What Happens If My Kids Miss School To Go On Holiday?

While it’s not recommended many can see the reason why a parent would take a child on holiday during term time.

My son starts primary school in September and it’s just a massive milestone, isn’t it? So much impending change and the end of an era as we welcome this brand new chapter.
There are so many adjustments and changes of routine to be expected but do you know what is phasing me the most? The fact that our days of off-peak holidays are gone. I know, cry me a river right?
They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and this is especially true for us in this case. We love to go on a sun holiday every year. The canaries more specifically. We’ve been going to the same resort for years now and my husband is a dab hand at finding a good deal.
Until now we’ve been able to go at any time of the year. Typically we’ve gone in May or September when it’s considered off-peak (because the kids are all in school) but the weather is still brilliant.
This year “the kids” includes us. We have one of them. We have an actual school going kid and suddenly going on holiday in May or September just isn’t really an option anymore.

Let’s talk about the price. I genuinely cannot believe just how well we’ve been doing for the past couple of years. We’ve been getting some amazing deals now that I look back in hindsight.
The difference in price between going on holiday off-peak or on-peak is quite unbelievable. I can see now why so many people simply cannot afford to go on holiday because going in June, July or August at those prices would be really, really difficult for us financially.

So where does that leave us? Can’t we just be a bit cheeky and keep the kid off school for a couple of days so we can secure a good deal? I know it’s technically not allowed but would there actually be any major consequences?
If this were the UK there might actually be a penalty fee if your child missed school without the absence being authorised by the school. The fine could be £50-£70 per child which could actually negate a lot of the off-peak financial savings for a family that has a couple of children. The education authority in the UK advises schools to deny requests for time off school unless the circumstances are exceptional.

As it turns out there are no major repercussions if you do the same thing in Ireland. Tulsa will intervene if a child misses more than twenty days in the school year but, in general, before this happens they have no record of why a child has missed school and if it was for a holiday.

This is something that Irish teachers see all the time. While it’s not recommended many can see the reason why a parent would take a child on holiday during term time. It may be the only financially feasible time to do so. Many teachers also acknowledge that trips can be extremely enriching and educational for the child too.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue is the sense of disturbance. When a child is missing for a couple of days it can impact the entire class and the way a teacher conducts lessons. The greater concern may be the way this disturbance might affect your child. Missing school can lead to a child falling behind, struggling with returning to the routine and ultimately losing confidence in their abilities.

In the end, this is a very personal choice for parents. It is a topic that divides parents and teachers hugely and it seems to be a pretty even split. So where do you sit? I have a bit of time to make up my mind on this one but I’ve (annoyingly) always been a follow-the-rules kind of girl.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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