Most parents face a dilemma. School holidays and half term represent invaluable learning time to spend with their children. But a family holiday comes at an inflated cost as the travel trade see them as a captive market and the chance to raise charges considerably. Yet the educational benefit of spend some relaxing time playing games with children from early learning to year 11 say experiencing modern foreign languages in context can be enormous. We give a 20 point guideline to those delightful hyphenated words that arise in a child’s schooling journey. Yes we have cheated a bit!:-
1.Early-learning: A magical time when children learn a phenomenal amount in a very short time. Incredibly rewarding for parents who see their efforts turned into magic as their child absorbs information like a sponge.
2.Pre-School: Heartbreak and tribulations as the children attend their first rung in the learning journey involving a third party.
3.Key-Stages: Milestones in primary and secondary education where children learn elements set in the national curriculum. Each stage is tested to asses the performance of the child and the school. Has led to undue focus on how to pass the tests and the regrettable phenomenon of teaching to the test by some schools.
4.National-Curriculum: A serious attempt by the government’s department of education to control the learning programme. Not always deemed successful. Most head teachers could improve on the content.
5.AS-Exams: The means of measuring a child’s ability assessed against the content of the national curriculum. Now includes a psychological minefield where the children are set questions that are impossible to answer, contain mistakes or omit key information. The examinees now have to be schooled in how to remain cool and not to let these errors destroy their concentration and how to spot the errors that may appear in other questions set by the examination board by people who are specialists in the subject area?
6.High-Season: The weeks when you can take a holiday with the family and pay inflated prices. Incredibly, they directly coincide with all school holidays.
7.Peak-season: Similar to 6 above. This is for parents only. Time to dig deeper for the same holiday just enjoyed by the sliver surfer at half the price.
8.Off-peak: The time when parents can’t take holidays with their children and enjoy lower prices.
9.Low-season: Not applicable to parents. Time when the silver surfer finds the incredible deal when families are unable to travel and hotels are anxious for the custom.
10.Up-to: A misnomer when marketing people try to attract custom with non existent or frugal availability of supposedly large discounts. Should be made illegal.
11.From-savings: See up-to above. Another potentially non existent or exaggerated offer.
12.Special-Offer: That great flight offer that involves the need to fly from a distant airport at 05:00am and land at a destination airport 50 miles away from where you expected. Your return flight of course leaves your holiday location at 2:00am in the morning.
13.Half-term: The two week time slots when travel agents rub their hands with glee. The captive market of families has arrived, time to jack up the prices.
14.School-holidays: See half term and High season above, and add extra weeks into the equation.
15.School-parties: Groups of children gaining the hand-on practical side of their educational. Incredibly rewarding to children, stressful to many teachers, and attracts stares and mutterings from crabby adults who have forgotten they had kids, or never had them, and fail to recognise the vital importance these children will have on their pension.
16.School-trips: Similar to to 9 above except parents have to dig deep to find the money for the excursion. Semi enjoyable to teachers who get time away from the school. Delightful for many parents who have time off looking after their kids.
17.Teacher-holidays: The perception that teachers get at least 20 weeks paid holiday a year where they are totally free any form of school work. Most people believe they also only work between 09:00 and 15:30 each school day. Overtime is never worked.
18.School-meals: Epicurean feasts or fried stodge depending on whose viewpoint or budget you need to work to.
19.Jamie-Oliver: School meals crusader, see 18 also, who believes children need nourishment to improve their educational achievement. Has a spare key to number 10 and also markets cookery equipment from egg timers to a complete school kitchens.
20.School-run: The time when the roads are clogged with SUV trying to weave and squeeze closest to the school to drop kids off. Avoids social interaction with peers and undue exercise that would otherwise be beneficial to the children. Similar situation can be seen at kit fit gyms where members squeeze into tight or non existent parking spots closest to the gym door to save walking – then spend an hour doing extreme physical exercise.