As a mum who is planning to take her son out of his state primary school for almost a whole month for a family holiday, I thought it would be wise to look up the rules around holidays during school term time. What does the Department of Education in Queensland say about missing school for family holidays and will I be ‘in trouble’ (or worse fined) for him missing school?
Here is what I discovered about holidays during school term time:
Why must I send my child to school?
What does the law say about sending a child to school?
What is an exemption and why do I need it?
Parents can apply for an exemption from their child’s school when their child cannot attend school for a period of more than 10 consecutive school days.
Situations where an application for an exemption may be made include:
- Family reasons
- Cultural or religious reasons
So, if your child is exempted from compulsory schooling for the period then they are ‘excused’ from attending. However, the rules go on to state that the school principal is not responsible for providing an educational program to your child, however they may provide advice on other educational options available (ie the teacher may set work for your child while you are away – but they don’t have to!)
Why do families take holidays during term time?
Annecdotal evidence suggests that the two main reasons for families taking holidays are: cost of term time holidays and extended family living in other states of Australia or overseas. I know this is true for our family. It is incredibly expensive to travel in December/January and the other school holiday dates are not much better! Leaving while the term in still underway can save $$$ off a family holiday and make it possible to remain connected to family that are so far away!
So is ‘family reasons’ a good reason for going on holidays during school term time?
- let the teacher know as far in advance as possible
- let the school know as far in advance as possible
- if the absence is for more than 10 school days, you must complete an holiday form (available from the school)
- if the holiday is not for 10 school days or more, you are not required by the department to complete a form, however your school may still ask you to do so.
So… I counted up the days that my son will miss school this term… and because we are utilising the September school holidays, it is only 8 school days. So no form for us… this time!
What do you think? Are family holidays more important than school or is school more important than family holidays. Let us know what you think!
This article was published in Issue 26 of our print magazine, February/March 2018.