School fines. Did you pay??

(91 Posts)
10oclocknews Mon 30-May-16 09:40:30

I'm aware this is a very divided subject and one which has passionate supporters on each side of the fence however my question is to gauge how many people have refused to pay the fine and landed themselves in court.
I'm currently deciding weather to pay mine. I fully accept that attendance at school is very important and my son turns up at school on time everyday, and apart from this yr has had 1uuu00% attendance for the last 4 yrs. This yr however has been an anomaly. He has had no time off sick (lucky for us I know). At Easter I took my son out of school to visit family in South Africa and to combine with a memorial service for my late father. It wasn't a family holiday and wasn't done to save money (it actually cost us more to go when we did as it was actually over the Easter period). We went at this time as I'm currently at university studying midwifery which is heavily regulated by the NMC and I'm required to have 100% attendance in order to fulfill the course requirements. I only get 7wks off a yr. my husband also works and struggles to get time off during holidays unless booked a yr in advance. My sons (he's 8) Easter holidays this yr however did not start until 2 wks after Easter so in order to attend the memorial which was planned to enable all who were attending were available it meant I had to take my son out of school for 8 days. It isn't something we will repeat as I woukd not book a family holiday during term time. I write to the head teacher to outline the situation and did ask for work to take away. No work was given and permission not granted as it wasn't deemed exceptional circumstances and listed as a family holiday. To me it was exceptional and meant a great deal to me. However because of her judgement and interpretation I'm now being fined.
I've written some strongly worded emails to my LEA as I feel the fine is unjust at this time. My sons attendance is currently over 93% even with the days off. I'm debating whether to pay the fine as I feel this is an admission of an offence I don't feel I've committed. I'm not denying my child an education. However if I don't pay I'm worried I could land myself with a criminal record which could have serious implications on my future as a student midwife. I'm awaiting responses from the LEA and my local MP but in the meantime I thought I'd see if anyone has been in a similar position and what the outcome was.
Thank you xx

Bolograph Mon 30-May-16 09:41:16

if I don't pay I'm worried I could land myself with a criminal record which could have serious implications on my future as a student midwife.

Precisely.

branofthemist Mon 30-May-16 09:43:16

We took Dd and ds out in similar circumstances. It wasn't authorised and tbh, I couldn't have cared less. We haven't been fined though.

We did discuss it and we decided we would just pay it, if it happened and wrote it in to the budget for the trip. We fully expected to be fined.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 30-May-16 09:47:44

Pay the fine now, before it increases and you end up with a criminal record. It doesn't matter whether you think it's unfair, you knew the rules and took him anyway. I sympathise with the timings and your father's memorial service, but you still took your son out of school unauthorised.

Just pay the fine.

carltonscroop Mon 30-May-16 09:49:02

If you don't pay the standard fine, they will impose the higher one (for non-payment of a penalty) and then it's a see you in court.

You will not of course be able to choose your date in court around your course, so you are also risking your 100% attendance requirement (or is that less of a requirement than you say, because student MWs go sick etc and they are not all back-coursed because there's an outbreak of norovirus?)

And as the ruling on the one case is so new and possibly discriminatory on health grounds, (in that one there was also no sickness absence attendance of over 95% after the 5 days unauthorised) I wouldn't count on a court case going in your favour. Can you afford the higher fine and the effort of fighting it?

fatowl Mon 30-May-16 09:59:00

Regardless of the unauthorised absence issue, so many parents don't realise that "asking for extra work" adds to the overworked teachers workload even more.
Not only are you expecting the teacher to spend time putting together "extra work", you will no doubt expect it to be marked and feedback given, and then the teacher will have to spend extra time helping the child to catch up what she missed.
I work at a small private school, with typically 20-22 per class, and unauthorised absence rules don't apply, but the management has stopped us setting extra work for students on holiday. Can't imagine how a state school teacher manages to do it, so complaining that "No work was given" is unlikely to be seen as a failing by the school - they have enough to deal with.

I do think the absentee rules are ridiculously draconian, but if you choose to take your child out, please don't add to the teacher workload more than necessary.

10oclocknews Mon 30-May-16 09:59:48

Carltonscroop in answer to your question about time off, any theory time or placement time due to time off or sickness all has to be repaid back in your holiday time or by extra shifts outside of placement block. If you miss so much that you cannot possibly repay the time then you are removed from the course. My friend got whooping cough and missed 12 wks as was very ill. She had to leave the course and return as a first year the following year. I'm not exaggerating when I state it is 100% attendance.

I do take your comments on board and they are all things I have told myself. I'm fighting with my common sense and militant stance 😁😁 I'm still in the 21 day period so have time. I feel rather annoyed as I don't have the guile to blatantly lie like many parents I know that go away each year and just lie saying kids are I'll so they don't get fined. I was honest as I don't think it's fair to implicate my child in a lie. I don't condone lying. However honesty and sensible discussion with teachers no longer gets you anywhere. Sigh x

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 30-May-16 10:04:59

Like a PP said, if you need to attend court (after non-payment) you'll not get to pick a day, and you won't be able to cancel a court date to attend your MW course.

I don't think this is the time to try and prove a point about unfairness/absence rules, to be honest. Just pay the fine and save yourself anymore hassle!

Lucyccfc Mon 30-May-16 10:11:32

If you choose to take your child out of school during term time, then you know the rules (even if you don't agree with them), so just pay the fine and put it behind you.

My DS has had 100% attendance right the way through school. He is in year 6, Sats finished and I am taking him out to go to the Euro's in France. Trip of a lifetime for a child who is obsessed with football. I know the rules and will just pay the fine. I haven't asked for extra work - his teacher does enough already. Its definitely not being done for a cheap holiday - its cost me a flipping fortune.

I was honest with his Head Teacher, who said that she wouldn't authorise it, but hopes that DS has the most amazing time and what a fantastic opportunity for him.

I know the rules and the fine will be paid.

Nataleejah Mon 30-May-16 10:11:57

Just pay up and save yourself a hassle

WombatStewForTea Mon 30-May-16 10:12:31

My head probably wouldn't have authorised it but I don't think she'd have put you forward for a fine either.
It isn't actually the head teacher who issues the fine. The head teacher recommends the fine and the LEA have to agree and be the ones who actually fine the parents so I suspect your emails to the LEA will be fruitless.

However honesty and sensible discussion with teachers no longer gets you anywhere. Sigh
You had my sympathy until this. The head has a set criteria they have to follow to allow holidays in term time. If you don't meet that criteria then you need to suck it up not bitch that the head has done you wrong.

10oclocknews Mon 30-May-16 10:12:38

I never really thought about the extra work involved until recently so yes I'm at fault there however I did not mind that he wasn't given the work. The teacher was not concerned he'd be behind so said not to worry. In return we did extra homework ourselves so he was level with his classmates. He did learn a lot of culture on his trip though and much more than he'd learned in class and as luck would have it he'd been studying facts on table mountain in school so I took him there whilst away, and he posted a post card to his class from the top which started a discussion and has now prompted the class to start a stamp collection x
I do think there is a place for fines but it frustrates me that a teacher can decide what is exceptional irrespective of personal circumstances. If these were done on a case by case basis then fines wouldn't be issued as much I'm sure. My friend was allowed to take her son out of school to get married abroad. This was deemed exceptional by their head teacher despite it being booked 6 months before they wed and the school holiday dates being published. I just feel the fines need to be uniform and not a postcode lottery x

dangerrabbit Mon 30-May-16 10:14:53

You have to pay unless you want to end up in court.

SocialDisaster Mon 30-May-16 10:17:36

I told the LA i am not paying and to take me to court and they didn't. I told them all their wrong doings. It centred on attendance levels due to chronic health issues. That was a year ago.

seven201 Mon 30-May-16 10:22:01

You've mentioned a couple of times that you don't think it's fair the teacher gets to decide. It is the head teacher, not the teacher. I have no say if one of my students gets an authorised trip or not.

I agree with the comment about not expecting work to be set, but you have said that you didn't mind that none was received. It really is disruptive when kids miss a week as they need a lot of support to catch up when they're back. That said I don't disagree with children being taken out for exceptional circumstances, but cheaper holidays do annoy me. I think you should just pay the fine and move on.

10oclocknews Mon 30-May-16 10:22:50

Wombatstewfortea I'm sorry if my comment sounded insensitive. I understand the teachers have a set criteria. My point was that I told them the situation, that it wasn't a family holiday and the reasons we couldn't go in April when my sons Easter holidays were. They do decide if the circumstances are exceptional or not but in this instance just decided to put it down to a family holiday. I speak to the teachers often and have what I deem a healthy relationship with them. They know I wouldn't just take my son out of school to save money. I haven't done it before and I won't be doing it again (not as a result of the fine I might add). As I stated earlier if it was more uniform and not a postcode lottery then I'm sure people would not be so disgruntled.?? X

wannabestressfree Mon 30-May-16 10:28:10

Your over thinking it.
Just pay the fine and let it go.

JennyOnAPlate Mon 30-May-16 10:30:54

You need to pay the fine unless you want to risk ending up in court.

Wellthatsit Mon 30-May-16 10:33:07

I think you have to accept that it's not personal. You knew you might incur a fine, You understand the reasons presumably (there has to a system in place to make things workable and stop people taking the piss). You accept you need 100 per cent attendance for your course.

So why be so affronted when you can't twist the rules for school

(NB It would be great if the government would clamp down on the holiday campania and airlines who crank up prices, although realise that's not your issue)

MrsMushrooms Mon 30-May-16 10:34:21

Pay the fine. You knew you were taking him out without permission and decided it was worth breaking the rules. That's fine, only you can make that decision, but part of that decision was accepting that you'd have to pay the fine.

reallybadidea Mon 30-May-16 10:35:53

Afaik it's a civil matter not criminal, so if you do go to court and lose then you wouldn't end up with a criminal record. (And even if you did shown on a CRB check, the NMC won't stop you going on the register for that!)

Having said that I'm not sure it's worth the hassle of going to court.

Coconut0il Mon 30-May-16 10:36:13

I totally agree that the rules are rubbish and unfair but for minimal hassle I would just pay the fine. Unless you have the time and money to fight I would just pay and forget about it.
Please don't blame the teachers though, I work in a school and we often discuss the wonderful holidays the children are having. One child was taken to Egypt at the start of an Ancient Egypt and topic and he had so much to tell the class when he got back. All the staff I work with ask the children about their holidays.
Most of the parents I know either lie about sickness or just accept the fine as part of the holiday cost. It's such a ridiculous situation. When DS1 was in yr4 he had 2 weeks off with chicken pox, according to some news reports I've seen the 10 days he had off mean he will struggle to get a GCSEhmm.
You're right but pay and move on.

MrsBlimey Mon 30-May-16 10:37:50

It's a bit rich going on about your own required attendance on your course and then refusing to accept that you must pay a fine for your son's absence because he doesn't have perfect attendance.

You already know what effect non payment would have on your record, so I think you already know what you need to do. The LEA and court aren't going to listen to whatever argument you might have against it if the fine has already been issued, so you might as well save yourself a load of extra bother (plus required attendance at court which will take days out of your course) and just pay it.

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 10:43:22

Just pay ffs - do you want any more hassle or days off?

lljkk Mon 30-May-16 10:45:55

It's a stupid system & totally unfair... you have to pay the fine, though, it's the lowest stress option.

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