Last year an Australian mum sparked debate when she called for children to have one day off school a fortnight as ‘stress leave’. Once again Clare is standing by her opinion that school attendance is totally overrated.

In June last year, early childhood educator and mother, Clare Crew, said it was more than alright for children to miss a day of school every now and then, even as much as one day a fortnight.

Clare, mum of three and blogger at Thriving Children, has once again made her opinion clear stating that “School attendance is overrated.”

She stipulates that it is her belief that sometimes a child may benefit more from a day off school than from being within the four walls of the classroom.

“School is not everything to a child. It’s a place they go, a place where the majority of their time is spent. But there’s a reason so many children enjoy the school holidays-it gives them that much needed break from structure, from academic pressures, from restriction. All replaced by time to connect with loved ones and that delightful thing called freedom…a whole bunch of freedom.”

Clare says, “I want us to take a step back and actually consider ‘the whole child’. Let’s walk our talk instead of just giving it lip service.

That ‘whole child’ needs more from life than what can be provided in the classroom. And that very idea leads me to the conclusion that school attendance is overrated.

Never missing a day of school won’t make my children more successful in life. They’re there most days. But every now and then, I place greater emphasis on meeting their specific needs in a way that only I can.

This doesn’t make me a bad parent. It doesn’t make be ignorant or neglectful. It makes me a connected parent. I’m reading my children’s needs and knowing that on that particular day, school’s just not going to cut it.”  (Read her full post below)

Parents have commended her post, with hundreds totally agreeing with her views. Her post has attracted over 1100 shares and 1300+ reactions.

Comments include:

“At last someone has put this into words..brilliant. As I always say whose children are they???”

“Our kids fit in to the world where we see fit, not where the government want them to fit..we pay for our schools, they are not free, our kids are not slaves !!!”

“I also believe in rest days and adventure days! Kids still learn lots from this.”

“My son has always made a big improvement in school after a school time holiday.”

“Totally agree and well said. How brave you are to speak about this.”

“As both a teacher and a parent, I completely agree with you!”

“I absolutely agree with you. I allowed my 3 daughters days away from school when needed and it has done them no harm. School is not the be all and end all. So much learning happens outside the school walls.”

“I strongly believe that if a child needs a day off during term time then they should.”

“I really resent the government telling me what I can do or not with my child. I know what’s best. Butt out of my private family life.”

Unfortunately the government doesn’t see it the same way and has previously stated that parents who allow their children to regularly skip school will face hefty fines.  Read more.

Missing 10 days out of a school term is classified as “chronic non-attendance” and can trigger prosecution of a parent.

Five days away each term over a child’s whole education added up to more than a year of missed schooling.


Related stories:

We recently shared a post from a Mum who shared why she thinks it is important children are allowed a leave pass from school.   READ “Why a Pyjama therapy day is necessary for kids”.

Even our own Nikki Hills from Mouths of Mums has previously shared her families Pyjama therapy rules, check out her post HERE.


Do you allow your children to take time off school as needed? Or are you strict on how often they can take days off?

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  • I disagree. As a compulsive truant, I have to say missing school results in kids missing lessons. When you mis lessons, you get behind. When you fall behind, you’re less likely to want to attend school because you don’t know what’s going on. Regular attendance is imperative


  • Workers and pupils both have relaxation days on Public Holidays.
    Most schools have the occasional pupil free day, some schools up to one per term. They have 4 school terms where back up to late 1980s there was 3. Children are smart. If start not sending them to school on days at random when they aren’t sick some will work out ways of getting extra days off. Once they leave school and go to work or uni they can’t just take a day off when they feel like it. They cannot afford to take off unnecessary days in the latter part of high school either. Leaning in the classrooms with good teachers each day is essential. Studying and assignments are pretty intense by then. Some employers check back on pupils’ records from schools. Some schools even record that you are late for school.


  • The whole discussion is skewed because of language. ‘Off school’ has connotations of not wanting to go when perhaps a child should. Being kept home because of stress, anxiety etc, is a health issue.


  • I see school as preparing kids for real life and part of that is learning you will have to go to work when you don’t really feel like it.


  • Absolutely, Ellen! It will be a wonderful learning experience!! How exciting!! :-)


  • 1 day per fortnight is a bit much in my opinion. But I keep my kids at home when they’re sick or not fit in any way. Coming year we hope to travel in the winter holiday and take them 2 weeks out of school. We’ll travel to Europe and Africa. My kids will learn a lot at this trip, maybe even more then at school !


  • I agree , school is very stressful for some students. As children in the mid 70’s my parents too all of us out of school for a few months as it was not practical for us to attend. When we went back to school the following year we were better off apart from 4 different schools that year.
    My third child was having a bad time at school due a certain staff member, so I decided to take him out for a few days. This turned into a few weeks until he was ready to face school again. He actual was infront of his classmates in work, studies that I was giving him. So this proved to the school that their teaching method was wrong for this child. If things go bad at work then you might have someone higher up who will help, What chance does a child have proving that they are stressed due to confirming to the school standards.


  • My children have time off for illnes or to attend medical appointments etc. They probably have one ‘mental health’ day per term, not one oer fortnight. I think that is way to many over the school year.


  • I do not agree, kids have weekends, public holiday and term/end of year holidays. I agree with my son’s old school, school is the child’s job, it sets them up for the structure of the work force as well. When you have a job you don’t get to pick and choose which days you feel like going to work. Unless they are sick then they should be at school. I know people that are going away after the first week back at school for a few weeks. You have just had 6 weeks to do that, why not go then?


  • Last year, my son had some of his meltdowns either before school or during school hours. It was very stressfull for me and my eldest daughter since she loves being in school but her brother has different ideas. We are currently trying to figure out if he has Autism but he was diagnosed with ADHD last year. It is very hard for me to keep him home but it is better for everone as once he is stressed out, he will have one of his terrible tantrums. Even taking him home would be a battle as he doesn’t want to but he doesn’t want to settle. He’ll be fine the next day though and i am very glad that his kindy teacher understands our situation. Sometimes I don’t go far from home in case he has a major meltdown making them call me to collect him. I think it varies in every situation too as I also feel sorry for those kids who can’t go to school but want to.


  • She might have a point, but I don’t think I agree. My kids only had days off school when they were sick or for special occasions, which was rare. They learn so much more then what’s in books by attending school regularly. I know parents who’s son has regular, weekly says off school. He’s not only behind in school work but is also lacking friends because of his lack of regular attendance. It’s sad, even sadder the parents can’t see what they’re doing


  • Personally I don’t agree. Teachers are at school doing their job. Why should kids miss out? How are they going to recuperate? Do parents expect that teachers take extra time with the absent kids?


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