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Old 07.08.2011, 20:52
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Taking my son out of school for vacation

We are from the US and my brother is getting married in November. I really want to go home for a 3-4 weeks for the wedding and to spend some time with the family but is there a rule for how much time I can take my son out of school? It costs so much money to go back home that I don't want to do it if I can only go for a week...Any help?
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Old 07.08.2011, 20:54
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

3-4 weeks in November? I doubt it. They might allow you 1 week. 3-4 weeks is a lot of material your son will miss.
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Old 07.08.2011, 21:05
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

Speak to the school - more specifically, your son's teacher.
There may be some way to do 'homework' while on holidays, so he doesn't fall too far behind - but you need to speak directly to his teacher, really.
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Old 07.08.2011, 21:11
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

When I was a teacher in the UK, parents were taking kids out of school for weeks on end - but the Government is making a big effort to stop this. I am afraid that in Switzerland is has always been totally unacceptable to take kids out of school outside school holidays. This is of course compounded if your child is not totally bi-lingual and experiencing difficulties. But ask the teacher and the school authorities, and report back, I'd be really interested to know the reaction. I can so understand your wish to take him home and visit family- but if I remember you've only recently arrived and your son is nearly 5- a lengthy stay back home might upset his French language acquisition and put him back a long way- thus making starting 'real' school more difficult? How is he doing now and how is his French?

Last edited by Odile; 07.08.2011 at 21:38.
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Old 07.08.2011, 21:19
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

I heard about someone who managed to take her kids out of kindergarten for a month, with a written promise to send them to a local school at their destination. Apparently the teacher accepted the proposal as the mother said she was interested in the kids having more contact with their mother tongue.
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Old 07.08.2011, 21:53
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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We are from the US and my brother is getting married in November. I really want to go home for a 3-4 weeks for the wedding and to spend some time with the family but is there a rule for how much time I can take my son out of school? It costs so much money to go back home that I don't want to do it if I can only go for a week...Any help?
Probably depends on how old your son is. Kindergarten age might be easier to work out something than a 16 year old up to his armpits in exam prep.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:02
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

I am sure you have to write to the school asking for permission. If you take your child to USA without permission you could be summoned before a judge and fined. For a family re-union and a wedding they would probably grant you 1 week. The teacher will know more details.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:03
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

Most schools have a fixed rule about how much non-holiday holiday your kid is allowed.

In our canton (Basel Land) in Kindergarten you get 5 "joker days" a year. So: one week. That's it. Any more than that and you need a special permission from the schulrat. I very much doubt they'd allow 3-4 weeks off - unless perhaps your child will attend some kind of school while you're in the states while you're there?

In primary and older school years the allowed non holiday days get even tougher. In primary (in our area again, I imagine it varies canton to canton, maybe even gemeinde to gemeinde) you are allowed 10 days for the entire primary school years (so that would be 2 days a year as there are 5 primary years).

If it's private school you're talking about then you may have more room for negotiation if you were willing to take work with you. In Swiss school I've found them to not be very flexible about these kinds of rules. We wanted to take some extra time at Christmas one year so we could go home and visit family. They refused, point blank, no discussion "sorry you can have 5 joker days only and you used 2 already".
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:10
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

November's a pretty bad time for catching the flu... and that can take weeks to shift...
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:14
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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I am sure you have to write to the school asking for permission. If you take your child to USA without permission you could be summoned before a judge and fined. For a family re-union and a wedding they would probably grant you 1 week. The teacher will know more details.

What happens if you move back during the school year? Do you have to get permission to leave the country forever?
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:15
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

I saw some posts on here about Kindergarten and children who are 5 years old (or maybe I just misunderstood), but anyway, obligatory school in Switzerland starts at the age of 6 in primary school. Kindergarten is not obligatory by law and therefore taking the child out for a few weeks may not be a major problem. Do not expect the teacher to be happy about it though...

If the child is older than 6 then I would say that an absence of any more time than is absolutely necessary would be absolutely exceptional and a week would probably be pushing it, never mind 3-4.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:15
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

Yeah DB- but difficult to get a doctors certificate if you are in US no? Five year olds are very good at lying about some things and not others

Teacher: you poor thing, it must have been sooo boring at home in bed
kiddo: no Miss, it was fab at Disneyland.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:17
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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What happens if you move back during the school year? Do you have to get permission to leave the country forever?
Can you explain to me how you would expect that to work exactly?
I don't they ever built anything like a Berlin Wall around Switzerland to keep people in....
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:17
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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What happens if you move back during the school year? Do you have to get permission to leave the country forever?
I guess a departure from the school is different matter to going on a family holiday, no?
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:18
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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Kindergarten is not obligatory by law
That's not true here - one year of KG is obligatory in Basel Land, 2 years in Basel Stadt.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:19
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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I guess a departure from the school is different matter to going on a family holiday, no?
I guess the way I was reading it I saw it that you could get summoned over there and have to come back...but I get it now that once you get back you could be in trouble. I just read it wrong.

It makes sense.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:23
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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I guess the way I was reading it I saw it that you could get summoned over there and have to come back...but I get it now that once you get back you could be in trouble. I just read it wrong.

It makes sense.
I don't think that would be the case, either. If you leave Switzerland, it would be assumed you would be continuing the education of your child wherever you go.

If you returned to Switzerland you would just resume education here. My impression is that they only have the interests of the child at heart and taking them out of schooling for great chunks of time is only going to make a child struggle.
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:25
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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That's not true here - one year of KG is obligatory in Basel Land, 2 years in Basel Stadt.
Here's my source:

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home/...ontentPar_0008

But wattsli1, you are correct, BS has indeed made 2 years KG obligatory, since the 2005/2006 school year, although you can ask to put it back a year if the parents feel the child isn't ready.

Ah, the joys (and contradictions) of the Swiss education system!
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:27
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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That's not true here - one year of KG is obligatory in Basel Land, 2 years in Basel Stadt.
And 2-3 in Ticino. You start Kindergarten immediately after your 3rd birthday, and first grade in the calendar year (1 Jan--31 Dec) that you turn 6 (as in the US).

Tom
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Old 07.08.2011, 22:28
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Re: Taking my son out of school for vacation

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Most schools have a fixed rule about how much non-holiday holiday your kid is allowed.

In our canton (Basel Land) in Kindergarten you get 5 "joker days" a year. So: one week. That's it. Any more than that and you need a special permission from the schulrat. I very much doubt they'd allow 3-4 weeks off - unless perhaps your child will attend some kind of school while you're in the states while you're there?

In primary and older school years the allowed non holiday days get even tougher. In primary (in our area again, I imagine it varies canton to canton, maybe even gemeinde to gemeinde) you are allowed 10 days for the entire primary school years (so that would be 2 days a year as there are 5 primary years).
It must differ from Gemeinde to Gemeinde as we too are in Baselland and our rules for days off school are quite different - and far more strict! We have to get head teacher consent for more than 1 day off, Gemeinde school board consent for 1 to 2 weeks off and more than 2 weeks, it has to go to the cantonal education authority based in Liestal. However, written into our time off rules is the concept of reasons that may be acceptable to justify time off - including visits to reinforce contact with home country.

I have taken our son away from school on occasions - always for reasons connected with visiting family back home and this has been considered acceptable. This August he is taking an extra week to visit family in UK.

And in the first (non compulsory) year of kindergarten he took 2 weeks off with no problem - we did not even have to have permission of the education board as it is a non compulsory school year.

Unless it is a non compulsory school year, you will definitely have to check your school rules, and even then, perhaps be ready to compromise with a little less time off - but 2 weeks is surely better than none? Hope you manage to work something out.
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