To think the school was wrong to refuse to authorise absence

(94 Posts)
twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 22:42:55

Next week will be the first anniversary of my friends death. His wife has applied for her son to have the day off so they can travel with their extended family to a place if importance to them. The head has sent back a standard letter saying they can only authorise absence in exceptional circumstances.And her request has been refused. AIBU in thinking the head was wrong? Not to mention incredibly insensitive? Surely this is pretty exceptional??

WooWooOwl Fri 15-Nov-13 22:45:20


And I'm usually one that is very much against term time absence. There is no doubt that one day for something like this is an exceptional circumstance.

Hassled Fri 15-Nov-13 22:45:41

Yup, I'd say that was exactly why the "exceptional circumstances" clause for Heads was written. Worth appealing to the Chair of Governors? Otherwise - a day's unauthorised won't matter; it's just pretty damn insensitive. I'm sorry about your friend.

Auntidote Fri 15-Nov-13 22:45:47

It's not really that exceptional: they could go at the weekend.

Extremely insensitive to send a standard letter, though, not a personal one acknowledging the sadness and saying it was a difficult decision, etc.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 15-Nov-13 22:48:00

Yanbu. This is most definitely an exceptional circumstances. How insensitive of the school to be making your friend have to deal with this at such a difficult time.

EATmum Fri 15-Nov-13 22:50:03

Yup, that's a really bad call on the school's part. Some things are just too important.

owlbegoing Fri 15-Nov-13 22:51:13

Auntidote you'd expect a child to be in the right frame of mind to go to school on the 1st anniversary of it's parent's death? Really? Oh yes that's right they can postpone their grief until the nearest weekend! hmm

amistillsexy Fri 15-Nov-13 22:52:00

Auntidote The first anniversary of the death of the child's parent, not exceptional?



harticus Fri 15-Nov-13 22:53:10

It's not really that exceptional

First anniversary of the death of a parent is unexceptional?
On what planet?
Some schools and some people really have lost the plot with all this unauthorised absence bullshit.
There are some things in life far more important than going to school.

twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 22:53:16

I am do feel extremely cross on her behalf. As you say, surely that was why the clause was written.

She is going to write and I will suggest she copies the letter to the head of governors too.

This was the same head who told her they would do all they could to support her and her son and promptly did bugger all. Apart from deny a day off in memory of his father.

Not sure "going at the weekend is quite the same".

twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 22:54:17

Bloody hell, missed the "not exceptional" comment shock

CocacolaMum Fri 15-Nov-13 22:54:35

I would want a meeting with the head to discuss exactly why it is appropriate. What bloody use will the kid be at school that day anyway?!

HarpyFishwifeTwat Fri 15-Nov-13 22:56:45

Auntidote Can you explain exactly what circumstances you would think exceptional enough?

Of course your friend should take her so out if school for the day. And tell the head teacher to take their standard letter and shove it right up their tight arse.

NearTheWindmill Fri 15-Nov-13 22:58:07

YANBU. The head should be ashamed of itself. I'd note the importance of high standards of pastoral care and copy it to the governors with a note that you expect the decision about unauthorised absence to be reversed.

valiumredhead Fri 15-Nov-13 22:58:08

I'd take the day off and not give it another thought. If they fine you, ignore it. Really this has got utterly ridiculous!

optimusic Fri 15-Nov-13 23:00:28

So for the past year the child has been grieving loosing one of their parents prematurely and it is coming up to the first anniversary.. On what planet, well aside from the ht and Antidote, does allowing the day off not fall under exceptional?

twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 23:00:59

It is madness. And she will take him out anyway but she wanted to do the right thing. It's the utter lack of compassion that gets me, as well as the jobs worthiness if it.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 15-Nov-13 23:01:43

Auntidote your response is on par with the school's letterhmm

twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 23:04:52

I am wondering what would be classed as exceptional in the HT's world.

LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Fri 15-Nov-13 23:07:14

A death of a parent, i'd call that pretty exceptional, that be like my DN's primary school refusing him absence when his baby brothers was taking place in the church next door.

So insensitive, if it were me, i'd take DD out of school that day and tell the to shove their exceptional circumstances up their arse.

LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Fri 15-Nov-13 23:08:09


Goldmandra Fri 15-Nov-13 23:11:35

That is exceptional in any reasonable person's mind.

If they issue a fine and she has the strength to do it, she should refuse to pay and offer to see them in court.

The press would rip the HT and the LA to shreds.

foslady Fri 15-Nov-13 23:24:57

My God how callous is that - as if it's not going to be hard enough for them both as it is.

It makes you despair sometimes

twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 23:29:22

I know. The correct response was "of course and do let us know if there is anything else we can do to help"

So sorry for you loss Lucius hmm

BackforGood Fri 15-Nov-13 23:41:47

In defence of Auntidote - the child has surely been grieving and missing their parent each and every day for the past year. When I lost my parents (not as a child), I found that grief overwhelmed me at the strangest of times, but not specifically on a date that other people thought ought to be significant.

All that said, it's completely irrelevant to the child / family if an odd day's absence is recorded as authorised or unauthorised. The school is penalised on %s of unauthorised absence, but it makes no difference to the child.

ErrorError Fri 15-Nov-13 23:43:57

Very insensitive yes. Is the Head worried that the child will be absent every year on this day? I'm totally not justifying their judgement or agreeing with the Head, just wondering if they're thinking this would set a precedent with other parents, for all kinds of absences on anniversaries of anything. First anniversaries of a death are often the hardest, and I doubt the poor lad would have been able to concentrate much in school anyway. I think a much more tact and discretion could have been used here. I suggest the Mum write to the Chair of Governors.

Canthisonebeused Sat 16-Nov-13 00:09:26

I would take him out in these circumstances and my experience would suggest no magistrate in thier right mind would actually back a fine of this sort. The LA probably wouldn't take it Bown FPN even if head requested it.

happymummythesedays Sat 16-Nov-13 00:13:48

our school still allows 2 weeks holiday time this is appalling

Ours allows no term-time leave but TBH , I wouldn't be asking.
I'd send a letter in saying my child would not be in on that day and the reason why.

curlew Sat 16-Nov-13 00:32:21

I'm sorry, I just don't believe a school didm''t allow a child a day off to go to his baby brother's funeral.

There is an issue here which needs to be discussed. Hyperbole doesn't help.

curlew I'm guessing some schools either have a blanket ban on absences, or don't think it's the place for a child at funerals? My own brother's funeral was when I was at nursery which was a very understanding place - they offered to have me during the day but completely supported my parents' decision to let me be at the funeral - whereas the primary school I went to afterwards; a very backwards thinking ultra-Christian school (although apparently non-religious hmm ) would have marked it as an unauthorised absence because they were just very close-minded like that.

It isn't necessarily hyperbole - I imagine if the child was going to go to the funeral, he'd go regardless of their opinion, but there are some schools which will refuse to authorise any absence - often they use the excuse that if they allow this one, what about the next one, and ridiculous things like that - with little thought for the consequences, especially if they're automated letters to every request for authorised absence.

The school was absolutely wrong to refuse to authorise absence. Whether they planned to go somewhere or not, to actually expect a young child to attend school on the first anniversary of a close relative's death is BU anyway.

Sorry to hear about your friend OP thanks

TidyDancer Sat 16-Nov-13 00:52:21

Fucking hell. This is exactly what exceptional circumstances are.


LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Sat 16-Nov-13 01:48:29

Just to clarify, my DN was allowed to be off, although he wasnt at the funeral, just using it as a point, that for those kind of circumstances, it'd be extremely cruel, to not allow a day off.

NatashaBee Sat 16-Nov-13 03:52:16

Auntidote hmm if this isn't exceptional circumstances, what is?

steff13 Sat 16-Nov-13 04:02:53

The school is being terribly unreasonable. I was an adult when I lost my parents, but a young one (21 Dad, 24 Mom), and the first anniversary was very hard for me. It may not be for some people, but having never experienced it before, who knows how the poor kid might react?

To be honest I'm still dismayed at the notion that the school has the authority to give a parent permission for his or her child to miss school.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 07:20:07

My mil died a year ago (November is not a good month for us) and dd1 was incredibly close to her. She found the first anniversary last week really hard and our school said they would call us if she wasn't coping and we could come and get her. That is the support you want from a school.

I k ow she could just call on the morning and say he was ill/too upset but she wanted to go through the right channels. The more I think about it the more I actually can't believe the head didn't authorise. It's crazy a school has this much power over our lives.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sat 16-Nov-13 07:31:42

I'm sorry that your friend is having to 'battle' over this - it is insensitive & nasty sad

Other than on PlanetTwat of course it's 'exceptional'.

I wouldn't have 'asked' though, I would have 'informed'.

HT is a jumped up twat.

Rosa Sat 16-Nov-13 07:36:12

Would be interested to hear what the HT thinks are exceptional circumstances then ???? maybe a trip to Alton towers or similar???? Honestly how pathetic ....

Talk to the head. They may be very sympathetic but simply unable to authorise such absences since September (& yes I know the law does still allow heads to use discretion but in reality that has been removed for many heads either because of specific ofsted requirements or LA pressures). The head may be happy for the day off up be taken - just can't authorise it. It's worth having a talk about it.

ivykaty44 Sat 16-Nov-13 07:54:03

this whole system will encourage lies, which is also wrong but it will become justified with the unpalatable unsympathetic rules.

rwepi Sat 16-Nov-13 08:10:37

I imagine the school has a blanket policy of not allowing any absences regardless of the reason. That digest mean they expect the child ti be in school on the day though-simply that it will be an unauthorized absence which really isn't the end of the world. Very poor to have responded by blanket letter though.

OTOH, I do wonder how important the date is to the child. I imagine its been very tough time but I'm not sure a child would find the anniversary harder than any other day unless he's told that he should iyswim

takeitonthegin Sat 16-Nov-13 08:14:51

Was it the child's father who died? I read it that it was the mothers child. Although maybe I have misinterpreted it, maybe antidote did the same.

Regardless of whether it was the child's father or step father, I feel the school are unreasonable for not authorising leave for that day.

I could understand them not allowing a week or something.

Sending a standard letter is harsh, given the circumstances.

MadeOfStarDust Sat 16-Nov-13 08:37:47

I think it is a bit insensitive to send a standard letter, but do wonder about how "exceptional" the circumstances are - a year on from a parent dying - it will only be remarked upon by a child if they are reminded....

around the anniversary of my dad's death I used to get "oh you must be feeling sad today" - ermmmm no, not til you reminded me... I thought of him all the time on and off, the sadness came not because of a date, but because he was gone... but I guess my own experience was back in the "olden-days" of pick yourself up and get on with life, we went to the cemetery after school on or around the anniversary but TBH only because mum wanted us to...

how about the dad's birthday - would they want a day off authorised for that too, their mum and dad's wedding anniversary, the child's own birthday as they will feel sad without dad there.. and then there is the next year and the next... how long would it be wrong for the school to not authorise?

It is always good to remember a parent who has died, but expecting the school to automatically authorise time off a year on from a traumatic event seems odd.....

if it is important you would just go anyhow and not care whether it is authorised or not...

asandwichshort Sat 16-Nov-13 08:51:51

At present there are no standardised "exceptional circumstances" and many heads are using their own judgement for now. That said, I know my headteacher would definitely have authorised this absence with an appropriate sympathetic correspondence.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 10:12:28

In answer to "how important is i reallyt" and "would they know anyway"....

The child is 8. He certainly is aware of the date of his fathers death. my dd (7) was aware of the first anniversary of her grandmas death last week and not because we mentioned it but because it was important to her. She knew what she wanted to do that day.

They plan on meeting extended family somewhere important to them, laying flowers, and doing other things in memory of a much loved son, brother, husband and father. My friend wants to spend the day with those closest to her dh (the child's father) and her ds wants to spend the day with his grandparents and uncles.

Just to give some if you asking some context.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 11:05:08

must as I have sympathy and much empathy for your friend (I lost a close relative whilst I was in school) I suspect that the school are worried that this will become an annual thing.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 11:05:57

much* not must

mummymeister Sat 16-Nov-13 11:20:04

the second thread on here about people wanting a day off for exceptional circumstances and it not being granted because of the ridiculous new regulations bought in by Mr Gove. there is a petition about this - to give back the discretion to the head teachers that they once had. some LEA's/heads are taking a tough line, others are not. My advice would be take the time off, take the fine and go to your MP, local Councillor and Mr Gove and ask him if this decision was reasonable. The H/T is doing this because she has been told to by her LEA that this is how the rules must be interpreted. what a sad society we are that we cant have sympathy for a bereaved child, we cant trust parents to make the best decisions for their children and we cant trust head teachers to use their experience, intelligence and discretion when granting leave.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 12:00:34

Mummymiester you put it so beautifully. I feel the dane way. Where is the petition?

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 12:19:41

Madeofstardust, as a year has passed, all of those things have happened without the need for a day off school. They have already had her ds's birthday, her ds2's 1st birthday, her 40th her dh's 40th their anniversary. All of those have passed and been marked in their own way. This is the first time she has asked for anything from the school in relation to her DS. To say "where does it stop"is quite illogical.

SamU2 Sat 16-Nov-13 13:11:30

My three boy's just got two days authorised days off school.

Their dad has cancer and it might be the last holiday they can get.

I was worried they would refuse it but they were great about it.

I think the school in the OP were awful for not authorising it.

ivykaty44 Sat 16-Nov-13 13:14:59

samu2- so glad you didn't have to battle with the school on this and they used common sense and compassion

harticus Sat 16-Nov-13 14:51:20

expecting the school to automatically authorise time off a year on from a traumatic event seems odd

No it isn't. It is normal and human - and humane.

It is not the place of Ofsted, schools, head teachers, LEAs, Michael fucking Gove or people on the internet to presume to tell people - especially bereaved children - what they should be doing, how they should be feeling and responding.

School is not the be all and end all.
It is just one element of a child's life.

harticus Sat 16-Nov-13 14:56:05

SamU2 - Thank god some schools have got the sensitivity to handle things properly. All the best to you and your family.

PavlovtheCat Sat 16-Nov-13 14:58:21

I would just take my child out anyway. Fucking ridiculous and clear lack of empathy.

PavlovtheCat Sat 16-Nov-13 15:05:33

boney so what if it is an annual thing? This boy has lost his father, and if it is an annual event to get together and celebrate his father's life, mourn his death with his family every year, then he should go if he wishes, every single year. Education is important of course it is, but so is family. So is remembering, and being part of those remembering events. It's not like he is missing an exam.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 15:49:10

If this was to become an annual thing I would be worried about the emotional wellbeing of the child, due to the gradual build up of emotion in the home in the days/weeks leading up to the event.

and yes I would also be concerned about the effect that this would have on the education of the child during the lead up.

As a school I would be worried about setting a precedent. Unfortunately for schools this isn't just about empathy or sympathy. Sometimes they have to think about the rules.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 16:53:33

With all due respect boney it's not really for you to worry about the effect on the child if this were to become an annual thing. How are you to know that this one day of the year would not just be special and important and wouldn't have an adverse effect on the child. Perhaps this one day would be very important emotionally and not in the negative way you presume it would be. Why would you presume there is a big build up.

In response to your post I would say that I think the parent probably knows her child and their situation better than you (or the head, or the LEA, or Gove, or anyone else) and if she chooses to make it an annual thing one day a year it's hardly going to impact his education. Especially as it won't be an issue for the next two years as it will fall on a weekend.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 16:55:00

And Pavlov said all that better than me.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 18:43:55

As his teacher it would be part of my job to worry about the wellbeing of children in my care.

zeno Sat 16-Nov-13 19:01:55

Boney, do you have direct experience of supporting a child bereaved of a parent?

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 19:04:25

yes I have.

PavlovtheCat Sat 16-Nov-13 19:07:11

boney wow. You think that one special day to celebrate and remember your father would be emotionally damaging? I would be more worried that you expect the very significant event to pass with no recognition, with no significant recognition. That day will always be a huge part of that boy's life.

WTAF? (I don't even say that very often)

zeno Sat 16-Nov-13 19:16:23

Then you will know that among the many things the child needs you will not find a school that does not acknowledge, let alone support, the ongoing process of grieving.

I would suggest your friend to write to Michael Gove himself and ask him if this was the kind of circumstance his new rules were supposed to address. I'd be very interested to know his response. If he said yes, the school are quite right, I would delight in getting his letter published in the press. If he said no, the school can allow this if they wanted to, then I would shove it up the school's metaphorical arse show the headteacher and see her backpedal like mad.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 19:24:08


I haven't said that at all.

I have said that the build up to the day can be emotional.

For some children a day of remembrance for a loved one can be beneficial, for others it can be detrimental.
In some cases moving on with no recognition for the passing of a loved one can be bad.

I do not know the OP or her friend or her friend's son, I do not know their individual (parent's or child's) circumstances.
I couldn't tell you how the son has been (emotionally) for the last 12 months. Or what provision for his wellbeing has been put in place by the school or his parents.

What is best for each child is different depending upon the child.

I am going to step away as I don't want this to turn into a bunfight.

OP, I hope this works out for your friend and her son.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 19:29:58


I have known children who have had support from before the bereavement (terminal illnesses) to leaving the school.

Goldmandra Sat 16-Nov-13 21:47:16

What is best for each child is different depending upon the child.

The mother is best placed to make this judgement. Seeing as she's asking for just the one day off for a small family gathering to acknowledge the anniversary and the journey they have all been on over the past year, I think she's probably doing a pretty good job.

twofalls Sun 17-Nov-13 00:34:02

Goldmandra, you have summed it up perfectly. She has done an amazing job over the last year. We are incredibly proud of her. And I trust her judgement on this. If he needs the day off (the first since the day his father died) he needs the day off.

Writing to Gove is a very good idea.

Choosparp Sun 17-Nov-13 23:20:58

Hello. I'm the person Twofalls is talking about. Really pleased to see so much support here, thank you all. My 39yo husband died from complications during a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia. He was in intensive care for 3.5 weeks before we switched off his life support. I was left with my older DS (then 7) and our youngest DS (then 7 months). We have had the crappest 12 months imaginable. Our world has been turned upside down, and then some. My James was a totally hands-on father, very involved with his boys. I have had to deal with the grief of losing my partner and soul mate, and my boys losing their beloved father. This response from the school HT has thrown me completely at a vulnerable time. I really appreciate that you are supoprting me in this. x

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 17-Nov-13 23:26:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Choosparp Sun 17-Nov-13 23:29:42

And I would also ask whether those of you arguing against this are young widowed parents? In which case I would really like to chat, as I'm sure we have a lot to offer to each other. Please message me. x If not, maybe give my circumstances a second thought. x

Choosparp I wish you well taking this further with school and Governors. I am sure your husband would be incredibly proud of you all. I hope you can find some peace of heart next week.

Goldmandra Sun 17-Nov-13 23:36:31

Choosparp, I'm so sorry to hear what a dreadful time you and your boys have had.

My godson lost his mother aged 10 and we all made sure he was allowed and helped to grieve in the way that worked best for him, alongside his father and younger brother. I would have been spitting feathers if his school had tried to obstruct an important part of the process for him.

You have every right to take your son out of school to remember his father and acknowledge the terrible loss you have shared as a family.

Let the school know that they can mark this as an unauthorised absence and you will be happy to inform the LA of the reasons behind it if they take it any further.

If they dare issue a fine I think you might find the power of massed MNers behind you, if you wanted it, and the LA the subject of a great deal of press scrutiny.

I hope the day goes as you have planned it and that it helps you all to come together as a family at what must be a very difficult time.

Thumbwitch Sun 17-Nov-13 23:37:16

Dreadfully insensitive to just send out a standard letter refusing.
Choosparp - thanks for posting as well and so sorry for your loss - such a hard thing to have to deal with. I don't know if you're a regular poster on here but there is a Bereavement board on here as well if you need any further support - lots, sadly, of people with young children who have lost partners.

Can you maybe make an appointment to see the Head and see if they have any good reason (like their hands are tied by new regs) for denying the authorised absence? If not, just take him out of school anyway. Say he's ill - headache, sick stomach, no sleep - lying about it isn't ideal of course but it seems that the new regs are going to promote this sort of problem. sad

Hope you have a peaceful day of remembrance for your James. xx

twofalls Mon 18-Nov-13 13:05:32

Thanks thumbwitch, she isn't a regular but lurks occasionally. I mentioned the Bereavement board a way back but she has joined WAY and is finding it amazingly supportive.

One of us will definitely come back to update the thread when the HT has had chance to read her letter. Hopefully she will see sense and/or find her compassion.

I am sorry about your friend Goldmandra. I hope her DS has had all the support he needs.

Goldmandra Mon 18-Nov-13 13:29:35

Thanks twofalls.

Fortunately his school was brilliant. He's 20 now and is making us all very proud smile

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 13:31:39

choosparp you are an incredibly strong woman. I take my hat off to you. don't bother writing to Gove. I did that and got the most pathetic reply imaginable eventually. his view was that it is for the head to decide and no one else. in which case, the blame for this situation lies fairly and squarely with your head teacher. take the time off and don't pay the fine. you just don't need this crap from people. where has all the compassion gone? a supposedly civilised society that doesn't trust a mum to make the best decision for her kids. awful, awful awful. stay strong and do what you know is right. there are so many people on here right behind you.

Choosparp Mon 18-Nov-13 21:59:28

THanks again everyone. I got a reply at 4.30 this afternoon as follows:
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

The new legislation does not, unfortunately, view this request as 'exceptional circumstances'. I have on reflection decided to authorise this request, as I think it is personally the right thing to do (as I did when the original request came in) and I will handle the consequences when I need to!

I appreciate that this has been a challenging year for you, Daniel and your family and trust you have a very special day on Friday.
It's all bollocks, as you have all said it's down to the HT to decide. She was caught out by my email saying how deeply upset I was by her reply, and is trying to make herself look better. No matter. I got the outcome I wanted, and 12 months on from holding my husband while his life support was switched off I haven't got the emotional energy to take it further. I did have a little dig in my reply about how each school seems to handle things differently, which I've learned from talking to other widowed parents. I hope she will know not to mess me about in future. x

scaevola Mon 18-Nov-13 22:08:57

I am so pleased you have got a good result -on the sense that the HT has decided to authorise.

HT continues, of course, to talk fluent bollocks - the new legislation leaves the determination of 'exceptional' entirely to the HT (not governors, LES, OFSTED or any other 3rd party): either she is ignorant, or weak (seeking to hide behind the bogeyman of 'legislation') or just plain nasty.

I appreciate that you will not want to prolong the correspondence on this issue. But I'd love to ask what 'consequences' she envisions, as she has (finally) acted entirely within the letter and spirit of the law.

josephinebruce Mon 18-Nov-13 22:13:58

Haven't read the entire thread - cos I'm short of time - but try appealing. It is an exceptional circumstance and can see no reason why it wouldn't be accepted.

Presumably the Head feels she will be called to accoun by Ofsted for the absences she's authorised. In your case all she needs to say is 'that was a bereaved child' and the should surely be the end of the matter. I'm glad you've got a good result and can spend time together in peace.

Goldmandra Mon 18-Nov-13 22:26:21

That is good news. Well done for standing up to her.

I know you don't want to take this any further but you could, if the subject should arise again, suggest that she informs you of any negative consequences she incurs so that you can take the small-minded bureaucrat that imposes them to task on her behalf <sweet smile> grin

ivykaty44 Mon 18-Nov-13 22:45:05

Choosparp, I am glad you now have peace of mind to spend the day as you see fit with your ds.

I am sorry that you had to battle again at a time when your emotions and physical self are vulnerable, it is not pleasant.

I am glad though that you posted here and got advise from informed mners that was able to enable you to get the result you needed.

mygrandchildrenrock Mon 18-Nov-13 22:56:34

I'm glad it's all been sorted, but it really isn't down to the Headteacher. What the Head said is true, t he new legislation is very clear that schools are not allowed to authorise pretty much anything in term time.
It's annoying and frustrating but not the Headteacher's doing.

EATmum Mon 18-Nov-13 22:58:40

I'm pleased you now have the outcome you needed, but what a waste of emotion caused by such a blinkered attitude. I'm so sorry this has caused you pain and frustration when you have so much else to be dealing with.

Thumbwitch Mon 18-Nov-13 23:05:12

Glad she saw sense and had a touch of compassion!
Hope she takes that experience forward and doesn't put anyone else in similar position as yourself through the unnecessary pain and stress of having to fight for that little bit of consideration in the future.

Hope your day on Friday is very special. xx

twofalls Wed 20-Nov-13 18:05:55

To be fair, the head wrote again yesterday apologising and saying that she is really struggling with the new rules and is quite frustrated by them. She said she felt the school always managed attendance well before. She also gave the family a week off before J started his treatment so they could have a family holiday without question, this was before the new guidelines came in.

More evidence why Gove should just bugger off and leave it to the heads discretion. I heard of another child not being authorised to go to their grandparents funeral today.

Anyway, thanks everyone.

float62 Wed 20-Nov-13 18:45:37

I'm glad that this situation got resolved. I really am not sure what is supposed to be so 'complicated' about this new legislation, it seems pretty easy to understand to me. Here is a cut and paste of the actual wording taken from the published guidance from the Department of Education Dept for Education

Absence codes are as follows:

"Code C: Leave of absence authorised by the school
Only exceptional circumstances warrant leave of absence. Schools should consider each request individually taking into account the circumstances, such as: the nature of the event for which leave is sought; the frequency of the request; whether the parent gave advance notice; and the pupil’s attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed schooling."

twofalls Wed 20-Nov-13 19:28:09

Thanks for that, it's helpful.

Do you know what kind of penalties schools get if the authorise "too much" leave? And who sets what is too much?

FortyDoorsToNowhere Wed 20-Nov-13 20:16:55

Is Daniel his real name, if so ask MN to edit the post.

I am glad the school has made an U turn on this, I can't imagine what this little 8 year old and his mother has gone through through this last year, and I hope having this day off will help them with the grief they must feel every single second of every day.

NoSquirrels Wed 20-Nov-13 21:49:59

Choosparp, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope the anniversary brings you comfort amidst the painful memories.

I had to take my DC out of school for one day this term, for personal family reasons. DC is only Reception age, so on a personal level I'm fine with it (nothing to miss schooling-wise IMO in one day in the first term of school before you're five!) but I was uncomfortable about it, because I know the rules have changed and so I knew it was pointless asking for "permission" as such, because the permission would be denied. However, I really really don't agree with lying. And as it's first term at school, the school itself has no idea what kind of attitude I have to attendance, and I worried it would make us look troublesome.

I decided best thing to do was to write, with sufficient notice and giving the reasons, and state that I knew the school could not authorise absence but that DC would be off school on X date.

I got a great short-but-sweet email back to say "Sorry to hear your news, thanks for letting us know." I neither know nor care what code they fill in on the official register, I am reassured that they aren't going to fine me for it and I have satisfied my conscience. I thought it was a great response from the school, and completely in line with the new regs.

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Nov-13 02:11:35

float - maybe there is another document that has been sent out to Headteachers, explaining what can and can't be counted as "exceptional" circumstances?

NadiaWadia Thu 21-Nov-13 03:27:48

twofalls seriously, a child was not 'authorised' to go to their grandparent's funeral? That's appalling, how can they justify that? I hope the child went anyway, and the parents put in a complaint.

Things seem to have got just ridiculous lately. A few years ago my DCs had to have time off for a great-grandparent's funeral. I let the school know they would be absent. I didn't ask, just told them, and they didn't say anything.

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