/ Parenting, Travel & Leisure

Not another school holiday!

Cheeky children on beech with parents

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?

Comments
Member

Think of the stress this would cause the already over stressed teachers!!

I speak from the experience of over 30 years of teaching in an East London Slum School. Many of the short holidays were taken up by preparing new lessons for new curriculum. I worked on average 60 hours a week during term time – much without pay.

Frankly if I had had to give up my 6 weeks long summer holiday – I would have left after the first year – just as many of my colleagues did – The stress is enormous.

To help parents – send the children to camp.

It makes no difference if you move the holidays – the costs will always rise at school holiday time – called supply and demand, Think about it – teachers suffer this too.

Member
Mrs P says:
26 May 2015

I think we’re also forgetting the crippling stress felt by exam students! They need this time crucially to get through revision and prepare appropriately for upcoming exams and for them these holidays are extremely important revision time, especially Winter, Easter and May half terms!

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
26 October 2010

People who call for fewer school holidays usually have never taught a day in their lives (daughter and granddaughter of teachers speaking).

Camps are a good idea. If they could be subsidised (I know, this is not the right political time to suggest this) all children could benefit from them, not just those whose parents could afford it, and it would take children to new environments, get them to see new things, especially those who wouldn’t travel anyway, and for those who do it would be different from holidays with their parents. Camps would open their minds, get to work as teams, make them more rounded people maybe. And so on and so forth.

Member

It is not only the school staff who need a break – this is vital for the children too. An essential part of a young person’s education is the activities they do outside school and especially during school holidays. If parents can’t face spending a week with their children, then maybe they should have realised they weren’t fit to be parents in the first place!

Member

I actually agree – I think kids should perhaps even have more holidays, or perhaps longer ones (Christmas holidays are too short). They’re going to spend most of their life working, so I don’t see why they can’t have some fun time with their family and friends now.

Member
frank says:
2 May 2011

It’s not the spending the week, it is not having the holidays to take, unless we take them unpaid.
A lot of people dont actually see this point though do they!
Most people are working for less money now than they have ever.
Too many companies see the amount of unemployment and know that if you do not want to work for a lesser pay then someone else will.

Member
frank says:
2 May 2011

It’s not the spending the week, it is not having the holidays to take, unless we take them unpaid.
A lot of people dont actually see this point though do they!
Most people are working for less money now than they have ever.
Too many companies see the amount of unemployment and know that if you do not want to work for a lesser pay then someone else will.

Member

If you live in Leicestershire, of course, the autumn half-term holiday is out of kilter with most other authorities (being set a week earlier) so families can take advantage of cheaper holidays if they want to.
Our children are now grown up with families of their own. All I can say is that we always looked forward to our children being at home during school holidays and we planned activities in advance for the family to do. I should say, however, that my wife chose to give up her career to become a full-time mother/housewife when the first of our three children arrived. We found surviving on one wage very difficult indeed initially (I worked some evenings as well as full time during the day) and it was hard not to have many of the material things that other families enjoyed. Nevertheless, we feel this was more than repaid in a very happy family life and we continue to enjoy a very close family relationship. We would do exactly the same if we had our time again!

Member

Surely, in 2010, it’s not beyond the capabilities of the Local Government Association to distribute half-terms around the country so that most of them don’t all fall at the same time? Wow, there’s a job for a pen-pushing civil servant to investigate and justify taxpayers’, er, tax. Ah, but that might upset the one in several thousand parents whose children attend schools in different authorities. We can’t have that 🙂

As for teachers in holidays.. if most of them are ‘working’ (all that ‘lesson planning’ for that ever-changing curriculum, yes, crazy 🙂 ) how come they don’t go into t