As of September 1st no more term time absences - complete overkill?

(152 Posts)
Levvylife Thu 11-Jul-13 16:55:16

We've just been notified that schools will no longer authorise any absences in term time as of September (bar exceptional circumstances) and if you do take your child out in term time you get a £60 fine.

I'm not saying I approve of kids taking time out in term time per se, but this seems ridiculously heavy handed to me, what's wrong with the current system at the Head's discretion?

For example, my 6 year old DS was studying the Great Fire of London, so we took him to London for two days, but on a Sunday and Monday to avoid crowds and reduce the cost by half. He learnt way more in that day than he would have in school and I find it very hard to believe that the odd day here and there for good reason is going to make a massive amount of difference.

Also, Dh pointed out that some people work in offices and it is not always possible to take your annual leave in the summer if everyone else gets in there first. Then what?

So, AIBU to think that this is really over the top?

xylem8 Thu 11-Jul-13 17:44:22

'do you not feelany sense of,I don't know,community or loyalty to the school and their efforts to educate your children???'

umm no they are there to provide a service to the children not vice versa.This is about parents being seen as cash cows

Bogeyface Thu 11-Jul-13 17:44:36

it is not impossible for at least one of those to fall during the summer holidays.

Actually you would be surprised how many people can't take time off in the holidays. In STBX's old job it was written into his contract that he couldnt take time off in the school holidays (any of them) because that was their busiest time. It was accepted that if you worked there then you had to have your time of in term time. It didnt bother him when he started there as he hadnt met me and didnt have children, but it was a real PITA when we did get together as it meant we were really restricted.

Kendodd Thu 11-Jul-13 17:45:35

I want to take my children to Richard III funeral, that might be on a school day, I would argue this IS more valuable/educational than a day in primary school. I think it'll be worth the £60 fine.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 11-Jul-13 17:45:57

Holidays are luxuries not rights. If you choose to send your children to school then you abide by your schools rules.

Too many dusrupt teachers and lessons by taking children out so the policy needed to be tougher. Children get 13 weeks holiday a year and 52 weekends. Its not hard to fit in fun things within that time.

Exceptional cicrumstances would not be finances or parents not getting time off in our school but funerals or close family wedding.

BalloonSlayer Thu 11-Jul-13 17:46:09

- sorry didn't finish what I was trying to say. I think that parents know that bugger all teaching/learning goes on at the end of term and they take their DCs away as they feel it doesn't matter, they won't miss anything important. And, at the moment, I think they are right. TBH I would think schools probably also don't bother too much as they think: what's the point? - so many DC are away.

Likewise SATS. Loads of families went away just after the SATS this year. If the school didn't make such a ridiculous drama out of it and stress all the children needlessly, would parents feel the need to take their DC away for a holiday immediately afterwards?

Kendodd Thu 11-Jul-13 17:47:41

btw, on the whole I don't think children should be taken out of school for a holiday, parents should just go somewhere cheaper on holiday.

Bogeyface Thu 11-Jul-13 17:48:09

Happy so every child who's parents isnt allowed time off in the summer due to the job itself of the fact that they must cover other staff, and those on low incomes simply have to go without a holiday?

Hows the weather in that ivory tower of yours?

BalloonSlayer Thu 11-Jul-13 17:49:41

Bogeyface then he would have proof and you would have been OK under the new system.

I am talking about people who work in bogstandard offices . . . you can just tell it's a lie because of the way they say it.

I do know someone who has a timeshare and they get told every year which weeks they are getting and have no control over it. I wonder what they will do or how that will fit in with the new rules. A bit of a bugger really, they are nice people.

LilacPeony Thu 11-Jul-13 17:50:39

The schools i know that do this are OFSTED outstanding. Schools that are bringing it in are wanting to be outstanding. So blame OFSTED.

HeySoulSister Thu 11-Jul-13 17:51:29

taking dc ot for 'educational' trips

how do you know what information to give to your dc? how do you know its accurate and in line with the curriculum? how do you adapt it to suit every childs curriculum stage if several siblings are going? how do you know you are educating them correctly if you aren't teachers??

AuntieStella Thu 11-Jul-13 17:53:59

It's still HT's discretion (and can be for more than 10 days). So if you can persuade your head that your holiday is exceptional (not just more affordable) then you can still have it approved.

And it's much better that this is a matter solely for the HT, a it is someone who is likely to know you and your DC and make a decent judgement about it. Actually, exactly as they did before - the old wording gave 'holiday' as an example, not an absolute entitlement.

Of course, some HTs do prefer their pupils to be at school every day that it is open (190, minus a few Royal weddings, snowstorms or polling days). That does leave nearly 50% of the year when they are not at school for other educational activities.

Of course, if you don't like the conditions that go with state schools, or the fines (introduced in 2003) for breaches, then don't use those schools. It's not an interference in family life to have/enforce arrangements for state schools provided that no-one is compelled to use them.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 17:54:28

I don't see a problem with it at all! If your child had otherwise good attendance and you take them away for a week at the beginning if July it really doesn't cause a major hole in their learning.
When I have taught in very deprived areas I have always supported parents going when it's cheaper. Very rarely could they afford even a uk holiday in August. It may not be a right but I do think it's of huge benefit both to the child and the family as a whole. I certainly know a holiday benefits me and my kids.

I hate the suggestion that just because a family is on a limited budget they should suck it up ANC miss out on that special week away. I teach Y6 and I damn well challenge anyone to walk into a Y6 class and pick out the child/ren who have a term time holiday once a year.

5madthings Thu 11-Jul-13 17:55:07

It can be very hard to spend any family time when your partner cant take leave in school holidays. He also works most weekends, only getting one weekend off a month and does evenings, double shifts, overnights etc. Its quite normal for dp to go days with out seeing the children as he goes out before they get up and then has a 36-40hr shift and isnt home till they are in bed etc.

If an employer restricts leave you ask them for a letter explaining this for school. The schools have always been able to ask for this but often didnt. Your employer should providr it. I think if self employed you have to show detrimemt to business etc for taking term time holiday.

The law really hasnt changed, its at the discretion of he ht as it always has been. The problem.is tgat some hts are just giving a blanket no leave policy. They need to use their discretion.

And i do think its unfair that poor families ate struggling to afford holidays. Yes its a luxury but a shory family break shouldnt be the preserve of the rich ffs.

ll31 Thu 11-Jul-13 17:55:24

Xylem8, that's a completely different attitude to mine, not saying either of us is wrong or right, but v interesting! Am off to consider the idea of school as a service rather than as a joint endeavour!!!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeySoulSister Thu 11-Jul-13 17:59:20

I was thinking of older kids....history gcse etc

RafflesWay Thu 11-Jul-13 18:02:09

Personally I think all this is more to do with school ratings etc than so called, "Disruption" to education.

When I was at school - ok it was the 60's - teachers were allowed to use good old common sense - no ratings, OFSTED etc to worry about! Our education was of a way higher standard than it generally is nowadays and both the children and parents held genuine respect for the teachers.

My DH was a college lecturer for over 30 yrs and I saw the toll declining standards and constant inspections etc had upon both he and his colleagues.

I am really disappointed by some of the "inverted snobbery" being displayed on this thread by the sneering at families who genuinely can't afford the massive school holiday prices of holidays. Why should their children miss out on quality family time?? We COULD afford the high prices when our dd was school age and had no choice as DH had to take school holiday dates too. Also to suggest that nobody would have problems acquiring their holidays to fit in with schools has obviously NEVER worked in a large organization. I used to be Regional sales Manager for a huge international company and I have witnessed first hand the problems this can cause amongst employees with children. Wherever I could make exceptions I would do.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 18:05:44

Actually, I think having the attitude that learning can't possible take place outside of school is quite depressing.

Also, if you are going down the road of arguing that a museum visit isn't in line with the curriculum then it follows that you disagree with non curriculum days in scho such as red nose days or all the hundreds of jubilee teamed or Olympic themed days that took place last year.

hoppityhoppity Thu 11-Jul-13 18:07:03

We live in the US. It's really interesting to see the difference in attitudes. There are no rules at my DC's (primary) school re taking kids out in term time. A lot of people's family live in different States if not different countries so parents sometimes take kids out when family is visiting because family time is seen as important. It's a great school with very high standards and they seem to cope fine with kids being out. Absence is recorded, I am not sure if there is a level at which parents are spoke to.

fluffyraggies Thu 11-Jul-13 18:12:28

I've worked in a primary school and IME there the type of absences which are disruptive to the class or an individual child's education are the weekly day here, two days there, 'every other Friday' absences which occur with some children. Often due to nothing more than the parents not being arsed to get their kids into school regularly, having whole days off for dental/doc's appts. ect, or being kept off for minor sniffs and snivels. These days add up very quickly to far more than the 10 needed off for a good family bonding 2 week holiday.

A child taking an annual 1 or 2 week family holiday, out of a generally well attended school year, especially in primary school, is hardly going to ruin their chances of a degree at Oxbridge!

I think this law is the equivalent of the dog-licence. ie: going to make no difference to what/who it is trying to clamp down on.

nancy75 Thu 11-Jul-13 18:12:30

There are other reasons to go away in term time, my dh is Australian, last year a close relative was seriously I'll and we had to go in term time. Dd had to have it as an unauthorized absence because the head didn't think it was exceptional enough. Dd only had 4 days off as most of the trip fell during the school holidays. Next time I will lie and say she is ill

missmapp Thu 11-Jul-13 18:13:06

We cannot afford a holiday out of term time this gear, but as I am a teacher we cannot go any other time so will not be having a holiday this year. I don't suppose people will extend the same sympathies to teachers as they do to other families!

DuckworthLewis Thu 11-Jul-13 18:15:24

The legislation states that the parent can be fined for 'failing to ensure regular attendance'

It doesn't stipulate £60 for a single day of absence.

Ridiculously heavy handed - schools (and public sector organisations in general) really need to stop dreaming up policies that vaguely resemble a law and then dressing them up as being a legal requirement.

Worra I bet the parent you mention kept her daughter off school for way more than one day (so received a fine) and then refused to pay the fine (so went to prison). That's a very different situation.

Bogeyface Thu 11-Jul-13 18:21:17

I don't suppose people will extend the same sympathies to teachers as they do to other families!

Well I have some sympathy, but then you knew what you were getting into! Same as STBX, when he signed his contract he knew what it meant and when our circumstances changed, we just had to suck it up as that was the condition of his employment.

Wallison Thu 11-Jul-13 18:21:37

Actually, I do feel sorry for teachers not being able to have holidays; holidays are important for everyone. So I do genuinely sympathise with you, missmapp.

I find some of the attitudes towards this a bit nasty. Even back in the bad old days when people in factories got hardly any time off, they were still able to have holidays and it was expected that everyone including those on low incomes would spend that time away from home. Hell, weren't there even special trains and buses put on for them? But now in these brave new times those who genuinely can't afford to spend a week away from home together as a family are being told to suck it up, home school or go private by some people on this thread. So, for those who are saying this, you are officially worse than the old pit bosses (according to the Wallison School of Reckoning).

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