40% of Australian parents would consider taking their children out of school during term for their annual holiday, according to national data that we released earlier this week.
This is a topic that has been the subject of hot debate…..is the practice of taking your children out of school for holidays right or wrong?
With school holidays now in full swing here in Australia, for many parents having the luxury of taking a family holiday in school holidays and peak time is just not possible.
For many families this period is just business as usual and this means vacation care for their kids.
There are those who have very strong views on this topic at both ends of the spectrum, while others take a more balanced approach. Supporters of the idea insist that travel experiences are just as valuable learning experiences—if not more valuable—as those found in the traditional classroom.
It’s hard to deny that travel has enormous benefits. While it is not the same as a structured school environment, learning happens on the road. Kids are exposed to new cultures, put in a range of new situations, and can have some experiences which present opportunities for growth and learning.
Then there are those against the practice who are adamant that constant attendance is vital to academic and personal success.
And then there are the parents and educators who fall somewhere in the middle on this issue.
So, what I did was host a straw poll in my office which is made up of 80% working parents.
The number of families with children that have both parents working is pretty much now standard, so juggling dates, work schedules and commitments to get that sunny break is the new norm.
The survey has also revealed that nationally 43% of parents plan their holidays around their work, taking time off when they can afford to.
Queenslanders (47%) and Victorians (48%) are more likely to make their family holiday schedule fit around their work schedule.
The decision to take their children out of school is based on the practicality of the exercise.
We also need to look at the rise of the gig economy. It’s a shift in mindset as well as a shift away from the standard Monday to Friday 9-5 to a more flexible work format.
While Australian businesses are not engaging gig workers at the same rate as those in the US and Europe – where 20 to 30% of the working-age population are engaged in some form of independent work – it is only a matter of time before it becomes more prevalent in the Australian employment landscape.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 2.5 million Australians are currently employed on a casual basis, reinforcing experts’ beliefs that this is not a passing fad but a global trend that is set to reshape the workforce and this is on the rise.
There are clearly also benefits for those families who travel off peak, it’s less expensive, and destinations are less crowded when compared with school holidays.
There may also be once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities that may be difficult to pass up.
Of those surveyed 73% found that holiday pricing was the greatest challenge for families, with most families hoping to keep their holiday costs well under $5000.
Families are also becoming savvier when it comes to choosing a holiday destination.
They are on the look-out for deals and are keen to research their next holiday spot to make sure they walk away with the best bang for their buck.
Whatever one’s views on travelling during school terms are, we all agree that school itself is extremely valuable.
But at the end of the day we know that all loving parents are seeking a very similar end, but may choose different means of getting their kids to take a break and experience life.
There is clearly still two sides of this argument, so I guess we will all keep having this water cooler debate!
Enjoy your school holidays!