I’ve just written and handed in the Wee Man’s letter, requesting time off from school.
I took a lot of time to write it (‘Wow, that’s a really well researched letter!’ the Other Half exclaimed. ‘I would have just written ‘can he have time off please?”).
Obviously, if you just ask for time off, the answer is pretty likely to be no. What’s exceptional about that?
But at the same time, even with a well researched and thought out letter, I still think the answer is likely to be no. Because what does ‘exceptional circumstances’ mean, anyway?
There is no doubt it will be an exceptional holiday. The kids will have the opportunity to meet the half of the family they’ve never met before. They will learn about their cultural heritage, experience the country that their father grew up in, and be exposed to a whole range of things that they’d never know about just hanging around in the U.K.. The learning potential is massive – we’ll be exploring geothermal activity in Rotorua, observing glaciers and mountains in the South Island, seeking out native New Zealand wildlife (whales, kiwis, yellow eyed penguins and the Royal Albatross), converting currency, undertaking air travel (I’m trying not to think too much about that one – three small kids on two long haul flights, eek!) and discovering the impact of the Christchurch earthquake.
It takes such a long time (and a lot of money) to get there, and there are so many family members to catch up with that it’s not worth going just for a couple of weeks. Summer holidays are out because we can’t get enough annual leave to take a decent block of time off then (and it’s not holiday time then in New Zealand either, so all the relatives will be at school and in work themselves).
The Wee Man is currently in Year 1, not a year where he has any major national testing to prepare for or milestones to meet.
And he IS at a time in his life when he is growing and learning rapidly and discovering himself as a person. Finding out about a country where we may well end up living when he’s older, and which has shaped how he has experienced life from birth is an important part of that.
But is it exceptional enough?
I don’t know how long headteachers take to make a decision on these kinds of thing. But we are on tenterhooks waiting to find out.
Have you ever requested term time holiday? What happened if you did?