So our ongoing hunt for a house with a garden is not going to be sorted in time for the summer holidays. I will keep looking, but now have turned my mind to the imminent 6 weeks of entertaining two boys without a garden to throw them out into with a bowl of water to play in.
The upside of having not moved is that it means we have a little more spare money in our pockets still, so I thought ‘I will book a holiday, somewhere in Devon or the New Forest, somewhere with outdoor space in lieu of having our own.’
Then I started looking at prices. Bloody Nora, I will need a mortgage for a simple few nights in a caravan let alone anything fancier.
I had quotes the equivalent of a months rent for our huge 3 bedroom maisonette just to spend 4 nights in a little caravan. A mid week break at a popular family retreat with pools and the like would set me back £1,100 plus.
The annoying thing is if I went next week it would be half the price. But I can’t go next week because schools are no longer allowed to grant a few days off for a family break, even though these last weeks of term seem to contain nothing more educational than tidying up and sports days.
I understand the holiday companies arguments that it is simple ‘supply and demand’, but as a twitter friend rightly pointed out it is hardly a natural market driven situation, more an enforced by society one.
I won’t (and can’t afford) to pay those sort of price hikes. I won’t give myself a black mark at the school gates by taking my children out without permission. We won’t get a holiday, now or in the foreseeable future.
We used to take long weekends, the kids only needed 2 days off school that way, but even that is forbidden under the new draconian rules. Yet I haven’t noticed the holiday companies changing to reflect a new demand for two night breaks though, no, it’s still 3 night weekends even though families now have to travel home a day earlier so they can get their kids back to school for the Monday. Where is the response to that demand by the market?
We will have day trips instead of a holiday. I am blessed to live in a beautiful part of the country, we will still have a lovely time, but I do think it is sad that a combination of strict school rules and holiday firm mark ups means that for many children a family holiday is a memory they will never have.
Family holidays are bonding experiences, travel is educational, a break from the usual routine is such a treat. The chance to visit different areas of your own country, or whole new countries, is important for children’s understanding of the world, and brings history, culture and language alive like nothing else. The combination of the change to school holiday rules and excessive price increases during school holiday periods is resulting in many children missing out.
The inability to afford a one week holiday is often quoted as one of the criteria used to define childhood poverty. (I am not entirely sure I agree, I don’t feel it is quite up there with fuel poverty or lack of food, but still…..) Yet it is recent government policy changes that have ensured that many more families are in that position. Either they need to bring back flexibility for parents wanting to take their children out of school for a few days (let’s not forget it was always at the head teachers discretion, so requests that clash with important points of the school year etc could always be declined) or look at bringing in measures to tackle the current pricing situation – whether that is by staggering holidays or bringing in rules to prevent excessive pricing in school holiday periods or both.
What do you think?
Love Miss Cisco XXX