Is it okay to take your kids out of school for a holiday?

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thursday, 17 January 2019, 8:36AM
Is it okay to take kids out of school for a holiday? Photo / Getty Images.

Parents taking their kids out of school for a holiday is a common occurrence at this time of year, however, a high school principal says there are a few things to consider before jumping on a plane. 

Wellington Girls principal, Julia Davidson, told Tim Dower taking kids on holiday can be a fantastic experience but it can cause kids to fall behind.

"The whole benefit is going on the holiday and having the experience of being overseas and living in a different way and having to cope in different countries...and you hope they pick up some of the history as they go, or that they are connecting with family."

"I guess the main issue is that you hope the kids will catch up with work when they get back, and with things being online a lot of kids manage to do that pretty well, so I think there are huge benefits for kids going away."

"My concern is when they go during NCEA years because that suddenly becomes a much bigger issue."

Davidson's advice for parents who want to take their kids on holiday is to "do it early", ideally before they reach year 10 and to avoid doing it when they have exams. 

She said it is a common occurrence for parents to take their kids out of class for long periods of time.

"Often in the second and third terms, particularly around break time, you get the extended breaks for people who are going to work in the Nothern hemisphere or going to visit family and want to take kids out of school for a week, or two, or three, or five."

Davidson said schools can't officially stop parents from doing it but they strongly discourage it.

"You're not allowed to say no, all you can say is that it's not approved officially by the Ministry of Education."

"They [the Ministry of Education] give us 26 codes for student absences and we have to write back and say that we don't approve it but, of course, we understand that these opportunities come up."

"We don't set work, we tell the students to catch up when they get back and often it's a really fantastic opportunity for families, they might not have done it before, it's a wonderful thing to do but it does have an impact obviously."

She said there are no statistics to show whether it has a negative or positive impact on students' education.

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