Parents to be fined

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Parents to be fined

It has been made a law in the UK that if a child does not attend school, then the parent can be fined or even prosecuted and spend time in prison.

What are your thoughts on this?

They advise that children should not be taken out of school during term time and if you require to do so, you have to book this through the head teacher (principal). They can decline your request and can choose how many days your child is or isn't allowed off.

Is this a bit OTT?

I read a story about a family who had taken their 3 kids out of school for a week to holiday in Greece. They were fined ?780 as this was in term time. The reason parents holiday during term time (I did it myself last year) is because the price to go on holiday is extremely high when the kids are out of school, compared to when they're not.

What is the solution?

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Anyone else see the boards as a big jumbly mess today?

I think that's ridiculous. The solution is for schools to lighten up. Learning doesn't just happen inside the classroom, and life is important too.

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This thread looks like a mess for me as well.

I disagree with dictating what parents can do with their own children. (Within reason)

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Anyone else see the boards as a big jumbly mess today?

I think that's ridiculous. The solution is for schools to lighten up. Learning doesn't just happen inside the classroom, and life is important too.

But what if some schools are having significant problems with this? While life is important, i don't think every parent is really that great at determining how much time out of school is too much. They have worked a request process into this policy and in a process like this, i would want the principal to be reasonable.

Interesting because initially i only read the first sentence of this debate and went off to do something else. I originally thought it was going to be about teenagers not showing up for class. Make me wonder though if a parent has intentions of getting their kid to school but the child skips out...is the parent going to get fined? I don't think i like that.

ETA: and the thread looks fine to me...maybe they fixed the problem?

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When I went to school and where DH works, if you miss X number of days you fail the grade. One year I had strep throat several times in the same year and they sent a letter home that I was missing too much school. I think it is reasonable to require a student to complete a set number of days to pass a grade. I do not however, believe it is reasonable to not allow a child who has not already missed their allotted amount of days to go on a one week vacation throughout the year. DH' s family lives all scattered and we try to get together once a year. This might be the only time in the year that some of the children see their cousins/grandparents. This is not as much an issue for us as we homeschool (although we still have to do our 180 days, we can just adjust our days), but it can be a major problem to match schedules. Here, schools get out at the end of May and go back the beginning of August. In NY they get out then end of June and go back after Labor Day. Some schools even go year round. There is no way for everyone to get together unless some kids miss school. In my opinion it is more important to keep those relationships alive than it is to miss one week of school. If a child is doing well, and has not already missed a ton from illness than missing one week will not hurt them.

Even in most jobs you would have X sick days and X personal or vacation days. A school child should not be treated an less.

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Also, this thread is most definitely still messed up...

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I dont know, I agree that a reasonable request should be granted. However, around here they will not hold a child back a grade. You can keep your kid out half the year and they still advance with their peers, but hugely behind. When a child is out sick for a large amount of time there are systems in place to help them stay up to date with their class (some larger districts go as far as having a roving teacher who brings the class work and tutors the child to keep them up to date). If it is not possible to keep the child up to date, then that child will need remedial help the next year to catch up. This often involves special work with pullouts, learning assistance, aides in or out of the classroom. These things cost money. As a tax payer I dont mind paying to catch up a child who had to be hospitalized or miss school due to injury or illness. I do have a problem paying to catch up a child whos parents didnt bother to send them to school, or took them on a 3 month long holiday in the middle of the school year (I have seen this happen), so yes, maybe it is a good thing to fine those parents, as long as the money goes back into the school district.

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Yeah having a cap on missed days seems to be a reasonable compromise. I guess i wouldn't see a need to define it any further than that.

In regards to the thread, maybe its browser specific. I use chrome, it looks good to me here.

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Nevermind, i finally got it to happen and it looks messed up to me now too. Looks like a CSS issue or something.

ETA: Doing a ctrl+refresh (ctrl+f5) fixes it for me again.

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I also use chrome and it looks good to me Smile

The problem I see with a cap on missed days, is it punishes a sick child which I dont think is fair. Also, there has been a lot of research on how it is detrimental to kids to remove them from their peer group by keeping them back, or moving them up a grade. I think there is times it is worth it, but it would make it much harder for a child who has been out sick for a long period of time to integrate back into the classroom.

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"ftmom" wrote:

I also use chrome and it looks good to me Smile

The problem I see with a cap on missed days, is it punishes a sick child which I dont think is fair.

Well yes, but if you have missed school and are too far behind then something must be done. Sure its unfair that its due to illness but life is unfair sometimes.

Also, there has been a lot of research on how it is detrimental to kids to remove them from their peer group by keeping them back, or moving them up a grade. I think there is times it is worth it, but it would make it much harder for a child who has been out sick for a long period of time to integrate back into the classroom.

To me this is a different debate. This is "what do you decide needs to be done after you have determined that too much school is missed" I think the cap on missed days is fine. If you miss school and are behind, it doesn't really matter if its due to illness or not, you need to catch back up! Its still common here to keep kids back a grade, if we ever switched to a different model, i would be open to that, but that doesn't really effect this idea of a "missed days cap"

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The board is a mess for me, on & off...fine one minute, a mess the next. I think it's the wallpaper ads.

I certainly think a cap makes sense, but if a kid is in school most of the time and then the parents want to take him/her out for a few days or a week, and the homework gets done, it's not a big deal. It seems a shame to miss out on travel, special days, etc. just because of a rigid rule.

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The schools lose money when a child is not present or has an excused absense. If you are going to pull your child from school for a non-excusable reason, and for a significant period of time (more than a week or two), then I do think you should have to pay a fine to make up that lost revenue because everything else is still in place -- teachers, staff, building, electricity -- and those fixed costs don't go down because children are absent. Whenever we take a long weekend for camping or other family activity, we call our kids in sick so the absence is excused and the school doesn't lose money.

That said, ITA that learning can take place outside of school, and ITA that family time is as important as school time. The principal should have flexibility to excuse a reasonable absense that would otherwise be unexcused, and the parents should be willing to take classwork along so that their child doesn't get behind. My sister missed a couple of good portions of her kindergarten year due to various hospitalizations, but her teacher sent home classwork and we did it with her at the hospital, so she stayed on track and moved to first grade on time. That was very reasonable, and that's how it should work. More recently, our school district changed the semester structure so summer break was a week shorter than it had been in the past, and many families who had made travel plans in advance discovered that they were coming back a week after school started. To make matters worse, our school district has a policy that if a student doesn't attend the first week, they will lose their place at that school! Everyone was panicked but thankfully the district waived that policy for anyone who got in touch with the principal ahead of time, and the absences were marked as excused. It wasn't the parents' fault that the district changed things so late.

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"Spacers" wrote:

The schools lose money when a child is not present or has an excused absense. If you are going to pull your child from school for a non-excusable reason, and for a significant period of time (more than a week or two), then I do think you should have to pay a fine to make up that lost revenue because everything else is still in place -- teachers, staff, building, electricity -- and those fixed costs don't go down because children are absent. Whenever we take a long weekend for camping or other family activity, we call our kids in sick so the absence is excused and the school doesn't lose money.

That said, ITA that learning can take place outside of school, and ITA that family time is as important as school time. The principal should have flexibility to excuse a reasonable absense that would otherwise be unexcused, and the parents should be willing to take classwork along so that their child doesn't get behind. My sister missed a couple of good portions of her kindergarten year due to various hospitalizations, but her teacher sent home classwork and we did it with her at the hospital, so she stayed on track and moved to first grade on time. That was very reasonable, and that's how it should work. More recently, our school district changed the semester structure so summer break was a week shorter than it had been in the past, and many families who had made travel plans in advance discovered that they were coming back a week after school started. To make matters worse, our school district has a policy that if a student doesn't attend the first week, they will lose their place at that school! Everyone was panicked but thankfully the district waived that policy for anyone who got in touch with the principal ahead of time, and the absences were marked as excused. It wasn't the parents' fault that the district changed things so late.

I'm pretty sure school funding being affected by attendance statistics is a state to state thing. I tried to find info on this for my own state but its not easy to find...at least super quickly.

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"Spacers" wrote:

The schools lose money when a child is not present or has an excused absense. If you are going to pull your child from school for a non-excusable reason, and for a significant period of time (more than a week or two), then I do think you should have to pay a fine to make up that lost revenue because everything else is still in place -- teachers, staff, building, electricity -- and those fixed costs don't go down because children are absent. Whenever we take a long weekend for camping or other family activity, we call our kids in sick so the absence is excused and the school doesn't lose money.

That said, ITA that learning can take place outside of school, and ITA that family time is as important as school time. The principal should have flexibility to excuse a reasonable absense that would otherwise be unexcused, and the parents should be willing to take classwork along so that their child doesn't get behind. My sister missed a couple of good portions of her kindergarten year due to various hospitalizations, but her teacher sent home classwork and we did it with her at the hospital, so she stayed on track and moved to first grade on time. That was very reasonable, and that's how it should work. More recently, our school district changed the semester structure so summer break was a week shorter than it had been in the past, and many families who had made travel plans in advance discovered that they were coming back a week after school started. To make matters worse, our school district has a policy that if a student doesn't attend the first week, they will lose their place at that school! Everyone was panicked but thankfully the district waived that policy for anyone who got in touch with the principal ahead of time, and the absences were marked as excused. It wasn't the parents' fault that the district changed things so late.

I do not think pressure should be put on students or parents to never miss a day due to the school loosing funding.

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Why not? As a society we're spending a lot of money to set up and operate schools so that our children will be ready to take the reins when they grow up. Schools are not cheap, and students should be in them as much as possible, not only for their own good but for society's good. There are excused absences for which the school still receives funding -- illness, medical appointments, funerals, religious holidays, and for "justifiable personal reasons" which must be requested in writing and approved by the principal before the absence occurs. If you're going to take your child out of school for something that you believe is better for them than school, then you should either do it in a way that doesn't cost the school money, or you should be prepared to make up that money to the school.

Looks like California has a similar law. I was just looking up our attendance policy and I noticed this:
[FONT=ArialMT][SIZE=2][LEFT]

Effective January 1, 2011 Penal Code Sec. 270.1 took affect and makes it a misdemeanor [punishable by a fine not
exceeding $2,000] for parents of students age 6 or over in kindergarten through grade 8, to not send their child to school on a regular basis.

[/LEFT][/SIZE][/FONT]

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"Spacers" wrote:

Why not? As a society we're spending a lot of money to set up and operate schools so that our children will be ready to take the reins when they grow up. Schools are not cheap, and students should be in them as much as possible, not only for their own good but for society's good. There are excused absences for which the school still receives funding -- illness, medical appointments, funerals, religious holidays, and for "justifiable personal reasons" which must be requested in writing and approved by the principal before the absence occurs. If you're going to take your child out of school for something that you believe is better for them than school, then you should either do it in a way that doesn't cost the school money, or you should be prepared to make up that money to the school.

Looks like California has a similar law. I was just looking up our attendance policy and I noticed this:
[FONT=ArialMT][SIZE=2][LEFT][/LEFT][/SIZE][/FONT]

I just did a quick google search and it appears to me, at least in many places that it does not matter if it is an excused absence or not, the school does not receive funding if the child is absent. Either way, I do not believe a child or even the parents should be made to feel guilty for occasionally missing school. Property owners have to pay taxes whether or not their child is in school. They are ALREADY paying for the privilege of using the school and will be doing so long after their children graduate. The student and parents do not owe the school anything further.

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Also, this is just another way to put a divide between the poor/ well off students. Poor students would have to attend no matter what due to not being able to afford fines. The wealthy students could just pay to have special favour.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

Well yes, but if you have missed school and are too far behind then something must be done. Sure its unfair that its due to illness but life is unfair sometimes.

I addressed this in my first post. Something IS done. And those things require funding, which is why I agree with a fine, as long as it is going to the schools to pay for learning assistance, etc.

To me this is a different debate. This is "what do you decide needs to be done after you have determined that too much school is missed" I think the cap on missed days is fine. If you miss school and are behind, it doesn't really matter if its due to illness or not, you need to catch back up! Its still common here to keep kids back a grade, if we ever switched to a different model, i would be open to that, but that doesn't really effect this idea of a "missed days cap"

See, in our province, there is no 'what do you do' question. As a teacher, I have no choice but to pass that child on to the next grade.

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Another thing I have been thinking about with this 'missed days cap' idea, is that different children can afford to miss different amounts of time from the classroom. I have known kids who suffer if they miss a few days for illness, because they are barely keeping up to begin with, and others who could easily miss a month with no noticeable detriment to their learning. I also think that it makes a difference how the days are taken. We have recently started mandatory full time kindergarten here. It is a lot for many kids and the recommendation I have heard for those kids is (if you can), give them an 'optional' day once a week. So, the child might choose to stay home and rest every Thursday instead of going to school. I know teachers who prefer parents do this instead of sending a tired, overworked kid in who wont benefit from the day anyways. This is hugely different then taking your child out of class for a month straight, but would look the same in terms of days missed.

What I like about this system is there is some discretion for the principal, hopefully in consultation with the classroom teacher to day whether 'this' child can afford to miss these days.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Also, this is just another way to put a divide between the poor/ well off students. Poor students would have to attend no matter what due to not being able to afford fines. The wealthy students could just pay to have special favour.

This is not exactly true. There is a provision to request to take the time, which anyone can do. The only privilege for the will off students is that they can ignore it if their request is denied. HOWEVER, if this system is done correctly, it would actually be to these students detriment to ignore the school saying they cant take the time, as it would put them behind in their education.

As things stand now (here at least) anyone can take any time they want, and the more well off families can afford tutors to catch their children back up. So this is not creating a divide that didnt already exist, what it would force though, is for those well off families who choose to go away anyways to pay back into the school, which would benefit everyone.

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How can you seriously fine a child for not being in a place that he is not legally required to be? Children are not required to go to any particular school (They can home school or go private). The next thing you will say is that any child who does not go to public school they will need to pay because the school is then not getting the funding. No, they are ALREADY paying. They pay in their taxes. I think requiring students to pay huge fines is a grave injustice and is breaching the right to a FREE public school. I just do not see how it could possibly be right or legal.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

How can you seriously fine a child for not being in a place that he is not legally required to be? Children are not required to go to any particular school (They can home school or go private). The next thing you will say is that any child who does not go to public school they will need to pay because the school is then not getting the funding. No, they are ALREADY paying. They pay in their taxes. I think requiring students to pay huge fines is a grave injustice and is breaching the right to a FREE public school. I just do not see how it could possibly be right or legal.

Ummm....here a child is legally required to attend school. That can take different forms, including home school, distance ed, private, public, ect. But they are required to attend school. If a parent is choosing to take their child out of school often enough that it is a detriment to their education, then it is actually the parent that is interfering with that childs right to an education, and in that case, the parent should have to pay a fine, IMO.

Like you said, as a home schooler you are required to do a set number of days a year. Why should other families be exempt from that requirement. Obviously we cannot extend the school year to account for ALL children, but I think it is reasonable to hold families accountable in SOME way.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

How can you seriously fine a child for not being in a place that he is not legally required to be? Children are not required to go to any particular school (They can home school or go private). The next thing you will say is that any child who does not go to public school they will need to pay because the school is then not getting the funding. No, they are ALREADY paying. They pay in their taxes. I think requiring students to pay huge fines is a grave injustice and is breaching the right to a FREE public school. I just do not see how it could possibly be right or legal.

Children are legally required to attend *A* school every day, not a particular school. If you are going to pull your child out of school for a month for family travel, then you should register with the state as a home school or sign up your child for independent study with the public school, and not just take them out unexcused. There are many, many ways to get around this and avoid a fine. The basic premise is, the kids need to be schooled, somewhere, somehow, and it's up to the parents to make that happen. If they don't take advantage of one of the many legal options, then they deserve to pay a fine.

Our school is filled to capacity. It's actually more than full as we have a class in what used to be the library and no physical library at the moment. We also have a waiting list of kids who want to attend our school because it's closer to home or where their parents work, or they want a school with a garden or whatever reason; they are currently attending other schools while waiting to see if a spot will open up. Why should we hold open spots in classrooms, and lose money because of it, for kids who aren't there for weeks at a time, because their parents would prefer to save money on travel during the school year? That's just ridiculous.

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"ftmom" wrote:

Like you said, as a home schooler you are required to do a set number of days a year. Why should other families be exempt from that requirement. Obviously we cannot extend the school year to account for ALL children, but I think it is reasonable to hold families accountable in SOME way.

Children are required to go to school somewhere, not a particular school. My point was how could the local school charge a fine for not being in school when they are not required to be at that school.

Public schools build in days for students to be out for various reasons. As I gave in my example, most jobs have allowances in the work place for sick days as well as personal/vacation days. An example would be 3 weeks of sick time and 2 weeks of vacation time. It is crazy to think that a student or parent would be fined for taking equal time.

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Our district allows up to 5 pre-arranged absences for family vacations and such. That doesn't include sick days. I like this option, since it does allow for some family trips while keeping it in check. I also think they allow some additional days for college visits.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Children are required to go to school somewhere, not a particular school. My point was how could the local school charge a fine for not being in school when they are not required to be at that school.

Unless the children have been properly transferred to another school, they need to be at *that* school or they are considered truant. If the kids are enrolled at any other school, then they aren't truant and their parents won't be fined. Why is that so difficult to understand?

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Children are required to go to school somewhere, not a particular school. My point was how could the local school charge a fine for not being in school when they are not required to be at that school.

Public schools build in days for students to be out for various reasons. As I gave in my example, most jobs have allowances in the work place for sick days as well as personal/vacation days. An example would be 3 weeks of sick time and 2 weeks of vacation time. It is crazy to think that a student or parent would be fined for taking equal time.

Children are required to be at A SCHOOL (or other options already discussed). They need to be registered as such, and attend on a regular basis. You cannot register at the local elementary school and then home school your child, you need to register as a home schooler. It is only the parents of children REGISTERED and attending the school that can be fined.

Public schools do build in time off. They are called summer, winter and spring vacation. If kids miss a big chunk of time other than that they cant just pick up where they left off like you can with your girls. They are now behind the rest of the class and additional resources must be used to catch them up.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Children are required to go to school somewhere, not a particular school. My point was how could the local school charge a fine for not being in school when they are not required to be at that school.

Public schools build in days for students to be out for various reasons. As I gave in my example, most jobs have allowances in the work place for sick days as well as personal/vacation days. An example would be 3 weeks of sick time and 2 weeks of vacation time. It is crazy to think that a student or parent would be fined for taking equal time.

The school isn't charging a fine; it's the court system (at least in my area). The school never sees a dime of it.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

Make me wonder though if a parent has intentions of getting their kid to school but the child skips out...is the parent going to get fined? I don't think i like that.

From what I read, if you're showing that you're trying to get your child to attend school then you won't be fined.

xx

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Also, this is just another way to put a divide between the poor/ well off students. Poor students would have to attend no matter what due to not being able to afford fines. The wealthy students could just pay to have special favour.

I don't think that would be the case. A parent can be prosecuted and even spend time in prison if it's seen that they are not helping to get their child to attend school. If a wealthy family decided to take their child out frequently, just because they could afford the fine I'm sure they would be treated the same way.

xx

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

How can you seriously fine a child for not being in a place that he is not legally required to be? Children are not required to go to any particular school (They can home school or go private). The next thing you will say is that any child who does not go to public school they will need to pay because the school is then not getting the funding. No, they are ALREADY paying. They pay in their taxes. I think requiring students to pay huge fines is a grave injustice and is breaching the right to a FREE public school. I just do not see how it could possibly be right or legal.

I think the law was initially for parents of children who were playing truent and nothing was being done about it.

xx

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Parents told to force schools to change term times so they can take children on cheaper holidays | Mail Online

In the UK, all the schools are out at the same time throughout the year.

1 week in Feb
2 weeks in March/April for Easter
1 week in June for TT (Isle of Man only)
6 weeks from end of July until beginning of Sept for summer
1 week in October for halloween
2 weeks for Christmas & New Year

The article above is saying that schools should basically alternate their weeks off. Do you think this would help?

Out of interest, how many weeks holidays does your kids school have during the school year?

xx

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"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

Parents told to force schools to change term times so they can take children on cheaper holidays | Mail Online

In the UK, all the schools are out at the same time throughout the year.

1 week in Feb
2 weeks in March/April for Easter
1 week in June for TT (Isle of Man only)
6 weeks from end of July until beginning of Sept for summer
1 week in October for halloween
2 weeks for Christmas & New Year

The article above is saying that schools should basically alternate their weeks off. Do you think this would help?

Out of interest, how many weeks holidays does your kids school have during the school year?

xx

I think we probably end up with about the same amount off, but times vary.

2 weeks at Christmas
2 weeks during spring (usually corresponds to easter, but varies by province and sometimes district)
2 months in the summer (end of June, to beginning of September, start and end dates vary by province, but usually start after labour day)

The best one of those for cheaper, less crowded holidays is spring break, though it is the worst one for getting cousins together to visit (our family stretches over 3 provinces).

We also have at least one 3 day weekend a month, and a few 4 day ones, like Easter.

Oh, and I am in Canada Smile

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"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

Parents told to force schools to change term times so they can take children on cheaper holidays | Mail Online

In the UK, all the schools are out at the same time throughout the year.

1 week in Feb
2 weeks in March/April for Easter
1 week in June for TT (Isle of Man only)
6 weeks from end of July until beginning of Sept for summer
1 week in October for halloween
2 weeks for Christmas & New Year

The article above is saying that schools should basically alternate their weeks off. Do you think this would help?

Out of interest, how many weeks holidays does your kids school have during the school year?

xx

DH works in a school, so I will give you those times. 1 week or 3 days for Fall break depending on the calendar they decide on, 1 week or 3 days for Thanksgiving depending on the calendar (If Fall break was a week, then Thanksgiving would not be), 2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Spring break, and 2 1/2 months for summer.