AIBU to keep DD off school for PGL week?(86 Posts)
Genuine AIBU here and would appreciate any advice from any parents who may have been in a similar position.
DD is in Y6 and in June there is a week-long PGL trip that almost all her classmates will be going on but DD will not attend (she's happy with not going) for various good reasons. There are only two other children not going. When I asked what they will be doing that week, I was told there's no special provision for the ones left behind, and that they'll probably just "help out with the younger ones".
I'm really not happy with this. It would be okay for a day, but all week? I'd rather DD just stayed home - she could relax, read, practise her instruments, go swimming, etc. would would serve her better and be less boring. I have never ever asked for time off before, but I'm really considering it now.
I can't see why it would be an issue but it depends on the schools absence policy. If they are sticklers for 'rules' then they might be a pita about it.
In those circumstances I probably would ask for time off too, although I'm not sure that it would be authorised. It seems that the headteacher has so little discretion with regards to authorising time off nowadays. There are only a handful of children at DD's school not going on the Y6 trip, but at our school they do organise a couple of trips for them (swimming/bowling) etc so that they get to do something fun.
I very much doubt that the school would agree to a request to keep her off so I'd be inclined just to do it rather than ask.
I wouldn't want my DC just being left to help with younger children and would read this as "it's a bit of a pain they'll be here so we'll just stick them in another class & not actually do anything with them"
Your plan tbh sounds much nicer. I'm sure others won't agree with me but yanbu
If they're definitely nit doing anything with those left I'd tell them you're taking holiday leave (albeit at home.) it will be unauthorised and you're at risk of a 60fine but if you're home and you do fun things with her she'll create lovely memories of the pgl week even though she wasn't at pgl!
I'd be very surprised if you got authorised leave. Just keep her home.
I am surprised that the school don't do anything for the pupils not going on the trip, ours put on things to do for anyone not going. It does sound a boring week at school for her.
I think it's piss poor that they are not doing anything with the ones not going. Our school takes them out for fun stuff every day. Are you sure there's not even a couple of days of activities?
The options for the week is the trip or school school probably wont authorise her staying off so its up to you really
Maybe she could go in and help with the younger ones on one of the days and have the rest of the time off. She might even find she enjoys helping with younger ones, eg. Listening to them read, doing activities with small groups etc.
They do like helping out in reception though- at least mine do. I would send for a couple of days and then keep her off.
We kept dsd off for the week of her school's trip - I think we rang her in sick. It was the week before her grammar-school exam and we didn't want her to blow it.
Agree with you ... my child is also at school this week while majority of year are on a trip. They have a bit of a non specific timetable, much of which seems to be 'PE' (no further detail, but far many more sessions than usual) which I think is a bit unfair for kids who don't like PE much. So far as I can see there's nothing especially 'fun' planned though I'm going to reserve judgement until later today when hopefully the kids at school will have been given more details. I may not be averse however to keeping them off later in the week ... we shall see, if they're neither learning anything of benefit (and if they were, surely it would be stuff that the kids away on the trip would also need to be taught?), or having interesting/fun activities and are instead doing 'lessons' they don't like ... I'd far rather my child was at home and doing something constructive.
As far as I know my child and others won't, at least, be expected to 'help' younger ones, which, as Heffalump said is less about being useful (and why should they be anyway) and more about being stuck somewhere. I think that's pretty shoddy really. Kids shouldn't be penalised by being 'dumped' for not going on a residential trip - there are all sorts of reasons why such trips may not be suitable for particular children at a particular time.
I don't think they will agree if you request it.
And at 5 days off, there may be a possibility of a fine (LAs implement the fines system in accordance with their local written policy but most of them use the same policy which is to fine unauthorised absences starting at 5 days or more).
The problem is more how the school are dealing with the children to make sure they have a constructive or fun week at school. I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask for specific details of what they will do that week and to query anything that sounds like they are being shunted around or baby-sat in the younger classes.
Maybe the school doesn't have the resources to do anything with them, if the class teachers are on the trip? My school wouldn't.
At that age I'd have paid for a week in school helping out with younger kids, rather than go on a PGL trip!
Your child should attend school, but equally I would insist that she is given some educational provision at her level; 'helping out with the little ones all week' is not sufficient. She could do a research project under the supervision/direction of the Head or Deputy.
I planned some work, a wildlife project, to be undertaken by the (several) children not coming on a class trip for three days, and was extremely annoyed to find that the TA who was to supervise their activities, etc had immediately been commandeered by another teacher and the children spent all the time 'helping' in Reception.
My friend kept her daughter off school and said she was ill, as our school takes a dim view of those not going on the trip.
I don't think absence would be authorised for this. However I would likely phone them in sick in these circumstances.
Upwards of a third of our year didn't go on the PGL trip. This meant there was a good sized group left at home and they did a local based activity week of climbing, cycling, wildlife walks etc. One of mine didn't go away and had a great time at home. The other one went and even though the teacher said she was the best by far at all the activities she was not keen on a week away dorm sharing with the hair and make up girls.
If there are only two not going on the trip, then chances are they won't have the staffing to do extra, fun activities with the two not going. If it was a larger number then I think it would be different.
When you say helping younger children, what do school mean by this?
It would not be uncommon for children not going, when small numbers, to go into a year 5 class, for example, and work alongside that class.
Or do they mean they will go into an EYFS or infant class? To do what? DD would have loved to go to help in the infant classes at that age, though would prefer PGL more. However, I am not sure how that fits in with your DD's education for that week.
I doubt school would authorise a holiday for that week tbh. However depending on your LEA you may find there is no fine - many LEAs only fine after 5 days, some do before that or at 5 days. If that was the case could she go in for 1 or 2 days and then have the remainder not there? Not great really, but if she will not be doing any proper learning in that time....
What does your Dd think about it? What would she want to do?
I kept DS off school in year 6 when this happened for him. It was 5 years ago though so rules may have changed.
I sent a letter asking for the time off for a family holiday which we would like to take that week seeing as he wouldn't be missing actual school work. This was authorised and I can say it was the best week ever.
Instead of a holiday though I actually planned an activity for every day, museums, galleries, day trip to Cadbury's world (very educational and yummy) etc. By the Friday we were worn out and went for a walk and picnic to our local historic beauty spot instead.
Best week of his primary education - he still mentions it from time to time.
I think you'd have good reason to appeal a fine if the LEA tried to fine you for keeping her off. But I would get the school's proposal (of 'helping with the younger ones') in writing now just to help your case if it came to that
Oh and keep a diary of everything you do so they can see she hasn't just been sat around doing nothing for a week
Thank you all for your responses - very helpful. I actually called the LEA to clarify and was told basically not to take the entire week off (i.e. 10 sessions), as that would trigger a possible fine, so if the situation remains the same and there's nothing planned, I might take 3-4 days out rather than 5.
Goblin, why should my child attend school if no education is being provided and she'd be better off at home? And as your experience shows me, I can insist all I like, but if they're a teacher or two down (which they will be in PGL week), then they may be unwilling or unable to provide anything.
Girlandboy - that sounds like a heavenly week and just what I'd like to do. As you say, the rules have changed a bit since you did that, but if you can remember any persuasive arguments, I'd love to hear them.
I don't know. I don't think YABU but I would see what your child wants to do.
I didn't go on my year 6 residential and spent the week in the reception class. It was genuinely one of the highlights of my time at primary school. I loved little children and absolutely thrived working with them. I always remembered it and it was probably one of the first times I thought about becoming a teacher (I am a teacher but now I'm adult I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than work with 4 and 5 year olds so things change I guess! ) It might not have been academic education but it was certainly education - I learned how to explain, how to be patient, how to interact with younger people, organisation skills etc etc. I think it was valuable.
However, if your daughter has no interest in the younger children then I'd keep her at home and do things she does want to do. She ought to have a good week.
I think you'd need to demonstrate that you had very good reason to not allow her to go on the trip to even stand a chance of persuading the LA here. If the school have failed to make provision for any SN for example (if this was the case, I'd have been kicking up a long time ago).
IME children left behind obviously feel like they're missing out, but generally enjoy 'helping out the little ones'. There are fewer more effective ways to learn than to 'teach'.
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