports on the same day about whether holiday prices had increased or been slashed for the half-term.
Research by The Co-operative Travel, for example, says that the price of family holiday to Turkey is down by a third compared to last year’s half-term. But Santander Cards found that the price of half-term family holidays could be up to 135% higher than in the week after, when school reopens. This just leaves parents guessing as to whether they should book future holidays early or wait for last minute deals.
It’s not just the parent’s that are affected either. What about the rest of us left back in the office having to work with depleted staff numbers? As we carry out our daily jobs, a crowd of colleagues exit the building amidst a mass of confusing emails detailing random days off and re-scheduled working hours. Our only consolation is that our commute home will be quicker.
Do school holidays need to be better distributed throughout the year, or should we scrap some of them altogether? And what else can be done to help out parents during the school break?