Emma Thompson Criticized For Daughter 'Gap Year' Plans

Education campaigners are urging British actress Emma Thompson to reconsider plans to take her daughter out of school to spend a year traveling the world – because the 10-year-old may never catch up with her studies.  The Oscar-winner wants young Gaia, her daughter with husband Greg Wise, to take an extended vacation when she finishes primary school next year (11) ahead of the start of her secondary education.

Thompson recently revealed,

“I’m going to give her a little break from education and show her the world a bit and take a break myself. I just thought it was really good timing between those two schools to have a bit of a break.”

But her plans have sparked outrage among campaigners in her native Britain, who are convinced Gaia will struggle to catch up with her peers if s he takes a year out.

Margaret Morrissey, a spokesperson for education campaign group Parents Outloud, tells London’s Evening Standard,

“She might see the world and have a fantastic experience, but she’ll miss an awful lot in a year and will be way behind her peers. A child might not ever properly catch up after a break that long.”

Agree or disagree with Margaret?

Photos by FAME


  1. Charlotte says

    Emma Thompson is a smart, wealthy woman. She went to one of the best universities in the world, for heaven’s sake. On top of that, she is phenomenally successful, both as an actress and as a writer. I’m sure she has earned the right to make it none of anyone’s business whether she decides to give her daughter a gap year between primary and secondary school.

    Aside from that, people homeschool, don’t they?

    And, last of all, it’s the same as taking a gap year between GCSE and A-Level (can be done), or between A-Level and college. Arguably way more practical!

  2. Anne Bate says

    Oh come on!! What does the average child learn in the first year of secondary school that’s so important? I’m a teacher, and I know. Not much, I can tell you – not much that an intelligent parent with a few good books can’t replicate and surpass with a few hours a week one-to-one attention.
    And think how much more the child will learn by traveling with her mother. I’d be more worried that she would be too far ahead of her peers when she returns, not behind.

  3. Dnice says

    I think the child will be fine. Kids these days are so much more intuitively smarter than we ever were. She’ll learn so much with her mum.

  4. says

    I certainly don’t agree with Margaret… the important thing is that Gaia learns, whether academics or life skills. It’s not like the future of the world will be put in jeopardy if a 10-year old skips school for a whole year… I doubt she’d stop reading books during that time…

    besides, she can just as easily gain new peers to relate with… and get a tutor should she forget how to do her Maths and whatever

  5. Niloo says

    My parents did the same thing when I was 8. I didn’t go to school for one yr, my mom taught me my lessons and well it wasn’t of a big deal.
    School’s teachers think it’s just all about learning in class and if you miss it you’ll miss everything! I’ve learned many things during that trip that I haven’t learned them yet in school after 11 yrs!!

  6. Peter says

    Great idea – the only reason the rest of us don’t do it is that we can’t afford it. 2 to 3 hours home schooling is the same as 5 in a classroom.

  7. missy says

    I think she will learn SOOO much on her trip with her Mom. I was a homeschooler from 5th thru graduation and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had for anything. I traveled all over the country and spent very special time with my parents. If I was in Emma Thompson’s shoes I would get some workbooks or something to take along the road with us. Books to read and mind teasers and puzzles to do, fun things that are kind of sliding learning in under the table…..I don’t think any decent mother would risk their child’s education no matter what the circumstance. I think they are over exaggerating when they say she will “NEVER” catch up and be “WAY” behind her peers. No….don’t think so.

  8. samsmom says

    Her daughter will learn more in their travels than she would in a classroom. It is only one year! Emma could even get some social studies, world history and geography curriculum and make it educational. She will remember these experiences and learn far more than she would from some dull textbook!

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