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Sunshine Coast holiday a life changing experience for our Children

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, August 11th, 2015 - 139 comments
Categories: education, Ethics, law, uncategorized - Tags:

Recently while on Holiday in a very sunny spot, without children of my own, several sets of parents explained to me that although they had taken the children out of school, it was a good opportunity for the children to experience a different way of life.

That these parents were in the 5 star Sofitel Hotel, on the luxurious man-made island of Denarau in Fiji, where staff are paid approximately $80 a week to serve children gaining this “experience” of ” a different way of life”, seemed lost on these parents.

Some parents do it. Take their children out of school to go holidaying in the middle of winter to somewhere warmer and without the extra costs of school holiday airfares and accommodation.

But is swimming all day in a pool at the luxurious Denarau suite of high class hotels a learning experience? Spending days in water parks in Queensland life expanding?

Some of these same people bemoan children staying home to nurse younger siblings in our poorer areas and castigate their parents notwithstanding the parents may both have to be at work to make their S14.50 per hour work for the family. Those they say, are bad parents.

Is there a giant double standard here? The Law is only for the bad parents, and those taking winter holidays to the sun with their children can’t be bad parents. Can they? Have they obtained the necessary exemption from the school Principal?

27 Principal may exempt from attendance for short period

(1)If satisfied that a student’s absence was or will be justified, the principal of the school may exempt the student from attending the school for a period of no more than 5 school days.

(2)The parent of a student exempted under subsection (1) is not subject to section 25 in respect of the student for the period to which the exemption relates.

(3)In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a certificate from the principal of a school that—

(a) a student was absent from the school for any period; and
(b)the principal is not satisfied that the absence was justified,—

is proof that the student was absent for that period without being exempted under subsection (1).

(4)For the purposes of subsection (3), judicial notice shall be taken of the appointment and signature of every principal.

s27 Education Act 1989

Read the stuff.co.nz opinion piece which caught my eye this morning here which also discusses the UK context and how they respond.

139 comments on “Sunshine Coast holiday a life changing experience for our Children ”

  1. shorts 1

    If we could afford the luxury of taking the boys somewhere (locally or offshore) we would – though last pick would be a soulless resort to soak in some sun…

    There are options to give your children experiences that will help shape them as people with the additional bonus of forming memories they hold dear for life

    One of the youngsters had a fortnight off due to an injury – their teachers and school were most supportive and provided us with homework and reading suggestions to keep them up to date with what they were missing and also to extend them a little – the same can be done for on holiday

    I’d never blindly follow the education system in deciding whats right for the youngsters (and ourselves) in our care… nor would I put any merit in a stuff opinion peice

    • tracey 1.1

      The opinion piece was one point of view. It was not intended to set in stone the only “right” answer. That is why it is in a post, which asks questions to promote discussion.

      You do get that an injury or accident is different from a conscious decision to save money on a holiday by taking children out of school during term time?

      • shorts 1.1.1

        its a very simplistic point of view designed to frame a (potential) issue… without context we leap to conclusions and judgements (as its designed)

        I do appreciate injury and holidays are different, how a child uses their time when out of school is my point, which applies to both

        • tracey

          so you see the law as subordinate to a parents desire to go on a holiday? bearing in mi d the holiday could have been taken in the 2 prior weeks

          • shorts

            yep – as long as the school is informed and aren’t going to be dicks about the kids going back

            • tracey

              bad law should be changed. i wonder why it is still there?

              • shorts

                I didn’t say the law should be changed, its there for good reason, no doubt

                I do believe schools can judge and gauge (within reason) when the law should be applied in the childs best interests and when it shouldn’t

                I’d hate to think you’re advocating a straightjacket approach to children and their parents lives…

                • tracey

                  but just not for you and your children?

                  If you are not following it and don’t think you should be bound by s27 why would you want it kept?

                  • shorts

                    its academic in our case because like most we can’t afford holidays offshore and as I said if we could it wouldn’t be for some beach resort, we’d go see museums and art galleries and take in some music etc (i.e. we value culture over a pool)

                    I believe schools should be empowered to do what is best for the students in their care – if that means extending the time they have off with their parents/care givers then so be it

          • Nessalt

            what about those parents who can’t afford a peak season holiday? should they and the kids miss out on their opportunity just so teachers can rigidly stick to a 9-5 schedule? why does everyone have to be flexible around schools? i’m amazed that education hours aren’t more flexible to allow for the differing situations of parents. particularly those in low decile schools whose parents most likely work horrific hours.

            • tracey

              Is an overseas holiday a human right now Nassalt?

              I understand schools are being given the opportunity for flexibility of hours in the school day.

              ” to allow for the differing situations of parents. particularly those in low decile schools whose parents most likely work horrific hours.”

              to take their children to Bali you mean?

              • Colonial Viper

                Nessalt supporting the moral cause of struggling middle class aspirants who can’t afford international holidays during peak season!!! LOL

                Nessalt, surely the answer is for those parents to work harder upskill and get another job???

                • greywarshark

                  Nessalt is going to be a much more interesting rw troll than we have had before I think. Good for outrageous arguments.

                • Nessalt

                  the arrogance that holidays can only be overseas? tried rotorua during school holidays? motels rammed, attractions rammed. tried getting time off when every other parent has already put in to take the school holidays off? ivory tower much?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    the post is about international holidays at 5 star resorts, not a Rotorua motel lol

              • shorts

                Tracey, you’re digging in and showing a very inflexible approach to a very human situation – i.e. one that can’t be solved in a black and white manner

                what if the parents want or need to take their children back to Samoa for a family funeral… or fiji, china, hong kong, bali for the same but it will mean more than five days away from class? (maybe they stay in a resort and have some swims too)

              • tinfoilhat

                As a secondary teacher I do’t know whether to laugh or cry at this thread ?

              • Nessalt

                I don’t have children. I worked damn hard to be able to afford to take myself and my partner there. what if the parents work didn’t allow for time off in the school holidays? who says it has to be an overseas holiday? it might be skiing in queenstown or tramping the abel tasman?

              • Liam

                Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the occasional overseas holiday a component of the NZ Living Wage?

  2. simon 2

    So many judgments/assumptions in here I don’t know where to start.

  3. Huginn 3

    Hanging out with Mum and/or Dad is always good. You don’t get that time back, ever.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 3.1


    • tracey 3.2

      and it is not quality time if taken during the prior two weeks of the school holidays?

      • tracey 3.2.1

        you think.people take their children out of school to swim for a week cos the curriculum is bad?

        • greywarshark

          These are the type of people who dump on teachers as not doing a good job with their child or grandchildren. The aristocratic who want their children turned into princes or princesses from frogs whether they attend school or not.

          At the same time they will also dump on bennies and the poor, whose children are truanting. Or the parents who may keep an older child home with the younger ones who are sick, too far from childcare, or short of the money for it, so that the parent can go to work. Or the superior ones will fail to even think of the despair of the life of constant battle to manage. How a parent might go out gambling hopefully to gain enough for the latest unaffordable bill. Or perhaps, has just given up for the while, drinking or drugging.

      • Phil 3.2.2

        and it is not quality time if taken during the prior two weeks of the school holidays?

        If the binary options are…

        A) 2 weeks holiday in Fiji during school holidays surrounded by every other family trying to do exactly the same thing you’re doing, and
        B) 2 weeks holiday in Fiji during school term, not surrounded by every other family trying to do exactly the same thing you’re doing

        … then B definitely gives you much better quality time.

        • tracey

          No it doesn’t Phil. Cos there are as many in the place in B as A. I talked to staff.

          • Nessalt

            I’ve just come back from bali on a trip deliberately out of school holidays. according to every taxi driver and the grey lynn kiwis with two pre school aged children who’d been there for two weeks, the level of kids in the last two weeks was 10% off what it was during school holidays.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 3.2.3

        Is two weeks enough quality time between kids and their parents? Who decides?
        Surely common sense and logic dictate that more is better as a general rule of thumb.

  4. Coffee Connoisseur 4

    Perhaps if our curriculum wasn’t so poor at preparing our kids for the world they face, this mightn’t be an issue.
    Should be teaching philosophy, history and civics and computer programming all through school in my view.
    We need people who know how to think. Not just what to think. The whole testing regime should be revisted too.
    Kids, just like everyone, all have different ways of learning.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      forget teaching “computer programming” at school – teach “problem solving” instead.

      • Anno1701 4.1.1

        how about “civics” as well !

      • shorts 4.1.2

        totally agree – do we want to be a nation filled with coders trained in obsolete languages or a nation of entrepreneurs harnessing the creative power of coders creating next level tech (and exporting IP)

        with that said we need to stop destroying our arts studies in favour of business mandated studies

        • infused

          That entire post [ Tracey: I think you mean comment, the post was written by me and I am sure you are not calling me …] retarded. try exercising your brain to use words that are appropriate. or perhaps you were taken out of school too many times?

          You are not taught a language. You are taught the concepts of software engineering.

          The language comes second.

          • Colonial Viper

            You are not taught a language. You are taught the concepts of software engineering.

            We’re talking primary school here buddy.

      • infused 4.1.3

        What do you think computer programming is?

        • Colonial Viper

          What do you think computer programming is?

          Are you trying to imply computer programming = problem solving?

          Then teach kids problem solving and they can use the technological tool of computer languages later on to enact their solutions.

          • infused

            The very concept of computer programming is problem solving.

            Kids brains work in different ways. Education can and should evolve and change.

          • McFlock

            Computer programming is a really good way to teach the basics of logic and problem solving even to primary school kids.

            You seem to think that computer programming courses start with learning how to use VisualBasic to create a GUI interface to track an IP address.

            Generally, they don’t: they start with logic, even puzzle games that teach problem solving. And they show the students how to get practical and permanent outputs from it, rather than just being an abstract exercise in crossing pretend rivers.

            • Blue Horseshoe

              The notion of primary school children being taught ‘logic’ through concepts of coding, is nonsense

              The drive and belief that programming is the answer to humanities woes, is also drivel

              Let kids be kids, without technology and watch them bloom. Computer logic is a misnomer

              Oh, and holidays with parents anytime at all.

              • McFlock

                Programming is more than just coding. That’s the last bit of it.

                The drive and belief that programming is the answer to humanities woes, is also drivel

                Lucky nobody said that, then.

                Put those two examples of your confusion together, and it seems pretty obvious that you’re someone who quite likely knows neither programming nor logic.

                • Blue Horseshoe

                  If you were in the industry would have understood what i meant

                  You’re a bedroom coder, i get that

                  • Coffee Connoisseur

                    I’ve been in the indiustry for twenty years and actually I tend to agree with him. Computer programming definitely has elements of problem solvingin that you need to take a functional set of requirements and turn that into a technical design that will meet that set of requirements when developed as a solution.
                    IT development has been automating the world we live in to a far more automated one for over 30 years now,
                    Teaching kids that sort of thinking could very well help in finding solutions and better ways of doing things in the world around us that we interact with throughout our lives.
                    To me thats just common sense. And I’m the guy that tells developers what it is they need to build. I see each stage working right through to user testing.
                    So yes I think it would help kids think of ways to solve problems most definitely.
                    I do think they should be taught systems analysis as this also teaches problem-solving, how to identify the root cause or causes of a problem and the communication of those problems in a manner that can be taken and turned into a working solution.

                  • McFlock

                    Sorry, I forgot you knew everything about everyone /sarc

                    Feel free to attempt to communicate what you meant, though, in a way us mere mortals can understand.

            • Jones

              Agreed but logic can be applied to more than mathematics, and the sad reality is that the way in which mathematics is taught in NZ turns a lot of kids off. It needs to be contextualised and teaching logic in a non-mathematical context, I believe, might teach those concepts much better by simply retaining the kids’ interest.

              And neither is problem solving always logical, especially when you’re dealing with complex systems. In hindsight, the solution will be but not when you’re trying to get to the bottom of something – intuition plays a huge role: “what if we tried…”

              • McFlock

                true – math pisses me off to this day, mostly because teachers never explained why I was looking for “x”. Switched me off entirely (although my current role serves to prove how unexpected the future can be).
                In primary school I’d be looking at things like the Towers of Hanoi and move tokens, rather than actual coding as such.

      • BM 4.1.4

        How about motor Mechanics

      • Jones 4.1.5

        I would add “logic” as well.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 4.1.6

        Well ‘Systems Analysis’ is essentially problem solving and that should be taught before programming.
        With the level of automation that is just around the corner, both will be handy skills to have.

    • tracey 4.2

      you think.people take their children out of school to swim for a week cos the curriculum is bad?

      • Coffee Connoisseur 4.2.1

        Its so bad I’ve had parents say ‘at least they get to learn social skills’
        If I think even at an island resort you learn that it is people that matter. It helps kids see the different way that people live, it shows them a different eco system, It can show them massive inequality on a more obvious scale, depending on where you go, there’s showing them a different culture, I could go on.
        My cousins got taken out of school for a six month round the world trip. Arguably they would have leaned more doing that than they would have at school.

  5. weka 5

    I have absolutely no problem with parents taking children out of school for longer than 5 days. The issue is about whether the child can keep up with the required academic curriculum. For some kids, being at school is a horrible experience and/or one that negatively affects their development. If those kids benefit from a holiday during term time, let’s just call it mental health days 😉 Or maybe they just need more fun. But then I know lots of people who homeschool their kids, so I don’t see school as being the absolutely necessity that some do.

    But I get there is a double standard around different parents and what’s acceptable, which is not good.

    • Molly 5.1

      +100. Saved me from having to get my thoughts together there weka.

      I know that there have been studies in the past that have showed how experiences have enhanced and improved academic learning. If families are unable to afford holidays during school terms, then perhaps the benefit of holidays during term outweigh the non-attendance.

      The reality is: who knows? Every situation will be different, and attempts to give a blanket yes or no answer will be flawed.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        the act says you can go for more than 5 days if its justified. so lets get rid of the section if no one bothers with it and it has no justification.

    • Jono 5.2

      I tautoko that, and also note that everyone’s mileage will vary on this issue but for working parents who are constantly juggling those competing responsibilities, fitting family time into the mandated and unflexible holiday periods is increasingly unreasonable.

      We just took our 6 and 3 year olds to Canberra for a month as I had work over there, including a week either side of the school holidays. They spent every second day at Questacon, the national science discovery centre, and visited the War memorial museum three times, the national museum, the national dinosaur museum, the national arboretum, a wildlife reserve, a reptile park, as well as various plagrounds. They learned far more about the world with us and a bunch of museums and centres than they would have in two weeks at their rural school.

      Likewise, I have vivid memories of a childhood holiday in Fiji in 1984 with one of the standouts being the way my parents interacted with the Fijian staff in contrast to the vile treatment dished out by the Australian and American tourists, and the our we took of Viti Levu with a local taxi driver, who took us back to his families house for tea afterwards.

      It is not impossible for children to learn valuable life lessons in the course of a tropical island holiday!

      • tracey 5.2.1

        and had you put your request to the principal as per s27 it would probably be justified. Did you ask the school or did they ask you?

        • Jono

          We told the school (teacher), we didnt ask. I very much doubt it went to the Principal as both he and the teacher undoubtedly have bigger fish to fry.

          • tracey

            Then we need to repeal s27 of the Education Act 1989 Jono, don’t we?

          • mpledger

            I am not a teacher but what I understand is that teachers record attendance every day and mark whether a child is absent with justification or absent without justification – it’s a legal record that they are not allowed to fudge. I believe the records get sent to the Min of Ed because they are used for funding – iirc if your kid is unjustifiably out of school too long or too often than the school loses money.

            It has been noticeable in the last few years that schools have been reminding parents that they are not allowed to pull kids out of school without justification – I think the Min Of Ed is on their backs about this issue.

    • tracey 5.3

      i guess it is the proximity to the actual holiday that interests me. a week eaier and it would be during the hols but costing more.

      if it is such a great idea perhaps these parents should push for all children to get the opportunity?

    • Coffee Connoisseur 5.4

      You mean the ‘required’ academic curriculum that does buggar all to prepare them for the real world…

  6. Flashing Light 6

    I’d have thunked that a good place to start this discussion would be by asking “is there any actual evidence that taking your child out of school for up to 10 days in the middle of the school year in order is harmful to their long-term academic development and achievement?” Because, you know … facts can help.

    But seeing as we’re going to run with gut-level reckons, the whole “it’s a good opportunity for the children to experience a different way of life” argument is a silly one. But that doesn’t mean that the practice is wrong. Being able to have solid days of uninterrupted fun time with your kids without the pressures and stresses of working (or just everyday) life is gold. And if several days/a couple of weeks of schooling has to be sacrificed to be able to afford this then that’s fine in my eyes.

    Also, the conflation with “children staying home to nurse younger siblings” is a bit rubbish. Is missing a 2 week block in the middle of the school year the same as regularly missing a day or so a week throughout the year? Sure, blaming parents who are forced by circumstance to do this is rubbish as well … but one rubbish argument doesn’t make the other less rubbish.

    • tracey 6.1

      by all means post the facts.

      • Flashing Light 6.1.1

        Well, I usually expect people who write the main post to have done the factual stuff … but seeing as you’re obviously only after some cheap page views and a fired up comment thread full of whatever biases people happen to hold, I guess that doesn’t apply.

        Bit of a waste of The Standard’s space, but.

        [TS expects people who comment to show the authors some respect. It’s an opinion piece, not a doctoral treatise. If you want factual stuff, do the research. Any more negative comments directed at the author and you’ll be personally treated as a waste of the Standard’s space. TRP]

    • weka 6.2

      “Also, the conflation with “children staying home to nurse younger siblings” is a bit rubbish. Is missing a 2 week block in the middle of the school year the same as regularly missing a day or so a week throughout the year?”

      I thought you were doing pretty well up to that point. There’s plenty of kids that could afford to miss one day a week of school for a year. Isn’t this part of Tracey’s point, that there are standards being applied unevenly, and that some of that at least is class based.

      • mpledger 6.2.1

        I think this has been reasonably well researched, especially in low decile schools, that losing days really matters. It becomes really problematic at ncea level because assessment days are scattered across the year and they are usually a one and only chance (but not always). It just adds so much too a teacher’s workload to supervise 1 or 2 children on catch-up assessment week after week after week.

        • Flashing Light

          Maybe so … but seeing as the targets of this post are middle class parents, then does that research apply?

        • weka

          Precisely pledger. How old are the kids? Are we talking about 5 year olds or 15 year olds? Does decile matter or the individual child? Is there a different standard for rich families than poor ones? Any reason the family can’t catch the kid up? Should a family be expected to experience duress and stress to suit the system, or should the system be flexible enough to serves the needs of familes. Who are the schools for?

          • mpledger

            I personally don’t see a problem with having some days of unjustifiable absence (but not very many) and I am in favour of irregular, long trips where kids get to immerse themselves in other cultures as long as something is put in place e.g. correspondence school.

            But, don’t think that taking kids out of school for holidays doesn’t effect schools (e.g. funding and resourcing), that it doesn’t effect a child’s learning at school or that it doesn’t effect other kids when time is spent catching the holidaying child up during class.

            There is very little fat in our education system and, in our system, it’s a group endeavour i.e. we teach kids in classes, which means that people have to work together for everyone’s best interest for it to run relatively smoothly. A local schools uses a waka metaphor where everyone has to paddle together and go in the same direction for learning to happen well (each kids gets a paddle when starting school).

            If you want a more flexible system that suits individuals then it’s going to cost a whole lot more … and the individuals who should be head of the queue for more funding are the kids with disabilities, kids with learning and behaviour problems and kids who are gifted and talented … flexibility for holiday makers should be way down the priority list.

            • weka

              Well I’m completely supportive of increasing funding to primary and secondary education.

              And I hear you on the waka thing, but unfortunately too many kids are already being ignored by the people in the main seats. Much of my comment is informed by kids I know who are failed by the mainstream system (and were when it was better funded). If those kids need to take time out, all power to them.

      • Flashing Light 6.2.2

        Maybe that is true. Maybe it isn’t. But to blithely equate them without bothering to see if there’s any actual equivalence is … a bit rubbish.

  7. Craig Glen Eden 7

    Sadly the practice of taking kids out of school for so called Overseas experiences is a growing trend. I have seen this in my own family. The justification comes in various forms but the reality is, most kids should be at school. In my own family none of the children are doing well enough to be away from school, these children are loosing valuable learning time in fundamental concepts in both reading writing comprehension maths and the arts, resulting in big gaps in learning. My family members then get all concerned when their child’s reports show that their children are struggling or are not meeting National standards. Is it any wonder?

    The truth is it does not matter what the parents justification for removing the kids from school is. The children should be at school and its the parents responsibility both legal and moral to have them at school ready to learn.

    • Chch_chiquita 7.1

      This only applies if you give a damn about national standards. I personally could not care less about them. The national standards are not a reflection of how my children are achieving academically nor are they a good tool to predict how they will succeed in life.

      If you have a child with dyslexia than you know that no matter how many hours he will spend at school he will never know how to spell correctly and the only book he will attempt to read would be the one that speaks most to his interests and has as little words as possible and as many visual clues as possible. And if no one will sit with him to read him the maths questions than he will not be able to show that he is actually brilliant at maths; he simply can not read the bloody question!

      I don’t deliberately take my kids off school for holidays. We go as we wish or need to (as we have family overseas); sometimes it falls on the school holidays but sometimes it doesn’t and I know the experiences they collect are just as valuable as anything they will learn at school.

      • Craig Glen Eden 7.1.1

        I have dyslexia my self so please spare me your outrage Chch- Chiquita. I have experienced the difficulties first hand not through just being a parent of a child with Dyslexia. I went through our public school system with all its weaknesses and strengths believe me I understand the frustrations.
        I can say in my day Dyslexia was poorly understood let a lone accommodated in the class room.

        The best thing you can do for a child regardless of the impediment is encourage a love of learning and constantly build their self esteem.

        Even though my mother was on her own and worked full time she made sure we never missed School and I had to attend speld classes and other such stuff after school. I went on and got two degrees it was bloody hard but I did it.

        • Chch_chiquita

          We encourage the love of learning and building self esteem but when the focus is on achieving in national standards tests – that actually compromises the hard work you put in.
          I might not have first hand experience but my life experience taught me that an emphasis on school attendance nor matter what will not make the difference; enjoyment of learning, finding that thing that you love and having your parents support, will.

      • tracey 7.1.2

        Thanks for your contributions. My post was meant to address those parents who choose to holiday either week of designated holidays not those removng children because of learning issues, failure to provide good quality education to children and so on. On the face of it in the circumstances I outlined one factor seems to be cost.

        By staying at a 5 star resort, even outside the holidays a family of four is getting no change out of 2500 for accommodation for seven days. Plus they have to eat.

        SSo, their children get 3 weeks instead of two to save the family money. IF it were about quality time, why Fiji or Queensland?

        • Nessalt

          So this post is about people with more money flouting the law?

          or is it about envy that they are staying in 5 star resorts?

          I’m thoroughly confused with all the conflicting comments from you?

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          because fun is important and is a valuable life lesson in many ways, It is memorable for them and when they leave school they will, by the time they get there, struggle to buy a car let alone a house and will probably struggle to find a job with the coming levels of automation that are just around the corner.
          be good for them to have some good memories to look back on as they start to figure out that all they have really been prepared for is working nine to five without the morning and afternoon tea breaks they got at school and the long holidays that they are unlikely to see ever again for most of them.

          Ahh well at least they got that holiday to brisbane when they were kids. They can think about that as they weep gently into their instant coffee at their corporate cubicle when they finally come to the realisation that in many ways that was as good as life gets and had they known that at the time they would have appreciated it way more than what they did.

          Take them out of school. Yep.

        • Flashing Light

          Couple of points.

          If going to Fiji or Queensland is **such** a terrible thing for a family to do, what were you doing there? Or are fun holidays in the sun that take advantage of the low labour costs in developing nations only available to childless writers on The Standard?

          A family wanted to save money. Oh. My. God.

          [Read the note above. Last chance. TRP]

  8. Sirenia 8

    Those same parents are usually very judgemental about other people’s kids truanting for any other reason.

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.1

      So true Sirenia and so quick to blame others for their children’s lack of achievement. While its hard to have a education system with perfect teachers, to be far its a bloody difficult job. Teachers have limited time with the children as it is, not to mention the increasing numbers of children with special needs that teachers are having to manage and teach as well as teaching 30 other little darlings.

    • Olwyn 8.2

      That is the core issue – the idea that one lot has the license to do what they please while they other lot cannot be trusted with any level of agency, and must be subjected to constant scrutiny.

      • tracey 8.2.1

        thanks. I began to think I hadnt made that comparison well enough. Perhaps a few nerves were hit…

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Thought it was a good post my self tracey, perhaps some peoples comprehension has suffered a little from to many overseas holidays. Hehe.

        • weka

          It can be a fine line for someone without kids to be criticing parents and getting away with it. I’m guessing that some of your point is lost in parents’ reactions to parents being judged.

          • tracey

            Also ironic given that parents who are not teachers spend time criticising teachers and teaching.

            My son is 21.

            ” I’m guessing that some of your point is lost in parents’ reactions to parents being judged.”

            Some parents not being held to account to s27 of the Education Act 1989 and me asking them to justify taking children to sunshine coast, fiji for a weeks holiday one week after a two week school holiday parent.

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          You know, there is a philosophical argument that says truancy indicates in some ways the quality of teacher. Is it the teachers responsibility to spark the interest of the children or is it the childrens responsibility to want to learn and be engaged?
          How do they do that in a subject they have no interest in?

          • Lara


            It may be a philosophical argument but I’m not sure there are actual facts to back it up.

            I think you’ll find truancy in low decile areas is worse than high decile areas.

            Does that mean teachers in low decile schools are worse than those in high decile schools?

            My experience was the opposite. You have to be damn committed and passionate to stay afloat in low decile schools or the kids will eat you alive!

            (I’m talking high school here).

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              So you mean by the time they have given up on school as no-one has bothered to or been able to spark their imagination prior to that point.
              If that is so, why? is it the fault of the teacher, the parent, the child or the system of learning.
              I wonder how PE class goes in low decile schools?

              • McFlock

                That’s a bit harsh – there are many factors that affect alienation. Parents matter too, social groups, but also whether school is likely to be a path to success (or just 30 years in a low wage job that eventually kills you).

                Kids are often smart enough to see the obvious – if they’re the best academically or in sports, all good. But if they’re average in every way except abject poverty, they can see the writing on the wall.

  9. Incognito 9

    The allowance, at the Principal’s discretion, of five extra days combined with the usual two week period for School Holidays (Term Break, as they now call it) should be plenty for any OE trip unless you plan a trip on foot along the Nile to its source whilst carrying your own gear [that would be a life-changing or -enhancing experience for any child attending school assuming they’d survive the ‘holiday’].

    Any longer is disrespectful and potentially disruptive to teachers and fellow class mates alike.

    However, many people take these things way too lightly IMO or are too egotistical to bother with rules (‘rules are for others’) and the feelings of others.

    How many children get dropped off at schools and barge into the class room after the bell has gone? The SUVs get ‘parked’ in drive ways or simply stopped in the middle of the road because ‘they are running late’, which obviously gives them permission to become inconsiderate egotists. It so typifies the hegemony of individualism in our society and children simply copy their role models.

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.1

      so so agree Incognito.

      • Melanie Scott 9.1.1

        At last, some sensible comments. I am not a teacher, but as a mother and grandmother, I am very conscious of how inconsiderate it is to teachers, to disrupt the class learning schedule, if there are children missing from class during term time. One of the reasons rules exist is because “if everybody did it”, all the time, it would make teaching impossible (just like maintiaining a cohesive, co-operative society). How narcissistic to think it’s ok to break ‘the rules’ whenever we want and attempt to justify them by saying it is for ‘educational’ reasons.

  10. infused 10

    Got pulled out many times.

    They were some of the best times ever, and I still look back on them very fondly now.

    • tracey 10.1

      So s27 of the Education Act 1989 needs to be repealed, right infused, or do we all get to choose which laws we will comply with and which we won’t?

      • infused 10.1.1

        I don’t really give a shit to be perfectly honest.

        But it probably needs to be changed in some way.

  11. Brutus Iscariot 11

    This thread falls under the “get a life” category.

    Complaining about kids having fun with their parents – give me a break. Not everyone is like you.

  12. Paul Campbell 12

    We did this – but at a different scale …. when my oldest was about to start high school we packed up the family from our 20 year OE in the US and travelled home …. the long way around, with 6 months skew between school years we had a big 4 month geography lesson, we went to Burning Man and never came back, we drove across the US, escaped New Orleans in the teeth of a hurricane, we travelled around Europe, visited museums until they were museumed out, Pompei, Venice, Rome, …… then we took trains around India for 3 weeks, visited Vietnam, and finally washed up in NZ just before the end of the school year (so we could register them with schools)

    We did take some school work for them to do while they travelled but that was a struggle, but they thrived in NZ when school started again – the only issues we ran into had more to do with differences between what the two different school systems taught at what age (and stuff like them not having much NZ history, but were able to name all the US state capitals)

    To be fair we probably fell between the legal cracks mentioned above because we were between countries and didn’t have a legal residence for that period of time

    I’d happily do this again, it was probably the best thing we ever did with our kids to give them an appreciation of the larger wide world

    • tracey 12.1

      Which is not quite the same thing as going to Fiji or Sunshine Coast for 7 days immediately following the school holidays, which was my point.

      • Paul Campbell 12.1.1

        I agree, I was just trying to point out that one can genuinely do this ‘right’ – while we did this for 3-4 months we met 2 other families (at different times) on the road planning 1 or 2 year world trips with their kids

      • Nessalt 12.1.2

        your threshold seems to be that people are going overseas?

        what if a family scrimped and saved to take their kids overseas on a nice holiday and the best time was not school holidays so flights and hotels weren’t extortionate?

        oh that’s right, they must be middle class and therefore don’t struggle as much so shouldn’t have overseas holidays during term time.

      • Sam C 12.1.3

        I’m interested as to why you are so single-mindedly focused on “Fiji or Sunshine Coast”? What if time was taken off to go skiing at Craigeburn skifield when the club huts weren’t so full? Or are all NZers who ski too middle class for you as well?

        I just don’t get this post. I’d say there are a thousand other things we should fix in this shitty world before we need worry about repealing s27.

  13. …it was a good opportunity for the children to experience a different way of life.

    The mind boggles at what “different way of life” a person imagines they’re experiencing at a Fiji Sophitel. I guess the one that comes closest would be the “pampered expat” way of life, given the swimming pool and the interactions with subservient, low-paid darkies, but that’s a useful experience for your children only if you’re using it as an object lesson in really bad ways to live your life.

    • tinfoilhat 13.1


    • Coffee Connoisseur 13.2

      then maybe next time you go try actually talking to the Fijians that work there. You might learn something about them as a people and how you could incorporate some of those lessons into our own lives. You might also decide to help them out if you have the financial means to.

  14. Charles 14

    …But is swimming all day in a pool at the luxurious Denarau suite of high class hotels a learning experience? Spending days in water parks in Queensland life expanding?

    Sure it is, depending on your definition of “learning experience” and “life expanding”. They’ll either become like their parents, or turn out like me, which could be considered a form of child abuse because living in two “worlds” at once can be pretty disturbing even to an adult. The World was never fair. Never can tell what will happen with a kid’s mind after life expands it – the “snapback” can be good, bad, ugly, fast or slow. I’ve never heard anyone openly consider who their kid is when making decision on their behalf, or anyone who even has a vague idea of who their kid might be. Time/cultural constraints etc etc. Deciding from a third party p.o.v. could be pretty difficult.

    …Some of these same people bemoan children staying home to nurse younger siblings in our poorer areas and castigate their parents… Those they say, are bad parents… a giant double standard here? The Law is only for the bad parents…

    It’s two different cultures/sub-cultures looking at each other from their respective positions, imagining what they would lose or gain if they were to become the other. Somewhere in their education that claims “maths is logic”, they didn’t pick up any of the logic, and completely skipped the bit about other people not always being an extension of their psychic reality; probably owing to a reluctance for Western Schools “3 R’s” type focus to include any Eastern oriented thought, as if it doesn’t exist, isn’t important, or isn’t occasionally more accurate and easier to understand. So they wander around developmentally delayed in a toddleresque reality, where everything they see is an extension of themselves, and they fear the stuff they have limited ability to consciously reconcile. Who wouldn’t.

    In the eighties, my parents often took me away for weeks on end, from my self-directed learning into photography at a State-run school, to a Island off-the-shore from Auckland City where I swam, sailed, fished, learned to roll cigarettes, fall of cliffs, try not drown, run from girls, chase girls, hitch rides, and generally disappear into an environment that pulled no punches, but had no inherent malice. I do not yet know if I am better for it, or how the hell my parents or my School got away with any of it. If I compare it to what’s on offer, via politics, newspaper, mainstream culture and through general observations now, it was a worthwhile life-expanding experience. If I compare it to my ability to reconcile what happened, and seek to attain some sort of satisfaction by applying the lessons to “build a better world”, the jury is still out.

    I read this last night on metapicture:

    “Does the catapillar know that it’ll turn into a butterfly, or does it just build the cocoon without knowing what it’s doing, and then one day emerges?”

    It’s probably the smartest thing I’ve read on the internet, for years.

  15. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15

    Fucking socialists. There really is nothing about the lives of other people that you do not consider it your duty to “fix”.

    • infused 15.1

      Pretty much.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 15.2

      It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

      Why don’t we teach philosophy in schools?
      The greatest thinkers throughout human history yet most kids (and adults) will never know their thoughts or have the opportunity to ponder them for themselves. No we think teaching them what to think and testing them on how much they remember is where it’s at.
      The world’s in such great shape as a result too don’t you think?

      • Phil 15.2.1

        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it

        This is also the reason I love debating with other economists. As Steve Levitt puts it (with my crude paraphrasing) “the one thing that sets apart economists from other professions is the willingness to entertain repugnant notions.”

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Was it Plato who said: what those people are doing is not impacting on me and really is none of my business?

        • Colonial Viper

          American Psychology Association members too, it seems.

  16. greywarshark 16

    Like John who likes to holiday overseas, the grass is always greener on the other side.
    NZs of the sun in Fiji type are dead to their own country really. It is just a place to gather what you will and launch yourself to apparently more exotic and interesting places. The recent Pebbles Flintstone who stirred up so much dire comment, was one that had been out of school, to lots of overseas, sophisticated experiences. Turned her into a pleasant, thoughtful, knowledgable citizen, not.

    When I had a child at secondary the class had a trip to San Francisco with earthquakes and fault lines as a major theme. Like we don’t have major fault lines here. But when you are well off or asperashunal you don’t bother with seeing more of your own country, appreciating it, it’s been there done that. I hate blase’ children and people.

    The other child took Japanese and the class was going to visit there. No way could I afford that. I had to earn and pay for my own OE and I couldn’t see why we I should have to fundraise for that of my schoolchild. There are Japanese people here, organisations for Japanese and NZs, friendship societies, sister city intercommunication, and no doubt much historical information in museums. It was before on-line info became so accessible.

    There has been a widening gap between the unthinking wealthy and the confused and
    unaware low and low-middle class just getting by, or simply vocationally educating for the end prize – a 40 hour job, a living wage and with most weekends to oneself.

  17. ropata 17

    Are these families collecting WFF while they are gallivanting around the world? Are they landlords collecting rent so that some other, poorer family is subsidising their trip? Are there any penalties for parents who deliberately interrupt their kids education? Perhaps those indulging in such plans should produce a list of the educational parts of the trip for sign-off by the school…

  18. simon 18

    1) are you sure your ‘several’ families were being honest with you about their reasons for travel. E.g They may have just been through massive upheaval and neglected not to tell a stranger about it.

    2) you seem to assume the families you mention (via your false/unsubstantiated dichotomy between the two ‘types’ of families that form the basis of your argument) are wealthy or privileged without any evidence other than they’ve gone for a holiday at a time of year that saves them money.

    3) your title/argument seems to suggest that if the families were getting educational value from the trip (travel to slums of India perhaps) it would be okay. This negates your main argument about absence from school

  19. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19

    Where are you going on holiday next year, Trace?

    I’ll make sure to go elsewhere. Cocktails would not be fun.

    • weka 19.1

      perhaps you’d like to share where you will be going Gormless, as I’m sure many here feel likewise.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19.1.1

        At least you know I won’t be quietly judging the way you raise your children. There really is nothing more impolite, especially from the child-less.

        • weka

          Tracey is a mother. People make judgements about parents all the time, that was pointed out in the post. Did you actually read it?


          Lolz, you think that you’re on the wrong forum.

          I can think of many things far more impolite than talking about the politics of class and parenting.

  20. Drowsy M. Kram 20

    “Fucking socialists. There really is nothing about the lives of other people that you do not consider it your duty to “fix”.”

    Fucking one-percenters. There really is nothing about the lives of other people that you consider it your ‘duty’ to fix.

    • ropata 20.1

      Exactly, they clearly state upthread that they “do not give a shit”
      (except when someone suggests they a) do something useful, or b) be less selfish)

  21. Molly 21

    Bit late to add to the conversation.

    But it seems that no-one mentioned here, the difficulty for working parents to both get school holidays off. Especially if their workplace has a lot of employees with school-aged children.

    As we home educate, my partner has never asked for time off during the school holidays as he knows that for the others (who do shift work, 24 hours a day – up to 7 days a week) – this is the time when they will be able to spend with their children without interruption.

    As budget has been constrained on one income, we have rarely taken holidays to resorts or places, but recently (through a home educator who owns a timeshare) spent one week at a family resort in Paihia. The non-holiday special – one week accommodation and use of the facilities for $229. Unit accommodates six.

    This made it affordable for us.

  22. Realblue 22

    I had many times gone on holiday with my family outside the standard periods. Both my parents couldn’t get leave in those times due to their jobs. If someone had asked my father why we were overseas outside the school holidays, he would have said “none of your business” but not that politely. Which is exactly the correct response.

    Whether we went to Australia, Fiji, Raro or the U.S. It was an eye opening experience for me and my siblings. It was a worthwhile experience of other countries and cultures. I guess in other peoples judgements they were the wrong ones.

    I had Hard working parents who scrimped and saved to do this for us, and I’m forever greatful. Not rich by any measure, frugal yes, mean no.

  23. Exile 23

    Interesting topic, I am one parent who always bring my kids on holidays outside semester breaks. Every year.
    To me visiting foreign countries is always something that children benefit from. Now I wouldn’t personally choose Fiji, I am surprised that our fellow left-wing thread starter did. I didn’t think supporting states whose leaders have toppled democratically elected governments was something most standardistas would do. (even when they seemed less capable.)

    I have no experience of 4 or 5 star resorts in Fiji, but I would assume that most parents let their kids see more than the pool-area while staying two weeks on a tropical island. I certainly hope so. I know that when we spend time, say two weeks at a beach resort in say Asia, we sure see more than just the pool. We usually combine it with other stops as well. Valuable experiences and a way to make the child realise that the world is big, diverse and that there are so much to learn.

    I must confess that I don’t ask permission from the school. Instead I tell the school that were going and when we will be back. My kids have on average missed 3-4 weeks of school-time every year since they began primary school.
    In regards to our travels, I have had nothing but support from my children’s teachers. Praising the experiences they get and commenting on how refreshed and motivated they are when they return. It simply hasn’t been an issue. I have actually found teachers very good to deal with.
    Maybe that is because my children are not at NCEA test age yet? Or maybe the teachers judge based on what capability the child has?

    I assume that the above mentioned law is there so that it can be used in situations where absence is seen as a contributing factor to poor results. With present education having the goal of everyone achieving “at or above” on the National standard list (without the scale moving upwards of course…) I very much doubt schools will start to have an issue with high performers just because they miss a few weeks of school. After all when you are above national standards by a pretty large margin there is not much the school can teach you anyway.

    In my neighbourhood, virtually every parent feels the need to spend money on extra tuition for their kids, mainly maths, science and languages. Thats not because we are disappointed with the teachers, they are in general very capable, but because we are not impressed with the curriculum or knowledge thats deemed enough to achieve “at or above” national standard. We recognise and agree with what PISA and other international benchmarks are telling us, ie that NZ is the second worst of all western nations within these subjects, and that we need to help our children and the schools if we are to give our precious ones a competitive education that allow them to compete with kids from other countries on an equal footing.
    However thats may be a different debate all together.

  24. Mike S 24

    When I was at primary school I was lucky enough that Mum and Dad had arranged for a 3 month trip to the UK to see family and friends as it had been 10 years since we arrived in NZ.

    At that age, a trip to the other side of the world is a greater learning experience than any other you can get at primary school. I was given some schoolwork to do by my teachers, the most useful being to compile a daily diary describing the places i visited and their historical importance, etc. I was able to easily slot back into class when I returned.

    Mum and Dad weren’t wealthy, they saved for ages for the trip and knew it might be the last time they would ever get to see various family members. I just view it as a part of my education and know I was luckier than most.

    Taking kids out of school for a week or two at a hotel in Fiji or Bali is a bit different in my opinion and not necessarily good for the child educationally.

  25. MrV 25

    FFS, this thread is truly f*cking pathetic, a new low for the standard, especially the comments of ‘tracey’.

    Since when were schools granted absolute divinity status over what parents elect to do with their kids?

    Reality is kids spend what?
    190 days/year at school and roughly 5 hours a day.
    In some years (not every year) families might elect to take a holiday outside of school holidays for reasons of affordability or scheduling with work etc

    Holidays can be incredibly educational, inspirational and motivational:
    a) You can ask the teacher in advance what needs to be covered during the period of absence. Reality is a lot of time spent at school is wasted anyway as the teacher has to meet the needs of 20+ other kids (not their fault but this is a simple reality)

    b) Children can write a travel diary, learn to save spending money for the holiday and then manage the budget while on holiday.

    c) If you are visiting somewhere of a different culture, language etc, they actually get to experience it, rather than simply read about it.

    That the blowhards on here seem to think children should be denied an opportunity because of some minor complaint about taking 5 days out speaks volumes as to their narrow world view.

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