to wonder why parents of children who take them out for a day or two in term time are fined because it's not considered acceptable to miss a day at school but...

(72 Posts)
Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 08:35:16

the parents of children who are home educated are allowed to do largely what they like?

I'm not anti home schooling, have considered it myself and have friends who do it but I just don't understand this disparity. My friends who HE say they really do have very little interference from anyone at all, their children follow whichever schedule they fancy Yet it's considered wrong for parents to take their children out of school for a day or two even though the trip they are taking will most likely have educational value....certainly emotional value ifyswim.

I say this as a teacher myself. I really don't see much of an issue with parents taking the odd day or few days each year.

DescribeTheRuckus Wed 19-Feb-14 08:38:53

Parents who home educate do it off their own backs...they get no financial support from the State to educate their children, so they are largely able to do that how they see fit. Children in school are 'paid for' by the state, and therefore have to play by the state's rules.

DarlingGrace Wed 19-Feb-14 08:40:24

I was thinking about this yesterday. There is nothing enshrined in law that says a child has to attend school, but if the parent makes that choice then the child must be there come rain or shine. It really is nonsensical.

HoratiaDrelincourt Wed 19-Feb-14 08:40:39

Also, children who take time off school cause disruption to the rest of the class if they have to be caught up when they get back. A HE child doesn't have that effect.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 08:43:22

But how do they know what the HE child is doing Horatia, it seems like they have very little contact with anyone official. I do get the "paid for by the state" part Describe but, as Darling says, you don't have to to send your children to school and yet this rule suggests that not to, even for a day or two is against the law.

natwebb79 Wed 19-Feb-14 08:43:33

Because it causes disruption to my lessons when a student says 'I don't understand this because I wasn't here last lesson' and it hinders the learning of the rest of the class.

diddl Wed 19-Feb-14 08:49:00

"but if the parent makes that choice then the child must be there come rain or shine."

Because isn't that what you sign up for when you send your child to school?

That they will go in on the times/days set by the school unless ill?

The same as you agree to them wearing the uniform & abiding by the rules?

SwayingBranches Wed 19-Feb-14 08:51:30

Children are workers, like in a factory, the jobs and livelihoods of the people at the top depend upon their success. They are also being prepared for a lifetime as workers so it befits the government, who are in the pay of companies, for people to realise from an early age that they are owned by their employee and have to abide by ever more restrictive rules. It also ensures compliant adults who fear their children will lose their place or will "get in trouble" by having a "nasty letter" about attendance.

Look how more compliant people have become, the fear about "unauthorised" absences, the idea that parental decisions must be approved by the state is deeply ingrained now.

SwayingBranches Wed 19-Feb-14 08:55:50

And then in time it becomes a "moral" issue, so you're a bad parent/citizen if you do something with your child, like a week's holiday, that was perfectly acceptable a few years ago. And as time goes on it then becomes acceptable to report your friends and neighbours to the state for the transgression of the aforementioned holiday.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 08:56:07

Agree with those points, we do indeed "sign up for it" and so therefore to pick and choose is not on. The thing I get annoyed about is the fuss made about a child missing a day or two of school (not talking weeks) and the literature you are given about it affecting their education in a dire way. As a teacher I really don't think that is true. Yes, it is true for a child who misses several weeks but not the odd day.

Whereas home educated children do whatever their parents like, hardly anyone checks and noone really knows how much education they are receiving.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 08:58:13

I agree Swaying...I think it has gone too far.

SwayingBranches Wed 19-Feb-14 09:01:05

The answer is to fight back against the state. Home educators did and do.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 09:06:19

Do you HE Swaying? May I ask what were your main reasons. I'm not able to do it myself but this rule and the level of SATS pressure being applied to Dd at the moment has made me think about it alot.

natwebb79 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:07:49

if the child in question comes to me in advance asking for the work they will miss then it isn't quite so bad. It still gives me more work on top of a big enough workload mind. They rarely bother though.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:11:07

You sound a bit paranoid swaying!

It's never been acceptable to take your kids out of school to go on holiday, even when I was a kid.

If you said the occasional day was ok, how many occasional days would be acceptable? Where would u draw the line? Everyone knows the occasional day isn't going to make a big difference but the literature still has to make the point that attendance is important.

Home educate if its a problem!

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:12:15

Nat, our HT specifically tells us not to provide work - if parents are choosing to remove the child why should we increase our own workload to help out?

Bonsoir Wed 19-Feb-14 09:14:30

When you enrol your DC at school you agree to a contract that has terms and conditions attached. One of those is regular attendance.

diddl Wed 19-Feb-14 09:14:33

"It's never been acceptable to take your kids out of school to go on holiday, even when I was a kid."

I thought that as well tbh, Hank

Perhaps schooling should be less days/hrs per week to allow for days out if wanted?

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:15:49

Diddl, I don't think that would go down well with working parents!

Dominodonkey Wed 19-Feb-14 09:17:12

hank it has been acceptable in the past actually. I took 2 weeks off school for a family holiday every year (except gcse and 6th form) with the full permission of the head at a state primary and state grammar in the 80s/90s. So did lots of my friends.

diddl Wed 19-Feb-14 09:18:19

That doesn't make it acceptable, just doable!

wordfactory Wed 19-Feb-14 09:18:24

Education of a child is the responsibility of the parent - the law is clear on that.

How the parent undertakes that duty is up to them (within reason).

If a parent decides to use a school as one of their resources, they must be bound by the rules of that school, in much the same way that if we take our DC to the local pool we are bound by their rules.

Tailtwister Wed 19-Feb-14 09:18:32

If parents are home educating their child isn't part of a class with other children. Taking your child out of class during term time means the teacher has to spend time helping them catch up. This has an impact on all the other pupils in the class.

Bonsoir Wed 19-Feb-14 09:18:48

I have taken my DD out of school on two Friday afternoons recently. It really is exceptional - I never do this - but two extremely rare events meant we needed to travel on Friday afternoon. Both times I explained what they were to DD's class teacher and she was very understanding and made sure DD had all her homework etc.

Cases of force majeure occur in life. A family day out is very rarely a case of force majeure.

Dominodonkey Wed 19-Feb-14 09:18:49

But as a teacher, I totally agree about the work thing. Someone's choices should cause the teacher extra work.

Dominodonkey Wed 19-Feb-14 09:19:17

Should NOT , obviously...

dappleton Wed 19-Feb-14 09:19:34

what I don't understand, and please correct me if i'm wrong, is that why are parents fined for taking their children out of class in term time yet teachers can have time off in term time? (I believe it's unpaid but that's not the same as a fine). Surely it should work both ways.

Dominodonkey Wed 19-Feb-14 09:21:20

Dappleton - teachers can only have time off for the same things as a student. For example a funeral.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:23:12

Dappleton, I've never had a single day off in term time!

I know someone who's just taken their child for a week's holiday and the HT has agreed it. Not all HTs are enforcing the new charging policy.

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Wed 19-Feb-14 09:27:37

All of my family reside in Australia (in-laws are all here in UK). Although we do intend to move to Australia in 4-5 years, these rules mean that once our girls start school we would never be able to visit Australia in summer/for Christmas (2 weeks is not long enough to travel that far). If all my family was in the UK I'd have no problem with it, but as they stand, if we were to continue to live here, and stick to the rules, it would mean no Australia trips.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:27:40

I agree a few days a term isn't going to cause harm, especially if parents plan for them to have educational trips. School's do outgoing and day trips for enrichmentso why cant parents.

A HE child needs only spend a few hours a day learning and the curriculum is set by the parents, but a parent of a state schooled child cant decide to take 1 or 2 days off for learning, even if it is a day at the seaside.

If people say it is detrimental to their education will we stop children being allowed sick days? Though I know low attendance does become an issue.

Maybe all parents of state educated children should sign off their children to the state to send them to school work houses til they are 18. I do feel the right of the parents to choose is being eroded by these stupid laws. I think more parents will home school so they don't feel dicated to by the government.

When I was a child at school in the late 80s and at secondary mid 90s there was no problem takin a week or 2 holiday during term time.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:32:43

I was at school in the 80s and missing school for holidays was seriously frowned upon - think it depended on your school.

I don't believe for one minute that rates of home ed will go up - while a lot of parents are happy to let their kids skip school for two weeks to lie by a pool I don't believe those same parents would be jumping at the opportunity to be solely responsible for their education day after day after day!

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 09:39:19

When children have a day off s hool for a day out or holiday, they miss out on a day of schooling. It also affects others, because when they return, they need the things explaining which they missed out on. When you are part of a big organisation like a school, it is not possibl to tailor the education to fit around the whims of individuals to have time off. When you home school. It is possible because choosing when to take time off affects only the individual child and educator, who then simply pick up where they stopped. This is the difference. If you want that flexibility, you can have it by home educating. You can't have it within school. You can choose which option to go for.
Time off is now only authorised for exceptional circumstances. Exceptional is defined as something that does not occur frequently and which cannot occur at a weekend or in the holidays. Things which count are funerals and visiting terminally ill relatives, or medical appoint,nets which cannot happen at other times. Family parties can occur at weekends or in holidays, which is why they are not exceptional and days out and holidays can also be organised for non term time, so are not exceptional and authorised either. This is the law and not down to individual heads or teachers.
The law has changed because the amount if time taken off was so much and many people felt it was perfectly normal totals time off and did cot realise the effect on their education or the impact on others. If the system doesn't suit you, choose the alternative of home schooling. If that doesn't suit you, like most things which involve wider groups of people, you have to accept that everyone can't just do whAt they fancy when large groups are involved.

wordfactory Wed 19-Feb-14 09:41:59

Parents will take sole responsibilty for their DCs education 24/7 so they can go to Mallorca in term time? My arse.

Orlando Wed 19-Feb-14 09:43:32

Might be slightly off-topic, but what annoys me is that often my children (all teens now) spend lessons watching TV, especially in the two weeks leading up to the end of term. I'm one of those cowed people who wouldn't dream of taking them out of school, but I sometimes think of all the horizon-broadening things we could have done with the day that they've just spent watching Titanic for the fifteenth time.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:44:48

But a child off sick causes just as much work for the teacher as a child having a holiday. I think personally sickness/holiday should be seen as one and if a child has had less than x % of illness then a holiday can be automatically be authorized.

In my experience of teaching ks1 it is much better for the teacher if a child to miss a whole week than a day or 2 as most of the numeracy n literacy was planned to a weekly climax.

DownstairsMixUp Wed 19-Feb-14 09:46:59

This is a genuine question BTW but where does the state get the money from to educate the children? Is it is the tax payer I.e the majority of us parents who work?

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 09:49:01

Word factory, I'm laughing at the idea too.
It's funny isn't it how people become anti state involvement when it's not convenient (ie the 2 weeks they want to be in Mallorca) but are happy for the state to do the work of educating their child the other weeks when it is convenient.
There are some people who genuinely don't like the states involvement in their live and so home educate, but most home educators do not do it for this reason.
Trouble is, people value their own convenience very highly, especially if they can save a few quid. The broader implications for the child and class and teacher seem to be forgotten. Give this new scheme a few years and once fines are seen as the norm, I think there will be a new attitude from most people, but it will take a good 5 years. Back in the 80s people bought it was a nanny state to tell us to wear seat belts. No one questions it now. Took time though and quite a few fines!

diddl Wed 19-Feb-14 09:53:06

Perhaps more trips by schools then?

juule Wed 19-Feb-14 09:53:42

Bella that would mean a sick child wouldn't be entitled to holidays in term-time but a well child would be. It doesn't seem fair to penalise a sick child for being sick.

Wantsunshine Wed 19-Feb-14 09:54:08

I assume if this is based on cost as was mentioned up thread then there is no issue for private schools if you want a term time week off?

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 09:57:22

A child off sick can't be avoided =exceptional. Creates work and child behind, but can't be helped. Day off for hols etc can be avoided and happen at another time = unexceptional.
The fact that we pay for the education through taxes (and yes we do) is not really relevant. We can opt into the education system or out. If everyone wanted a tailor made programme because they had 'paid' there would be chaos. People who go to private schools don't get this either, because again, they Re part of a wider collective and the education is arranged around the who,e group not individuals.

Bella, the way you are seeing it is that time off is normal to certain limits. A child who is neither sick nor off for other reasons has the best chances educationally. Because they have not been off sick, does not mean they have a few days spare to take off, to get up to (or down to) the national norm of attendance. Surely we should be aiming for the max attendance we can manage, not the minimum. This attitude of seeing what. We can get away with and tryi g to get the most time off poss, suggests schooling is not very highly valued. Pity.

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 10:02:05

Private schools can make their own rules. Funnily enough, parents who are paying tend to not take their children out in term time nearly so much. Not saying it doesn't happen at all but rarer. Yes holidays are longer (but increasingly the week or so before state school hols is barely cheaper than mainstream hols) but I think there is also a sense of wanting to get value for money from what you've paid for.

Of course we have all paid for the state education too, indirectly through taxes. Perhaps though , some people (and I'm not saying everyone) value a days education less, because they haven't written a cheque for £70 for it.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:02:53

Seat belts can be a life or death issue. Missing a week off school isn't!

So school holidays are frowned upon is cause it causes more work for teacher, not cause it is detrimental to the child. Boohoo, and this is from a teacher. Though maybe if schools and government took the pressure off teachers for sat levels and ofsted on attendance percentage and actually thought about the child and fully developed holistically rather than just academically this wouldn't be an issue like it wasn't 15 years ago.

Imo it is just a sticking plaster to the real issues of children's achievement et c.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 10:06:55

I never had any problem helping kids catch up if they'd been off sick but not when they'd been on holiday - especially if the parents were stupid enough to moan to me about the cost of holidays! When did they think I went on holiday?!?

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 10:08:35

Bella, don't be daft! Of course it's not because of it causing more work for the teachers - that was a side issue. I never set any extra work so didn't create any work for me.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:08:46

And is actually causing more friction between schools and parents than a cohesion.

In the city I work, parents already have a distain for school, education and people in authority and I dont think this law will make them warm to school or see education or its attendance as important and these arent even the parents who cant take their children on holiday in term time or not.

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 10:09:22

Anyway, I'm off now. There have been a few threads on this topic recently, some of who h are very long.
In my mind, the key issues are that,
Schooling is very valuable and we should look for our kids to be there as much as possible. There is a strong correlation between Ttendence and achievement.
Missed time does damage our childrens education and also has effects on other children and staff.
We are part of a wider group, and as such, individual needs for time off for non exceptional (see definitions above) cannot and should not be accommodated and authorised.

There just needs to a be a change in thinking, which I think will occur gradually. There has been a sense that the odd day off (non sickness)here and there is okay and the norm. We need to stop thinking like that and see it as not the norm. It may inconvenience us and our families occasionally, but achieves a bigger goal of educating our children.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 10:09:43

Children can still develop without taking expensive foreign holidays! I never went abroad as a child but thanks to an excellent education and a good job have travelled widely as an adult.

MrsOakenshield Wed 19-Feb-14 10:13:11

well, I wasn't educated by the state so they had no say in my education, but my parents made the decision that we would, come hell or high water, be in school during term time. Christ, even when I had a multiple leg fracture I was back in a week! And I would be unimpressed if my child's education was buggered around by teachers taking term-time holidays left and right.

A child who is HE has a parent who has given up work to dedicate their days to educating their DC, with no financial support from the state (so a double hit to family finances if you like). And they only have their DC to worry about.

I don't think you can really compare the two. I would hate to HE and I'd be crap at it, so I'm glad to hand that side over to the state, and therefore abide by their rules.

I'm a HE'er.

From my point of view, by choosing to send you child to school you basically agree to a contract that says (among other things) that you agree to get your child to school every day that it is open (barring sickness, family emergency). It is just part of what you agree to.

I do agree that it is bonkers, especially during the last few days of terms.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:14:26

That comment about it causing extra work was tongue and cheek. As i said. I feel if HT, government cared more holistic development than just academic teachers wouldn't have as much time wasted on unnecessary paper work and then maybe wouldn't mind setting some work.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 10:38:18

Thanks all, really interesting responses. I don't agree that it's as simple as saying "you make the choice to send your child to state school so lump it" because for most of us making "the choice" to do that is no more a real choice than "choosing to use the NHS". It doesn't mean that you can't occasionally complain about it and you are not fined for not taking your medicine or smoking or drinking etc. Equally, tax payers (ie us) pay for state education so we have every right to have a veiw on it.

What I see is a very heavy handed rule aimed at a very few parents who regularly take kids out for weeks on end affecting parents who just want to take their kids out for the odd day (say one long weekend in a whole year).

I don't think tons of people will start HE because of this. I was more inclined to seriously think about it because of SATS pressure than the holiday rule but I've often thought it odd that when children are HE they are very rarely monitored and yet we are told that the odd day missed from school has dire consequences. It doesn't. I also see, as a teacher and a parent, parents feeling they have to lie rather than be honest about their kids having the odd day off. I think that's wrong and I don't think these are the parents we should be talking to.

oddsocksmostly Wed 19-Feb-14 11:13:47

I absolutely agree with you Supercosy. All this policy does is encourage parents to lie about absences, in order to avoid getting an unauthorised absence, what a poor example that must give to kids.
The other thing that irritates me is that it is OK for schools to arrange for a child to take a day out for enrichment , which also means the individual misses lessons. It's not that I am against these, but it does seem rather hypocritical.

mummymeister Wed 19-Feb-14 11:17:17

my views on term time hols and the new rules are well known. the state does not educate my children. it shares in the education of my children. I do not hand them over its a joint venture. This idea that we just keep sucking it up whatever the rule changes are is just complete madness imo. when my kids first went to school there was time allowed off for people like me whose jobs do not allow us to take time in school hols. now there isn't. a change of the contract I wasn't consulted on and don't agree to. the rule change is driving a wedge between parents and teachers. if teachers said actually do you know what we are going to allow those with x attendance y time off and they all did it this would fall on its back side. Its a very scary world where people say " you have to do this because the govt tell you too and because they are right "

HoratiaDrelincourt Wed 19-Feb-14 11:44:47

The law change was years ago.

The state isn't preventing you from additionally educating your children, just restricting when you can do so. 190x 6 hours isn't a lot.

pixiegumboot Wed 19-Feb-14 11:51:08

I've never signed a contract to enable my children to go to school, so I'm not sure where this idea about agreeing to a contract when your children starts school comes from.
They are still my children. I decide what is best for them. In the main, that is going to school. But sometimes, things ARE more important than school. Family celebrations, their health etc. Certainly at primary school. One day, one week is not going to turn children into non readers or let them fall behind in maths.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 11:53:32

Odd socks, the vast majority of absences are nothing to do with education though are they? ALL of my friends who took their kids out of school last year did it to go on all inclusive sun seeking holidays.

Their choice and I'm not going to lose any sleep over it but let's not pretend their back packing across Vietnam enriching their education while they go!

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 11:54:00

They're not their!!!! grin

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 12:10:10

I had a child in my class that took a 2 week holiday with her family before the law changed. The family had lost no fewer than 4 members due to a tragic accident that year. They wanted to bond and spend time together on a special holiday that they couldn't afford at any other time. Obviously this isn't characteristic of most family breaks but holidays are valuable to a family as are short breaks and if they can't afford them at another time then I believe they should be able to take them. The vast majority of parents don't do this all the time. One or two do and they do need to be made aware of the effects of this on their child's education but I still think it's up to them.

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 22:42:36

YANBU
There are so many contradictions and grey areas with term time holidays.
There are other one off or unforeseen events like the tragedy OP has mentioned where some discretion should be used instead of treating parents like criminals. Many people have family overseas and will have to miss important family events or parents just cannot have time off. I don't care about 'there are x many holiday days a year when your DC can see family' blah blah blah. Life is not like that, not everything runs according to the school calendar. You cannot dictate to a family member when to set their wedding date or have a funeral.

And can any teacher out there tell me if the fines have made a difference or are those who usually take holidays during term time continuing to do so?

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 22:49:34

Thank you for restoring my faith in teachers supercosy I think you are one of the few teachers on MN to understand that sometime life happens outside the classroom and to realise the vast majority of us do actually care about our children's education smile

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 22:57:51

Thanks shebird. I work in a small school where all the staff are caring and enjoy our jobs. We are very lucky. The vast majority of parents we work with don't take their kids out of school very often. The few that do we used to talk to and work with them. Now that's all changed. Our lovely HT has no choice but to refuse permission for virtually any time out. She hates that this is making parents lie, the kids feel awkward, talk about cracking a nut with a sledgehammer...a bit like some of the insanely controlling lunchbox policies! That's another thread though!

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 23:08:18

Schools have enough to do without being parents too.

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 23:12:27

Home educating parents are subjected to checks I believe...they need to show a plan of what and how they plan to teach. You can't just say "We're home educating" and then not do it! There are ways of checking and I think they're upheld.

exhaustedmummymoo Wed 19-Feb-14 23:30:02

I think the real problem here is over inflated prices for going away anywhere during 'peak' periods ie school holidays. I also think there needs to be give an take. One I lived in he Isle of Man {don't know if still applies as moved a few years back} but there every child was allowed time off during term time as IOM parliament understood the expense of a) getting off island in first place b) and going on holiday. Can't remember if was 1 or 2 weeks a year entitlement.

Also handy tip for people .... If you register your child as a traveller....you can take them out of school whenever you want.... No repercussions

justmyview Wed 19-Feb-14 23:37:40

I think taking children out of school to go on holidays / excursions is more than just missing the classes. It's also giving your children the message that it's OK not to follow rules that that don't suit you & it's OK to disregard rules & procedures laid down in law. I think these are not good messages for children to learn from their parents

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 23:49:29

All good points, I do get the setting an example to children point certainly. AwfulMaureen, in my experience of friends who have HE the checks were infrequent and extremely superficial. In fact I think you pretty much can just say "I'm home educating" and get on with it! Maybe that's just the experience of the people I know though.

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:10:28

I home educate.

I hate it when people say 'You chose to send your child to school then you have no right to complain'. Bollocks. Schools are tax funded, you are a customer. I resent paying towards a system I think is wrong and that I don't use. I think parents I school age children should be able to vote on state education matters. You have no choice to pay tax, you should have a say in how the only education option offered is managed.

And you are wrong awfulmaureen you do not have to show a plan or accept visits or checks when you home educate.

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:10:43

Oh an home education does seem to be

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:13:46

*sorry posted to soon, fat fingers.

It does seem to be becoming increasingly popular. There are far more early years age home-ed activities than older groups in my area. At least half of parents in a baby group I run are thinking about or have already decided on home education. All my online HE groups are flooded with new members everyday, and the new change in absence policy's has given lots of people that push.

bochead Thu 20-Feb-14 01:41:41

What are the rules on attendance in the independent sector? Somehow I can't see a Russian Oligarch getting fined for taking his kids out a couple of days before Xmas to attend some swanky society event in New York.

There are 3 choices for education, just as there has always been.

1/ State schools - where the potential for fines exists.
2/ Private schools - never heard of fines being imposed upon this set of parents.
3/ Home edders - who are well aware that if a random check flags that their child is NOT getting an education then they are in trouble.

I suspect that a generation of middle-class well educated parents who in rosier economic times would have chosen private education are now selecting to home educate. Increasingly parents of SN kids are turning to home ed too, in despair as they realise the rigid state system cannot provide their children with an adequate education. Ofsted totally fails this group of pupils. Both these groups are exactly the kind of supportive, highly motivated parents that school communities need to drive up standards.

(I'm also seeing more & more really good, inspiring teachers leave the state sector to join the expanding online school and private tutoring industries, or worse going abroad.)

Gove is doing a really good job of alienating precisely those parents and teachers that the state education system most needs to drive up standards. Not smart.

There may be a third group over the next decade to join the ranks as the numbers of "super primaries" of 1000+ pupi;s rises. I suspect many parents will balk at putting their 4 years olds into such massive schools, and will wait until their children are at KS2 before sending them to school.

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