Media Release 29 August 2016
Family First is rejecting claims that family holidays during the term are ‘unjustifiable’ absences and a form of truancy.
“There is a huge difference between a family holidaying together for a short period as a one-off as opposed to repeated truancy where the ongoing absence is with the knowledge of the parents, which indicates far greater issues of family dysfunction and an increased likelihood of at-risk behaviour by both the child and the family. This is where the focus and concern should be,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Education happens in the family setting as well – even on holidays. Families experience different cultures, learn about other countries, and visit places of national significance such as museums and historic places. It is no different to a class trip or school camp.”
“Busy families also get the rare opportunity of relaxing and learning together. The suggestion that it is equivalent to truancy is almost laughable,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Families who are in the middle to lower income may not be able to afford holidays during the peak periods but are able to take advantage of cheaper flights and available accommodation during off-peak periods, and at a time when all of the family is available to travel. Holidays will become only available for the rich if restrictions and fines are put in place.”
“If the family makes arrangements with the school to cover classwork requirements, then the missed work can be easily covered and completed,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“A family holiday can be a hugely positive thing in the life of a child bringing great memories. A family that holidays together is more likely to stay together!”