About the date of the teacher training day changing?

(24 Posts)
Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:44:00

In September we got a list of the school holidays and teacher training days for the 2013/14 academic year. The teacher training days were set as the Monday after October half term, the Monday after Christmas (which has been standard all the time the DC have been there and the Friday before spring bank holiday. This latter date seemed odd, as it is usually the day after the Easter holiday.

The school is a polling station, so wi be closed on 22 May for polling in the European elections. Thus it seemed that they had sensibly moved the final training day of the year so that the kids didn't have to go back to school for a day between the election and half term.

However, I got a letter last week informing me that the teacher training day has been moved and is now on the Tuesday after Easter. The problem with this us that I have booked a holiday over the period of the original teacher training day.

I spoke to the head and she said it would have to go down as an unauthorised absence. I'm really annoyed - I feel I'm being penalised despite the fact I arranged our holiday around the dates the school provided.

I expect the date has changed because the school can't get the training they want on the original date - things change, and that's outside the school's control.

But unless the letter told you that the dates they gave were provisional only, and subject to change, the school shouldn't be penalising you for relying on the dates they gave you!

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 26-Mar-14 13:49:39

Do you still have the original list? And will you be charged for an unauthorised absence?

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:53:31

Yes I still have the original letter (plus the recent letter acknowledged that the date was changing from 23 May to 22 April). I don't know if we'll be fined - just that it will be considered an unauthorised absence.

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 26-Mar-14 13:56:17

I would think 'so what?' to the unauthorised absence, and pretty much the same if they tried to find me. I wouldn't pay and really can't see it standing up in court.

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 26-Mar-14 13:57:19

Fine me, even.

Nomama Wed 26-Mar-14 13:59:11

No, it won't.

They have caused this and I am sure you aren't the only parents to have booked something.

Write back and say that you wish it to be acknowledged that you do not accept the Unauthorised Absence as it is a situation entirely of their making. Say that you expect that they will take responsibility for the outcomes caused by their change, at short notice, rather than visiting it upon you and your child. Given the current climate of fines and other ramifications you are simply not happy to let this rest.

They can, and should, then Authorise the absence. You do have higher authorities you can go to in the LA if school is not helpful - and they should be falling over themselves to make this go away for you.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:05:13

The head can authorise the absence where there are exceptional circumstances. I think you can argue that the school changing the training date which you have relied to spend money on flights amounts to exceptional circumstances. I would write to the head setting this out and asking for approval.

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:09:11

I'm sure other children will not be present on that day. In fact it is common for lots of children to be off the Friday after an election (I assumed setting the date as 23 May was to improve their attendance figures). DS has had 0.5 day of this academic year (when he was sent home early because he was ill), so any absence is out of character for him.

Part of me says it doesn't really matter. We can afford to pay the fine, and DS moves school in September anyway. But another part of me sees it as a wrong that needs righting.

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:10:00

*off (damn phone)...

mummymeister Wed 26-Mar-14 14:54:37

as others have said, get a copy of the original letter, get a copy of the booking for your holiday. send this in a letter to the head and copy in the governors. you did not book your holiday in term time because when you booked it you had been told that this was not within school term time but outside of it. ask that under these circumstances this be granted as "exceptional" you wouldn't have booked it unless it was a day off and they need to know this. if you got fined for this then take it to court and get MNetters outside lobbying because this would be the most blatantly unfair interpretation of Goves rules that there could be.

Stinklebell Wed 26-Mar-14 15:31:36

Exactly the same thing has happened to us.

School released the development day dates way back in September, one of which was the 23rd May. We booked a holiday around those dates.

We recontly got a letter to say the date had been changed to the Monday after half term.

I wrote in but they've still refused to authorised it. The Head apologised but said she can't authorise it, however it's highly unlikely we'd get fined for 1 day (fines here only kick in at 5 days).

But then, travelling that one days early has saved us about 3 times as much as the fine, so it's still cheaper to risk it.

We're going whether they authorise it or not

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:51

How does this sound?

Dear <head teacher>
I recently received your letter dated 20 march 2014 informing me that the teacher training day originally scheduled for 23 may 2014 had been rescheduled. As you can see from the enclosed documentation, I had already booked a holiday to coincide with the original date of 23 may. I based this decision on your letter dated 4 sept 2014 (enclosed) setting out the school holidays for the 2013/14 academic year at <school>.

I request that <DS> is allowed to take 23 may 2014 as an authorised absence. My basis for this request, ad set out above, is that at the time I booked the holiday it fid not fall within term time.

Yours sincerely
Oubliette0292

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:10:59

Aargh - excuse the typos - can't type properly on my phone...

pancakesfortea Wed 26-Mar-14 20:16:19

We had this. School issued dates, we booked a holiday, school changed dates. Bloody infuriating. To be fair, they didn't mark it as unauthorized. Or if they did they never told me.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 26-Mar-14 20:21:15

don;t put term time put the 190 days (check the number) that children have to be in school.

ThistledownAndCobweb Wed 26-Mar-14 20:25:28

The school I work at had to do this last term because an outside provider changed the date so the Friday before half term was not an inset despite being originally planned for.

We had three Families who had booked holiday and it wasn't marked as unauthorised because they had booked the holidays in good faith.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 26-Mar-14 20:30:51

Make sure you put "letter dated 4th September 2013, not 2014.

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:31:50

Oh OK - I'll check the number of days and put that instead of term time.

Do I need to mention the phrase 'exceptional circumstances' at all? (Think this is the term used for events that warrant the absence being authorised).

Also do I need to send a copy to all the governors individually, or just to the head of governors?

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:32:37

Good point on the date of the original letter - will correct that too!

SuburbanRhonda Wed 26-Mar-14 20:32:58

But ... You are lucky to be told that dates of inset days so far in advance, OP.

One of the schools I work in announces the dates as the year goes along, and as they are able to get trainers in, etc. so no booking holidays in advance for those parents sad

CrohnicallyChanging Wed 26-Mar-14 20:36:27

Can you photocopy the original letter? Just thinking it might be an idea for you to keep the original, just in case (in case of what, I don't know!)

BackforGood Wed 26-Mar-14 20:41:32

It doesn't matter though - makes no odds to you that you have a day of "unauthorised", it's the % for the school, that the school will get criticism for.

Oubliette0292 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:43:54

Good idea to keep the original - I'll scan and print a copy (the holidays are summarised as a colour-coded calendar which is unlikely to photocopy well).

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