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?

usuallyright Sun 14-Jul-13 21:28:32

*the next step, after a fine, will be to remove your child's name from the school register.
your off-roll child will be free to holiday with you at any time*

Oooh, scary.
not so much.

AmberLeaf Sun 14-Jul-13 14:26:35

It's a load of bollocks.

So low earners can no longer go on holiday then? [I don't necessarily mean foreign holidays either] Holidays during school holiday times are extortionate.

There are other reasons why some people take term time holidays too, no way could my son cope with the numbers of people anywhere during school hol times. Audrina like you and for the same reason, we spend a lot of the time during school hols sat at home avoiding the crowds.

rabbitlady Sun 14-Jul-13 13:52:29

the next step, after a fine, will be to remove your child's name from the school register.
your off-roll child will be free to holiday with you at any time.

Fakebook Sun 14-Jul-13 13:46:46

I'll just pay the fine for the next few years. Dd is 6 in November. I'm sure missing a few weeks of school a year isn't going to affect her education when it comes to GCSE's.

usuallyright Sun 14-Jul-13 13:26:02

there'll be more kids 'off sick' than before. I occasionally let mine have the last week/few days off in the summer term cos they a)do fuck all and b) holidays cost a lot less.
They can fuck off with their fine though.
I'll say they're ill.

Tailtwister Sun 14-Jul-13 13:07:44

Well, I do think it sound over the top and like others have already said it probably won't do anything about repeat offenders.

However, I don't just think it's the individual child who's affected by them taking days off school. It involves extra work for the teacher to ensure that child catches up and that's bound to have a knock on effect on the other pupils.

Wallison Sun 14-Jul-13 13:02:41

AudrinaAdare, that post made for sobering reading and thank you for sharing your experience with us. Those children and the children who are in similar circumstances to them now will not be helped in the slightest by this 'crackdown' on term-time absences.

AudrinaAdare Fri 12-Jul-13 21:27:43

It was hard to write, and to sleep last night, monicalewinski, and that's with over ten years between me and those lovely children thanks

We're lucky we mostly have a choice, but for families where both parents work, or certain professions, taking leave during school holidays is not always allowed. Cost is a big factor too, but for many it is simply being able to take time off. It should be at the head's discretion.

Worriedmind Fri 12-Jul-13 16:38:27

In dds old school it went from third week in September to the following March and out of a class of 12 they did not have one week in that time where everyone was in school every single day.

monicalewinski Fri 12-Jul-13 16:07:40

AudrinaAdare, wow. That's awful to read, it's so easy to forget in your own day to day life that there are children growing up like this. It really is so bloody sad that children in these areas/circumstances have never had a chance from the beginning; I've nothing of value to add, but I didn't want to ignore your post.

I agree with that, but my point is that schools are not giving the real reason for the ban on authorised holidays, which is treating parents like idiots and is a very piecemeal approach in itself.

I am largely on the side of the move towards this, although not for the last week of term when, in many primaries, there is no work whatsoever being done. I do take exception to being fed a lie by a Headteacher, however.

greensmoothiegoddess Fri 12-Jul-13 10:19:24

There has to be a corporate approach rather than piecemeal. And who can organise this and how at school level? Especially in the current climate of fear. And it IS fear. Go into any school. Ofsted has got every school in a state. And no one wants to put their head above the parapet.

*Sigh. The least they can hope is that parents are on side.

I blame the schools for not being honest, greensmoothiegoddess. It is still the Head's choice whether to authorise absence. If they don't want to do that because it will affect Ofsted ratings then that's what they need to be telling parents. Not some waffle about it being 'illegal' from Sept, as DS's school as done.

greensmoothiegoddess Fri 12-Jul-13 09:42:52

Oh and for Ofsted, read Government!

greensmoothiegoddess Fri 12-Jul-13 09:38:14

BeerTricksPotter - rest assured that the spectre of Ofsted hangs over all Headteachers who will have to justify absence percentages (both authorised and unauthorised) with associated paper trails to them. There is a kulcha of FEAR. It seems to have happened by stealth and has slowly crept into the system.

Again, don't blame the schools

echt Fri 12-Jul-13 08:44:13

I'd have a word with 1) the teacher, and if no joy 2) the HT. While I set work for holidaymakers if they ask, I do not do catch-up lessons, just send them the reading/writing tasks they've missed and they can do it in their own time.

I've never held a class back because of a child's absence. The teacher's being slack; she's avoiding the catch-up pain and passing it on to other children. Unacceptable.

grumpyoldbat Fri 12-Jul-13 08:34:29

TBH I'm getting fed up with my daughter's education being disrupted by the holidays of others. One week the start of a new topic is delayed because Mary is on holiday, the next week my dd misses 'golden time' so she can help Mary catch up. The next week they don't start the new book as originally promised because Jessica is on holiday and so on for 10 different holidays.

So people saying their children haven't missed anything are probably right. The whole class have been held back for their benefit.

AudrinaAdare Fri 12-Jul-13 01:55:03

Sorry, I meant to say in case the purpose of my post was unclear, that the people monitoring attendance would be far better employed sorting out these horrible issues than pursuing decent parents through the courts.

AudrinaAdare Fri 12-Jul-13 00:36:26

I worked in a school which had chronically bad attendance. Small class of twenty three because of split year groups but only ever about thirteen in each day. Sometimes as low as seven on cold days.

The children would walk alone through a vast estate from the age of five to cross a major road with the help of the lollipop man. Some would be accompanied by parents if on the way to the shops. Some parents would be swigging from cans of beer.

The family needing lots of support with addiction and socio-economic deprivation pissed off to Greece for three weeks in September. Their DS had burned down three houses and they were still leaving lighters around. The older child desperately wanted to go into care.

One little chap couldn't come in much because his mother had fallen foul of the dealers on the estate and she daren't leave the house from morning until night for weeks on end. He was taken into foster care, appeared back clothed in actual uniform which fitted him and not smelling of faeces for a week then disappeared again.

Another lovely boy never attended on Mondays because Dad was on his own with him and spent all weekend with his GF in London. It was given that he would not be at school on that day. Every Monday of every week.

Two of the year three girls were so badly beaten by slightly older junior pupils (one who heard voices and was given NO support) that they needed surgery.

One seven year old was raped and given an awful infection by her grandmother's boyfriend.

Two little girls were heard telling the boys to lick their pussies.

All in one term.

There was a poster about attendance in the school hall showing a cheering crowd of children hoisting a child holding a cup onto their shoulders with the winner's face blanked out. The caption was something along the lines of, "well one day doesn't matter, does it? They won't miss much"

It was so bloody Enid Blyton and outside the experience of the parents and children that it was grimly laughable.

Yes, there are many reasons for lack of attendance.

Wallison Fri 12-Jul-13 00:05:14

Trouble is that there is a lot of pressure from Ofsted, so I can see why Heads are bowing to it. Also, attendance comes under the same heading as children's safety etc or whatever it's called, which is a massive consideration for parents when choosing a school. So a school will get marked down on that area just because of attendance, when actually the kids that are in school are ok, and it does look bad, so of course Heads are worried about it.

It's all a crock of shit though, really. I've already said this, but the reasons behind chronic non-attendance are myriad and pretty much always nothing to do with the school but to do with home circumstances and parents who have the kind of lives where getting kids to school every day on time or indeed at all is a struggle. Fining people for having the odd week in Spain does nothing to address this, and even if the families who take holidays in term-time were the real problem, £60 is not going to deter them - for eg it's certainly not going to deter me. It's just typical of this govt that they think they have to be seen to be 'doing something' about non-attendance figures so they'll go for this option which actually doesn't do anything about the kids whose need for an education falls by the wayside because of problems at home.

It's just the Headteacher coseying up to Ofsted instead of seeing the whole picture, gandalfcat.

Dorange Thu 11-Jul-13 22:58:45

I took my daughter out of school to go to the Paralympic games. I could just get tickets for a Friday. Shouldn't we have gone?

gandalfcat Thu 11-Jul-13 22:50:50

Absolutely agree that the airport threat is empty and meaningless, which is why it's inclusion in an otherwise factual letter made me rage! maybe those sniffer drugs are all on a special course right now learning to detect children? or perhaps each airport will have their own chitty-chitty style child catcher!

sassytheFIRST Thu 11-Jul-13 22:35:03

What makes me RAGE about this policy is that the govt could regulate the travel industry. It's them that inflate prices to ridiculous levels during school hols, meaning many parents choose to take kids out of school as the hol of their choice would otherwise be unaffordable.

But to go after parents and schools is easier than to take on a private sector industry.

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