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'Don't let children miss school for cheap break'

PARENTS should not take their children out of school during June to avail of cheaper summer holidays, an educational expert has warned. Parents in search of cheap and cheerful holidays need to consider that children lose out on valuable classroom experiences and education while they're away, Dan O'Shea form the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) told the Herald.

Off-peak prices for trips abroad are proving attractive for families, especially in the recession.

"Every school day counts in a child's life, there are new experiences everyday in school and new learning. And obviously we don't advise that parents take their children out of school, despite the attraction of cheaper holidays and not being able to go at other times.

"When they come back to school, there is an impact on other children in the class who have to wait for Johnny and Mary to catch up.

"It can also have a negative impact on the child. If they miss out on something and feel like they're falling behind, it could have an impact on the children."

Meanwhile Falcon Holidays said holidays to places such as Crete, Turkey, and Majorca came at cheaper prices in June.


A spokesperson said it was also a popular month for young couples and couples who have children at pre-school ages.

"Although June is seen by many as the kickstart to the summer, it is still considered off-peak so there are some great value holiday options available for anyone that can be flexible with their dates."

"It is also a popular month for holidaymakers that don't enjoy really hot temperatures as June can be a few degrees cooler than the peak months of July and August in certain destinations."

Mr O'Shea said parents are bound by legislation to send their children to school as much as they can.

"Legislation in Ireland dictates that children should be in school and it's the parents responsibility for children to attend school unless there's a reasonable cause."

"Schools have to report absences of 20 days to us and a package holiday can be for ten days so already you're half way there.

"And regardless of what the reasons are for the absence, schools have to contact us."

However, he added that the number of children leaving school early for holidays abroad is down due to the recession.

"Families don't have the money to go on foreign holidays whereas they used to go on two every year," he said.