Travel is Education - the campaignI am sure most people will be aware that recently the Department of Education made a rule change which has made it more difficult for parents to get permission to take their children out of school during term time to go on family holidays. There is a very interesting campaign running by FHR.com called Travel is Education which outlines The Rules, the Schools' position and the Families' position and some further discussions in the form of articles from bloggers which proves to be a very worthwhile read.
My ViewsI am of the opinion that travel can be hugely educational for children. I believe exposure to different cultures, languages, environments and people can be extremely beneficial to kids and parents should not be penalised for taking their children out of school, within reason, to do so.
When I say "within reason" I think some important things should be considered.
Firstly, an effort should be made to minimise the time that is missed due to a holiday. I think it is safe to say that we all know if you are pricing up a holiday abroad, often the variance of a day or two either side of the school holiday period can make a vast difference, it can suddenly make a holiday affordable and why should responsible parents not be allowed to take advantage of this?
Secondly, communication with the teachers is paramount to check that important examinations, assessments or crucial coursework will not be missed. If it is then I think parents need to reconsider booking that holiday.
Finally I think that parents need to ensure that they are aware of what the child / children will be missing while absent so that they can help them catch up before their return without the need for the teacher to waste valuable time on the child's return doing so.
My belief is a simple one, as long as parents are reasonable in their requests, then the teachers should be willing to be flexible. I think parents need to work with teachers, not dissimilar to when a child misses a chunk of school due to an illness, the parent should do what they can to help the child catch up on what is missed while absent.
Our Last Holiday
Our last family holiday, albeit during school holidays, was spent in Rhodes with our then Reception class, five year old son, Ben and one year old twins, Zoey and Zachary. As we went during half term it definitely cost us more than it would have if we had been able to fly a few days later or earlier. There we not only enjoyed quality family time together but experienced a myriad of different cultures, food, visited historical sights such as the Acropolis of Rhodes, Rhodes Old town and even fitted in a geography lesson when we ventured by boat to Turkey and Ben saw just how close the two countries are together bringing what he saw on his atlas to life.
My children all picked up some Greek words while we were on holidays greeting the hotel staff with "Kalimera" and "Kalispera" and my son joined in the Greek night dancing at the hotel and learned the traditional dance which he loved. There was a clear thirst for knowledge and inquisitiveness in my son who wanted to know more about the people and things in this new country that he was being exposed to. This kind of education cannot be learned in a classroom no matter what efforts a teacher may go to bring it to the children. I really do believe Travel is Education and wish that there could be more flexibility to the Department of Education's rules so that it is easier for more families to go on holidays abroad together at times that may prove more affordable or indeed fit around the demands of some parents work commitments.
*Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with FHR Airport Services.