Posted: Apr 16, 2019 11:49 am
by Spearthrower
Fallible wrote:I think whether you agree with the fine or not, how things are right now make no sense. The problem isn't a school problem, it's a problem within the tourism industry - that they choose to capitalise on the fact that families are constrained to take holidays during certain weeks of the year. You'd expect nothing less from a money making enterprise. Companies aren't going to respond to complaints about the price hike, so apparently parents decide to go for what they see as the path of least resistance in their quest to save money.

This discussion is moving far away from the topic of the thread, albeit acknowledging that it was me who introduced it as a means of highlighting how I have lost some sense of schooling in the UK. But as we're here now, I will say that I came from a benefits family, and the only time we ever went on holiday was in the off-season. Not off-season for airplane travel as I never flew anywhere until I'd all been and groweded up after I was proparly edukated. I mean off-season for caravan parks on the south coast a hundred miles from home!

If back then my parents had been faced with a fine, we wouldn't have been able to go on holiday at all. I can't see how that's meant to be a superior situation for a child from any perspective, even educationally. My recollection of family holidays is that they were pretty abysmal, all things considered, but they were at least a change of scenery once a year.

Fallible wrote:A lot argue that a couple of weeks off makes no discernible difference to the progress of their child. I don't think they're considering just how much things have changed since they were at school. Schools are facing unprecedented pressure for children to perform to increasingly high standards, and a couple of weeks off certainly do make a difference in this atmosphere. That of course does not make the pressure right. It just means that schools and teachers are harangued from both sides at once. We expect you to achieve the results, but we also expect you to be fine with our child taking a chunk of time out from school so that we can save money. Add to that the fact that even with a fine it's still cheaper to go in term time, and you have a situation where nothing is solved, except for the parent who doesn't mind paying the school for their child's absence while still paying less than they would during the holidays.

For me, the problem is specifically located in the 3rd sentence. This isn't about kids or what's best for them, it's about school performance demands, league tables, and rankings. Why should kids lives be diminished for bean-counting purposes?

Given that we know through ample studies that professionals perform worse without breaks, why wouldn't we also expect that of kids? Education is vital as I've argued here in the past many times, but it's not only in school where that education is achieved.

I sense there is actually a link between these 2 points - again, I am far away and it's hard to get a sense of what's happening on a fine-grain level in the UK, but it seems like schools are being corporatized, and kids being treated like little budding workers. While I'd like to knee-jerk into believing this is all about the Tories, I have to say I imagine a lot of this happened under Nu Labour too. It's no wonder that reports suggest 40% of teachers are expecting to leave the profession in the next 5 years - I know what motivates most teachers (I was one for many years) and I can't imagine many would want to be complicit in this while also being paid shit for the privilege.