To ask people to please stop conflating two education related issues which are in no way linked?

(67 Posts)
DrSeuss Wed 09-Oct-13 12:59:41

If you choose to take your child on holiday during term time, you may be fined. The fine is issued by the local authority acting under instructions from the Department for Education. The local authority has no say in this, it must follow directives. The school has no part at all in this. If you wish to complain, you should contact the local authority, the DFE or your M.P. There is no point in contacting the school, they have no part in the matter.

Teachers were on strike in some areas last week and will be on strike in some areas next week. They have a right under law to do this as do most employees in this country, the most noteworthy exception being the police. Teachers voted to do this and made a personal choice to strike or not to strike. It is therefore entirely reasonable for others to state that they disagree with this decision.

Many people are currently circulating pictures, photos and messages stating that, if they can be fined for removing children from school, schools should be fined for closing on strike days. These Messages etc show that posters do not understand the two issues. They are concurrent but in no way linked.

Thank you.

2madboys Wed 09-Oct-13 13:01:38

If there is no point contacting the school about fines, then why was I told by a teacher at my Dss school that whether people are fined will be up to the new head teacher?

EatingAllTheCrumpets Wed 09-Oct-13 13:04:35

Pah! Facts mean bugger all, to the DM and readers. Unfortunately teacher bashing seems like the done thing these days angry

Growlithe Wed 09-Oct-13 13:05:59

In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that one situation has been created in order to rile and detract proper attention, and potential support, from the other.

DrSeuss Wed 09-Oct-13 13:09:07
meditrina Wed 09-Oct-13 13:11:11

2madboys if the absence is authorised, it means you won't get fined.

The only person who decides if your absence will be authorised is the HT, so to that extent it is up to them. (HT's total discretion is written into law, btw. LEAs or Governors who try to say it's anything to do with them are misrepresenting the legal position).

2madboys Wed 09-Oct-13 13:17:46

The conversation was after we'd been told any holiday would be unauthorised (in a newsletter). I was specifically told that it was at the head's discretion as to whether people get fined.

Tweasels Wed 09-Oct-13 13:29:41

Teachers can't win. They are under pressure from every angle, I really feel for them. It astounds me the amount of people who don't understand strike action and why people do it. I don't expect all people to support it but just understand the basic facts.

If you cannot understand the difference between the absence policy and strike action then that makes you sound extremely stupid.

meditrina Wed 09-Oct-13 13:42:57

That probably means that HT will be the one who decides when and at what level of unauthorised absence the school should notify the LA for fines action.

DrSeuss Wed 09-Oct-13 14:39:18

Teasels-and yet, constant on going FB posts of "the school fines me so I'll fine them".

pixiepotter Wed 09-Oct-13 14:51:48

The result is the same -the children miss a days education.One is terribly bad though and the other not so bad apparently

pixiepotter Wed 09-Oct-13 14:53:56

..or at least that is what we are being asked to believe.

JustinBsMum Wed 09-Oct-13 14:57:32

It's a bit like complaints about the police - 'why are they wasting their time on this (small issue in complainants eyes)' 'have they nothing better to do with their time' 'they could have spoken to the school / parent/ child and sorted the whole thing'

If someone complains to the police about something it must be followed up according to strict guidelines, unfortunately it is not in the polices' power to decide that this or that is wasting their and everyone else's time. There are laws and regulations that must be adhered to.

Whingers seem unaware of this.

Thank you! The fb 'letter' is driving me crackers.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

curlew Wed 09-Oct-13 15:00:59

"In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that one situation has been created in order to rile and detract proper attention, and potential support, from the other."

Surely not...........

zeeboo Wed 09-Oct-13 15:02:39

Pixiepotter is right. Yes, they are two distinct issues and have different causes but both mean a child missing a days education and it is hypocritical that central government allow teachers to strike and ban parents from choosing to take their child out of school for a few days. But then I can't ever take striking seriously, it is foot stamping, tantruming, childish blackmail for people to try and get their own way.

motherinferior Wed 09-Oct-13 15:16:22

What do you mean 'allow teachers to strike'? The whole point of a strike is that your labour is withdrawn. I mean, you could shoot the strikers, but that's a bit extreme.

motherinferior Wed 09-Oct-13 15:21:33

Incidentally, women strikers were instrumental in (a) getting decent working conditions in the Bryant and May factory in 1888 (b) getting the Equal Pay Act passed 80 years later. Neither of which I consider 'foot stamping, tantruming, childish blackmail'.

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Wed 09-Oct-13 16:14:45

Yep, teachers pay, conditions and pensions directly comparable with women in a Victorian match factory........grin

landrover Wed 09-Oct-13 16:42:29

Sorry so what does conflating mean?

Jinsei Wed 09-Oct-13 16:48:33

As someone who has taken dd out of school in term time several times (thankfully authorised on every occasion but I'd have taken her and paid the fine even if not), and as someone who had to take a day off work due to strike action at an extremely inconvenient time of year, I wholeheartedly agree with the OP. These issues are not connected in any way, and anyone who thinks they are must be somewhat lacking in intelligence.

The teachers do not go on strike because they fancy a day off work, but because of fundamental changes to the terms of their employment.

Jinsei Wed 09-Oct-13 16:50:45

As someone who has taken dd out of school in term time several times (thankfully authorised on every occasion but I'd have taken her and paid the fine even if not), and as someone who had to take a day off work due to strike action at an extremely inconvenient time of year, I wholeheartedly agree with the OP. These issues are not connected in any way, and anyone who thinks they are must be somewhat lacking in intelligence.

The teachers do not go on strike because they fancy a day off work, but because of fundamental changes to the terms of their employment.

CleverWittyUsername Wed 09-Oct-13 17:11:14

Well said Jinsei. I just wish it was that clear to everybody!

motherinferior Wed 09-Oct-13 17:17:06

No, of course it's not the same situation. I was taking issue with the idea that strikers were all childish foot-stampers.

Landrover: conflating means 'merging into one'. So people are merging, or confusing, two issues that aren't the same.

landrover Wed 09-Oct-13 18:37:34

Thanks mother, you learn something new every day! I need to start using conflating in my conversation! smile

NonnoMum Wed 09-Oct-13 18:44:42

DrSeuss Thank you.

MrsMook Thu 10-Oct-13 02:31:41

So the Department of Education is penalising parents for taking their children out of school in term time.
Also the Department od Education is driving teachers to strike action because of their appalling policies and the impact they will have on education.

I sense a tenuous link, and it's not the teachers...

meditrina Thu 10-Oct-13 06:40:27

It is a bit tenuous: fines were introduced by Labour (who support the new verbiage which removes explicit reference to holidays, changes 'special' 'exceptional' and lifts the 10 day limit).

The strikes are about current changes to T&Cs. The changes to pension age were manifesto issue and hit across the public sector (not specific to Education). The provision to change contribution rates was written in to the pension by Dept of Ed in 2006.

janey68 Thu 10-Oct-13 07:02:07

YANBU.
I'm afraid a lot of people aren't interested in facts though. Specially when they can jump on any old bandwagon and post on FB about it

NynaevesSister Thu 10-Oct-13 07:07:34

HT has some discretion but not as much as they did. Before they could decide under special circumstances or if a term time holiday benefitted the child. Now it is jast special circs and the LA will look at those authorised absences. Our LA put pressure on all schools not to authorise at the end of the summer term for example.

Another difference is that taking your child out for a day will impact their progress as the rest of the class have done those lessons. Where as with a strike no lessons take place so your child isn't falling behind their peers anore than they do on an inset day.

meditrina Thu 10-Oct-13 07:24:58

If your LA is inserting itself into the procedure, either they are misrepresenting their role, or the HT has consented. For the actual law is clear that it is only the HT who decides to authorise - it's exactly the same level of discretion as they had before. The new regulations do not say term time holidays cannot be authorised, btw. They simply remove all reference to them, and leave everything to HT.

Growlithe Thu 10-Oct-13 08:02:36

But the HT will be measured on attendance, so it isn't really getting left to them.

Forgetfulmog Thu 10-Oct-13 08:09:50

YANBU! I was seriously tempted to put some strongly worded comments under that fb letter. Then I thought, why bother? It's not like the person who put it on their status would take any notice

meditrina Thu 10-Oct-13 08:41:37

"But the HT will be measured on attendance, so it isn't really getting left to them".

No change from measuring in place for a few years already: no change really. If your HT is so supine they cannot exercise the discretion they have, then there may be wider problems in the school.

Or perhaps it is simply that the HT actually wants pupils in school for every single one of the 190 days of the school year (barring illness).

Nobody is confusing the two issues, simply pointing out double standards and hypocrisy. If I take my child out of school for the day, her education is apparently deeply affected. But if the school is closed (for whatever reason), it seems her education does not suffer at all.

I don't deny anyone the right to strike and demand better working conditions/pay/whatever the issue is at the time. And equally, I should not be denied the right to decide whether or not my child will be a lifelong failure if we have a long weekend in Devon.

MammaTJ Thu 10-Oct-13 08:56:10

Nobody is confusing the two issues, simply pointing out double standards and hypocrisy. If I take my child out of school for the day, her education is apparently deeply affected. But if the school is closed (for whatever reason), it seems her education does not suffer at all.

^ This.

Teachers may be under pressure, but so are a lot of parents (some of whom will be non striking teachers), so it is understandable they want to point out the double standard.

Growlithe Thu 10-Oct-13 09:18:09

To say there is a double standard is to lump the Department of Education, the LEAs and the teachers all in together.

They didn't ALL set the rules for attendance. They aren't ALL striking. Can't you see that?

penguin73 Thu 10-Oct-13 09:36:52

The other big difference that people fail to take into account is that if a child is removed from school during a normal school day they will miss whatever is taught which can have a huge impact on their learning depending on the length of absence, stage of education etc. The onus is on them to catch up on what has been missed as it may not be covered in class again. On strike days the lesson will not have been taught so has not been missed - the onus is on the teacher to ensure all work is covered during subsequent lessons so that the education is not adversely affected. Our department prepared detailed ppts/support booklets/video clips/worksheets for classes that would be affected to try to allay some of the student and parental concerns about missing a lesson. Guess how many actually attempted any of the work during their day off........

slothlike Thu 10-Oct-13 12:02:54

The result is the same -the children miss a days education.One is terribly bad though and the other not so bad apparently

Yes, but that's only the short-term result. There are potentially very different long-term results - these are the ones which determine the 'terribly bad'/'not so bad' divide.

slothlike Thu 10-Oct-13 12:10:05

Also, there is a difference between an entire class of students missing out on one particular lesson, and individual students sporadically missing lessons throughout the year. I'm not a teacher, but I would imagine that the former is much easier to manage than the latter.

I have no clue why teachers are striking, and I also don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to let students have term-time holidays, BUT I agree with the OP - it's surprising to me that people link these largely unrelated issues.

Actually the two things are in no way the same.

Parents choosing to take their individual child out of school for whatever reason on whatever day they choose to (while the rest of the class is there doing whatever work was planned) is not at all like the entire school being closed and everyone being off.

In the first situation one child misses some work that everyone else has done (which may be crucial for what comes later) and needs to individually catch up. If a class of 30 children all have parents who want to take them out for 10 random days each year (plus additional days for illness) that's at least 300 lots of individual catchings up. It's not just about your individual child but the effect on everyone in the class of all this random individual days off. Illness can't be helped, but no one is going to die of the lack of a cheap week in Spain.

When the whole school is closed, the teacher adapts his/her planning accordingly. No one has missed something that everyone else has done.

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 12:37:18

YANBU
And I agree with Arbitrary the disruption caused by odd children being away and the school being shut is very different.

But, the way schools behave as if they control the whole of family life and only they know best is unbelievably annoying for most parents.

Find child care, We are having a strike, inset day, finishing early, pick your DC up because they sneezed.

Please pick your child up after school club is canceled, what your 40 miles away? Well call in a favour and get a friend to fetch her Grrrr!

Wear red, spots, Roman costume always at bugger all notice. Bring this, pay for that, do this homework by tomorrow or else, no concept at all that DC does a hobby they love and gives them confidence they take back to school on Tuesday nights.

Eat this, don't eat that, get more sleep, oh and here's some more maths HW.

Wear this, don't wear that.

Oh and spend two hours in the bus because we can't be arsed to run a decent service for a 15 mile journey.

And if this all gets too much and you need a day off it's lie or pay £120.

I'm sorry they are My DCs and I don't see why I should have to fill in a form to send time with them!

notthefirstagainstthewall Thu 10-Oct-13 12:43:29

discretion http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/1867/regulation/10/made

Nobody is confusing the two issues, simply pointing out double standards and hypocrisy. If I take my child out of school for the day, her education is apparently deeply affected. But if the school is closed (for whatever reason), it seems her education does not suffer at all.

It's the whole undervaluing education argument teachers trot out.I dislike the way teachers argue that going away with your family undermines education but missing a day to disrupt people (to make your point heard) isn't detrimental. It's not like many schools set work for their pupils on that day.

In my experience most parents tend to take holidays that fit in with "downtimes" in their children's schooling. A day or two at the of term or around INSET days.
Children aren't stupid.They can work out the difference educationally between missing vital lessons and watching lots of DVD's as an end of term treat. Same as they can a strike day.

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 12:44:41

Spend time with them.

And I know a great deal of this shit, fined, buses, lack of dyslexia training for teachers and dreadful tasteless school meals is not the teachers fault or the schools fault.

It's the shit handed down by successive governments, Labour and The present lot. Gove is a meddling idiot, but all politician see easy publicity in fucking about with education.

The teachers have my whole hearted support and I wish the HTs were free to back them and just close.

fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 12:45:40

There was someone who wrote into the Metro asking whether teachers would be fined for going on strike- err yes, they would lose a days pay. It's a totally different issue. if you take your child out of school for 2 weeks the other children have been doing things while you have been away that your DC will them have to catch up on, or the teacher will have to spend time catching your child up on. Teachers on strike will probably be marking!

StarBall: I agree entirely about how annoying it is that schools seem completely unable to comprehend that parents don't sit in suspended animation while they wait to pick up their little darlings and are grateful for being given tasks to fill the time.

Sparklymommy Thu 10-Oct-13 14:17:58

I agree that in principle teachers should have the right to strike. I agree in principle that children should not miss school. However, my argument comes in under the "what constitutes education" umbrella.

My DD has been dancing since she was two. Last year she took I think four sessions off school for dance exams. These are important to her vocational education and she is awarded UCAS points for her exams, along with her grade obviously. When I met with the Education Welfare person I was told that she did not see the educational value of dance exams and that she thought exams should be taken at the weekends or after school. When my husband asked her if she worked weekends, guess what? She didn't. He pointed out that neither do the examinors. She STILL refused to see what we were trying to explain to her.

My daughter also had four sessions off for panto. A professional engagement working in a professional theatre for which she had to attend a competitive audition. After clarification from central government she was forced to accept that this would be authorised.

I do think it is double standards. Next week three of my four children will not be in school because the teachers are striking. I shall have some workbooks at home which we will work through on that day as education is important in our house. But for our EWO, when I explained that my daughter always does extra school work when she is working or taking exams and that she is quite capable of keeping up with her school work it was met with a stony-faced refusal to accept that my daughters education would not suffer from a few afternoons out.

Surely teachers can see the double standards?

TheBigJessie Thu 10-Oct-13 14:38:13

I really don't think it's fair on teachers to conflate them with EWOs. I've had some contact with individual members of each profession, and it's a horrible comparison to make!

Those who can't teach become EWOs or Ministers of Education

Jinsei Thu 10-Oct-13 17:08:55

Nobody is confusing the two issues, simply pointing out double standards and hypocrisy. If I take my child out of school for the day, her education is apparently deeply affected. But if the school is closed (for whatever reason), it seems her education does not suffer at all.

Your child's education will suffer far more if good teachers are forced to abandon their profession and high calibre people can't be recruited.

Of course strikes have an impact, they are supposed to have an impact. But the impact of the teachers not striking is potentially much worse.

The teachers at my dd's school are bloody amazing. They work incredibly hard, give up loads of their own time for nothing in return and are deeply committed to the children whom they teach. I cannot imagine for a minute that they have taken the decision to go on strike lightly, and can only assume that they find they have no choice.

If you are angry and annoyed about the strikes, you're quite right to be. Our young people deserve better. But don't blame the teachers who have been forced into this position, blame the crappy government which has backed them into this corner.

manicinsomniac Thu 10-Oct-13 17:19:57

Yes, the two are unrelated. Both very annoying though.

They are two of the things that make me very glad I teach in an independent - the children can come and go as the parents please and the teachers don't strike.

Jinsei, by selectively quoting my post, you completely missed that I am in fact not remotely angry about the strikes.

englishteacher78 Thu 10-Oct-13 17:37:57

Also people forget many teachers ARE parents and their children aren't necessarily at their school.

Jinsei Thu 10-Oct-13 17:48:46

Jinsei, by selectively quoting my post, you completely missed that I am in fact not remotely angry about the strikes.

Flouncy, no, I didn't miss this point, but I'm sorry if my post implied that you personally were angry about the strikes. I get that you're not angry, but many people are, and they are citing the supposed hypocrisy that you have mentioned as a reason for this.

My point was that there is no hypocrisy. Teachers are not trying to make the case that the strike will do no harm, rather that government policy will do more harm.

Sparklymommy Fri 11-Oct-13 07:54:43

Fair enough thebigjessie but can you see why parents get frustrated? I came SO close to removing my eldest child from school and home educating her because of the issue of time off for exams and performance. My children's education is very important to me but the idea that a few afternoons off, when she is already in the top 5% of the class for attainment, is going to seriously harm her education is more than a little annoying. Especially when the people supposedly attempting to stop her doing these things won't see that not all education of noteworthy value happens behind a desk.

I know it's kind of annecdotal but from my experience most of the high achieving children at the dance school feel that their dance helps them at school. It helps with discipline, it helps to teach them to pick things up quickly.

Growlithe Fri 11-Oct-13 08:12:33

Sparkly I can't see why your specific issue with dance has anything to do with the teachers' strike.

cory Fri 11-Oct-13 09:55:47

Speaking as somebody whose child's headteacher was constantly threatening reprisals when I took dd to hospital to sort out the health condition that was interfering with her education, I would perhaps have had less sympathy with the same head withdrawing his labour to sort out his pay and conditions.

The message we got from the school was very clearly "we don't care if something else would do more harm to your dd and her education: we care about our figures because they make us look good".

Or as the head so charmingly put it: "of course we accept that your dd is ill but you can't expect us to be happy about it."

Otoh I know that if we go on strike, as we may do shortly, our students will support us. But that's because we support them and listen sympathetically to their problems.

cory Fri 11-Oct-13 10:03:01

I think what I'm trying to say is, many people take their cue on these matters from their own school.

If the school gives the message "attendance is really important but very occasionally other things may be more important still and we understand that", then most parents would probably be happy to go with that.

But if the message from the school is "attendance is the only thing that matters", then that is what the parents will hear.

Dc went to the school that hassled the mother of the child with cystic fibrosis over her hospital stays, because apparently being in school was more important than being able to breathe. For those teachers to claim that their pay and conditions were more important still- well, you could see why it wouldn't have gone down well.

By the time dc were at secondary, we were receiving different messages and that changed our attitude too.

CubanoHabana Fri 11-Oct-13 11:21:06

For those saying 1 day off for a child's holiday equates to 1 strike day and it's hypocritical, a lot of parents don't just take out for 1 day though it tends to be at least a week... Also, for those saying that it tends to be at a 'downtime' that pupils come out , how many actually check that it is indeed a downtime? Eg one of my year 11s has just. Come back from an unauthorised 3 week holidaying Florida - yes it was still near the beginning of term but she has a gcse exam the week after half term... She is not attending revision classes and parental contact has resulted in nothing...also a year 7 didn't start until two weeks after everyone else as he was on holiday, the first 2 weeks are so important for a successful transition from primary to secondary but he missed this (the only thing in his favour is that he attended the free summer school for 2 weeks in the hols, so at least knew his way around and some of the students).

A lot of teachers do not agree with going on strike but feel that they have an obligation to, through there union, my department have asked for dispensation to teach our exam classes on strike day, so that they do not lose out. The union has granted us it, so we will be going in to take them, whether any children turn up will be a different matter...

Snatchoo Fri 11-Oct-13 11:27:05

I've seen that letter on Facebook.

No they aren't linked, doesn't mean it isn't difficult to separate the two when a holiday is being touted as really affecting learning.

Viviennemary Fri 11-Oct-13 11:32:48

I think people are allowed to make any point they wish without being dictated to. I think it's cheeky to fine people for keeping their children out of school and then they miss school because of strikes.

TeamEdward Fri 11-Oct-13 11:35:25

Michael Gove, for example, is a twat.

Coupon Fri 11-Oct-13 11:49:30

StarBall the things you've mentioned work both ways. There are teachers working for no extra pay running various after-school clubs and activities. They spend a good deal of non-lesson time preparing and marking work, writing reports, attending meetings etc. So in a way other families are controlling their family life. They try to organise exciting extra activities such as drama or outings but then the parents just moan about the costume or voluntary contribution they've requested. They try to provide decent transport but they've only been given a budget that is too small, and again parents blame them. They advise on food and sleep which will enable children to be in full health to make the most of their education, and all they get is moan, moan from parents in return. And if it wasn't compulsory for children over 5 to be in education, surely there would be many who wouldn't attend school anywhere near enough, so this requirement is there for good reason. Teaching can be a thankless task when faced with all that negativity from unsupportive parents.

motherinferior Fri 11-Oct-13 13:41:02

Er...a holiday will mean a child is out of synch with all the other kids in the class. And affect learning in that way. For a couple of weeks. One mutual day out of school just means everyone's missed a day. The same day.

KittyShcherbatskaya Fri 11-Oct-13 14:33:03

It's totally a side issue but I get really annoyed when people try to pretend that their holiday will be educational and therefore missing school won't be an issue. Such as DSIL saying well we're going to Egypt and the DCs will learn loads more than if they were at school yeah right cos spending a week swimming in the hotel pool, playing computer games and watching you get trolleyed every evening is so educational you twerp

Jinsei Fri 11-Oct-13 16:45:39

It's totally a side issue but I get really annoyed when people try to pretend that their holiday will be educational and therefore missing school won't be an issue.

But kitty, some "holidays" are educational. Not everyone spends their holidays by the hotel pool!

My dd has learnt a huge amount from overseas travel, far more in a short space of time than she could possibly have learnt in school. We don't take her away lightly during term-time, and never just because it's cheaper to do it then than in the holidays, but there have been times when we have concluded that she will benefit more from the trip than from spending the equivalent time in school. Luckily for us, the school is supportive and recognises the potential educational value of learning that takes place outside of the classroom.

pixiepotter Fri 11-Oct-13 16:48:10

I am sure it will be more educational than sitting at home while the teachers strike

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