To think the EWO is going to give me a hard time tomorrow?

(64 Posts)
Sparklymommy Mon 09-Sep-13 22:05:14

Ok, so my 10 yr old dd is a performer. She wants a career in performing arts, has an agent, likes to work and is an exemplary pupil.

Due to Gove and his controlling attitude we have had some disagreement with the school over school absence. Dd wants to audition for our local panto ( as she enjoyed it last year) and if successful will probably need a few afternoons off school for matinee performances.

Head teacher said, in July, that she can no longer authorise this. Or time off for exams. I seriously considered removing dd from school and home educating but decided, after much soul searching, to try and get clarity from government.

Got a reply early August that children in employment are not affected by changes in the absence laws and exams are fine as they are classed as education off site. Forwarded e-mail to head teacher. Thrilled to bits!

The saga continues! Today, first day back, head tells me the education welfare officer, having read the e-mail, would like a meeting with me. Hence tomorrow we have a meeting at the school.

AIBU thinking that I am going to be made to feel guilty/ in the wrong?

Dd is top of the class for most subjects, above average in everything and has had extra tuition to further improve her English and verbal reasoning for 11+. Even with doing panto, a few auditions, done exams and a week of illness she had 93% attendance last year. She wants a career in the arts and this is, to her, as important as algebra and grammar. We ALWAYS ask for work to be sent home and she has always been a very conscientious student.

Scared I'm gonna get a flaming tomorrow!

foslady Mon 09-Sep-13 22:24:26

Posts like this make make me so glad for dd's school! Not sure re panto, but their view to dance exams have always been that it's a recognised professional body that are testing her so happy to give permission (she's also taking part in a kid triathlon next week - when I emailed the school to ask permission it was given along with a 'good luck' message from the Head Mistress). Dd's school tend to have the 'broaden pupils horizons/embark on new experiences' attitude, to which I've be very happy about!
With a 93% attendance and a good report, hopefully there will be some leeway - maybe the Head is just looking for a standard clarification as they are unclear
Hope it goes well

Sparklymommy Mon 09-Sep-13 22:28:56

To be fair, it isn't the head that's the problem. She, like me, is quite happy for dd to do panto and to take what the e-mail from government as clarification. But bloody county are making her life, and my life, a misery! They tell her one thing and me another. Quite looking forward to having them BOTH in the same room!

Pilgit Mon 09-Sep-13 22:34:18

Go with this evidence. Stay cool and keep calm. Treat it as a business transaction. I presume they want to see her education won't suffer - that is clear from what you have said. Good luck!

HeySoulSister Mon 09-Sep-13 22:37:33

You say your dd ' enjoyed' it last year, so wants to do it again?

Well is having enjoyed something a good enough reason? I'm sure all kids could find something they enjoy doing and want time off to do it. It's a local panto

foslady Mon 09-Sep-13 22:37:36

Sounds like the Head is fed up with Gove as well! Hopefully it should go well - you can prove that it's been a positive experience for her that hasn't affected her educationally (bad turn of phrase but I hope you know what I'm trying to say!) - I guess yours is the 'test' case for your local LEA!

CHJR Mon 09-Sep-13 22:37:48

Don't panic. Our ds2 has SN and we find the people on the ground are usually quite realistic, just there are some boxes to tick in between. Take a copy of DD's reports, proof of previous pantos she's done, and a very calm approach so he or she can tell you're a sane trustworthy judge whom they can agree with. Tell them sane sensible things like, of course we don't let her do more than 1 play a year (or whatever) "more than that would be too much at her age don't you think?" (It often helps if they feel you see it as a genuine consultation and cooperation I find.)

cricketballs Mon 09-Sep-13 22:49:25

the head is just making sure that all boxes are ticked regarding your DD's attendance/out of school activities. The EWO may give you a hard time, but if you have evidence then they do accept it - imagine the uproar if a parent claimed that their DC were doing this, that and the other so their attendance was low and something terrible was missed because it wasn't checked upon

Sparklymommy Tue 10-Sep-13 06:42:14

HeySoulSister yes, she enjoyed it. But it is more than that. For dd it it is almost work experience. This is the career that dd wants, performing on stage and screen and Panto is the start of that. She works extremely hard, 52 weeks a year with her singing and dancing. It isn't "just" a local panto to her, it's a valid part of her education for her vocation. It is a professional panto, not amateur, and from attending a competitive dance audition to having two weeks of rehearsals. To learning about spacial awareness and working in teams.

Education (certainly for my children) is more than just sitting behind a desk doing sums and spellings.

RedHelenB Tue 10-Sep-13 07:07:35

Sparkymommy - just don't get too precious about a "career on the stage" at her age. It should be just a panto to her! But I subscribe to the view that a few afternoons won't hurt. my dds are lucky in that their panto is evenings only or weekend & both primary & secondary have been reasonable about not doing homework during that time.

RedHelenB Tue 10-Sep-13 07:13:10

And the reason it won't hurt to have a few afternoons off is that it is confidence building, they are learning to take direction, physical exercise (if they are dancing) so part of the PE curriculum & socially having to mix with other children & adults so i don't think YABU. It may be that the grammar school she goes onto may be equally as strict, a point to consider when choosing schools.

waltzingmathilda Tue 10-Sep-13 07:24:30

The Head, whilst covering her own backside, has the final say in absence. It's not as clear cut as present/absent etc - there are many variables within the system, absent (medical), educated off site, school trip, and so forth there is absolutely no reason why she cannot tick one of the other suitable boxes that gives full attendance.

neunundneunzigluftballons Tue 10-Sep-13 07:47:30

Education (certainly for my children) is more than just sitting behind a desk doing sums and spellings.
^This .

I could not agree with you more and as parents and obviously highly involved parents you should be actively involved in your child's education.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 10-Sep-13 07:59:44

I wouldn't worry about it at all,you have clarification directly from the gov if the EWO wishes to waste a bit of time let them because in the long run it will save you hassle.

If they do give you a hard time tell the, to take it up with the education minister.

Vivacia Tue 10-Sep-13 08:25:58

The bit about your post that really struck me is how you appear to be viewing today's meeting. You are not a naughty school girl, called in for a telling off from the head. Remind yourself that you are an adult. A serious, sensible, responsible, calm, reasonable parent. Also, go in to the meeting with the explicit understanding that whatever your differences, you and the school have at least one area of common ground - the best interests of your child.

Sparklymommy Tue 10-Sep-13 13:05:21

Thank you everyone for your posts. The meeting is at 2:30pm, so just preparing what I need to say. In a way I feel that the EWO is just wasting everyone's time tbh. As far as I am concerned, the e-mail from government is clarification that my daughter should be allowed to do the Pantomime.

I understand the poster who says I shouldn't be precious about a career on the stage, and believe me I'm not. But should it be the path she goes down then having repeated professional engagements in panto etc on her cv (which is already much more impressive than my own!) can't hurt.

Sparklymommy Wed 11-Sep-13 08:54:21

So we had a meeting with the EWO. Who repeated, blindly, over and over again that we were lucky to have a. School place and dd should therefore be in school. At all times. Unless too ill to attend.

She was very frustrating and hadnt done her homework. She didn't really know what she was talking about and hadn't even read the e-mail from central government that I had forwarded to her. She kept saying that she did not see the educational value of dance exams! Even though they get UCAS points for them! Argh!

redexpat Wed 11-Sep-13 09:04:22

Then she is unprofessional. Who comes to a meeting without having done any prep? What could she actually do to stop you?

pianodoodle Wed 11-Sep-13 09:05:14

Wow that's mad! I wouldn't let the matter drop there.

I was always allowed time off for music exams etc... In fact the school would make a point of announcing things like that at assembly and even have a little certificate "presentation" (despite not being the awarding body!) just to encourage stuff like this.

I also did music festivals/competitions so not the same as exams regarding UCAS points etc... but anything like this would have been seen as educational and worthwhile.

We had a few girls who did acting outside school and sometimes class trips would be organised to go and see the production!

That was probably before the stricter laws about term time absence but still...

It's no coincidence I'm sure that many of the people taking time off for reasons like this will be able students anyway. It's not like they're away on holiday!

jacks365 Wed 11-Sep-13 09:12:22

Sparkly the email mentioned exams not performances though and they are not the same thing.

What can tbey do about it? Take you to court for truancy you said you considered home school and maybe you should relook at that option or if possible a private school that can cater to her better. The ewo will be monitoring you now.

Bramshott Wed 11-Sep-13 09:34:14

Do you/the panto have a child's performance licence for her?

PrimalLass Wed 11-Sep-13 09:49:21

Is there a stage school anywhere near you?

titchy Wed 11-Sep-13 09:57:44

If she's doing more than three performances a year you should have a licence from the LEA which would avoid all these issues.

If the EWO is unwilling to read the clarification you have from central government find out who her line manage is.

She will have one.

Elsiequadrille Wed 11-Sep-13 10:19:00

I'm astonished she wasted your time with a meeting at all, but to also come unprepared and uninformed...

Do take this further if you need to. You could also consider flexi schooling (ask on the home ed. section about current laws as I'm sure they changed recently).

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