Leave of absence denied for school open day

(35 Posts)
poshfrock Wed 29-Jan-14 16:20:03

My DD is in Y5 so looking to apply for secondary places in the autumn. Starting to look at schools and the one we really like is a local grammar. It only has open days during school hours, not at weekends or in the evenings ( which is annoying in itself as I and DH both work FT) . So I requested a half day of absence for DD ( she will be back at school by lunchtime) and it has been denied. School apologized and said they knew the situation was ridiculous but a school open day does not fit the criteria for authorized leave. I called the school in question and they said they were aware of the issue but nothing they could do. I suggested having open evenings might be a solution ( which the other local schools do).

Of course the school we are visiting is selective and will want to see a copy of DD's attendance record which will now have an unauthorized absence mark which won't look good.

How are parents and children supposed to make informed decisions about education if they aren't even allowed time off to visit the schools ?

Anyone else come across this situation? Sigh.

FTR DD has had 100% attendance for the last 2 academic years and two days off sick so far this year ( vomited on teacher in classroom so no suspicious circs either) so no issue with that.

HSMMaCM Wed 29-Jan-14 16:59:06

That's ridiculous that they're not authorising it as an educational visit.

Reincarnatedpig Wed 29-Jan-14 17:04:06

Can't they put it down as "other" authorized educational activity?

lljkk Wed 29-Jan-14 17:10:42

maybe it's indie's school way of filtering out the riffraff?

Sorry, stupid joke. Stupid system, too. But I can't believe the indie school will care about one day of UA. If they do, then I don't think it's a school I'd want my DC to attend, anyway.

EdithWeston Wed 29-Jan-14 17:11:32

If it is a state grammar, then they will not be able to look at attendance record as part of the selection procedure.

I think your HT is wrong not to authorise this, and it can fit the criteria. But as discretion lies with HT (which is usualy a good thing as you need someone in e school who knows the family and local circumstances to be making these decisions, not a faceless centralised bureaucrat somewhere). Unfortunately, if a HT decides not to exercise discretion in your favour, you are stuck. Some HTs have considerably more common sense than others.

Bunbaker Wed 29-Jan-14 17:18:10

None of the schools round here do open days during the school day. That is ridiculous. If they hope to attract pupils from state schools then no-one would be authorised to attend. The state secondary schools do open evenings and the independents do their open days on Saturdays.

EducatingNora Wed 29-Jan-14 17:19:20

Really, no-one is going to care. Just go and don't worry about it.

Casmama Wed 29-Jan-14 17:26:47

This is really a bit silly take a copy of your request and the refusal to the school in question and say to them that if they check your daughters record they will find a half day unauthorised absence as you are attending their school!
Alternatively phone in and say she has a tummy bug.

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jan-14 17:26:57

If the selective school is a state school they are not allowed to take account of your daughter's attendance record in deciding whether or not to offer a place.

exexpat Wed 29-Jan-14 17:33:17

Just go, and if necessary explain the unauthorised absence in due course.

DD changed schools for year 3, and the head teacher of her first school would not authorise a day's absence for a 'getting to know you' day at her new school at the end of year 2 due to prejudice against private schools. Of course she went anyway.

exexpat Wed 29-Jan-14 17:34:36

Also, I know open evenings are much easier for parents, but going round during the school day gives you a much better feel for a place, so I can see why they would do it.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 29-Jan-14 17:36:28

Ridiculous.

Well, ok, I know this was before the new 'interpretation' or new actual rules came in, but we had three half days authorised for ds to look round secondary schools. (One full day to go to two state schools and a further half day to look at the local independent when we realised that neither of the state schools would be at all right for ds with HFA).

Primary Head just said 'Of course you can. Our job is to prepare him for secondary and finding the right school for him is part and parcel of that'.

We wanted to look round in the daytime at the actual lessons and behaviour etc etc, not just see the false all-singing, all-dancing open evenings. They tell you nothing.

(One of our not so local grammars does the daytime open day thing for all the local girls to go and try out the lessons etc early in year 5 so they can decide whether they want to try the 11+ for an out of catchment place.)

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 29-Jan-14 17:44:35

That's totally ridiculous

Dds school do a year 5 taster day which she went to. There was no question of her not going. Her selection was also done on a school day then she did an induction day in the June of year 6.

It seems that some heads are getting above themselves.

schoolkerfuffle Wed 29-Jan-14 18:15:26

Yes,some HT's seem to becoming very draconian about absence - you're only asking for half a day.

The Head could, if they really wanted to, code the half day as 'educated elsewhere'. My dc's school did this for more than a hundred absences so that it didn't impact on his attendance figures at all!

poshfrock Wed 29-Jan-14 19:29:32

Thanks for all the supportive comments. It's a state grammar so presumably her attendance record won't be an issue then which is one good thing. The primary school have since called me back and said that if I bring her into school at 9 they will mark her in and then she can leave half an hour later for the open morning which starts at 10. Then she'll be back at 1 for the afternoon session. What a palaver!

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Wed 29-Jan-14 19:34:09

At least they have come up with a solution to the problem!

senua Wed 29-Jan-14 19:38:12

So the Grammar stages things at awkward times to suit themselves? It doesn't consider the needs of prospective pupils and their parents?
Take note.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 29-Jan-14 19:43:55

Is it because you're going early? Aren't most of the visits in the first term of year 6, just before applications have to go in?

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 19:47:51

Crackers. DDs head has said that she will give DD a full day off whenever we need to visit her new school (moving away this summer)

LeonardWentToTheOfficeChristma Wed 29-Jan-14 19:53:02

I'm glad your school came up with a solution - a faff yes but a solution! Our head never batted an eyelid when our dc in year 5 last year wanted to attend school open days - even to visit those who were offering evening ones too.

poshfrock Wed 29-Jan-14 22:02:53

The visits for the grammar have already started. She will have to sit the practice exams in June and the real ones in Sept so we need to start looking now to make a decision as to whether to enter her or not.

steppemum Wed 29-Jan-14 22:09:19

We did school visits and open days, 2-3 in year 5 and 2 in year 6. I just told them where he was going and school put it down authorized absence. I think they said 'educated off site'' or something.

They are allowed to go to open days. The school is being ridiculous. You need to see schools in action, not just on open evenings, in fact, we went to the evening at the school we liked and then went back to a morning to see it in action.

knickernicker Wed 29-Jan-14 22:13:47

Just say she' I'll on the day. Primary school! Could have coded her as educated elsewhere,

Vijac Wed 29-Jan-14 22:23:28

Can you go and not take her?

HanSolo Wed 29-Jan-14 22:32:55

senua the super-selectives can do whatever the hell they like- there will still be 15 applicants for every place!

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 29-Jan-14 22:36:40

At DDS taster day parents didn't even stay. We just came back at 3pm for a quick Q&A session.

steppemum Wed 29-Jan-14 22:53:05

the grammar isn't being awkward, most schools round here do evenings and mornings, because people like to see the school in action.

We went to evenings as far as possible, especially in year 5, but we went to the mornings for our 2 top schools, (one is a grammar) and went back again to the morning at the beginning of year 6

AbouttoCrack Wed 29-Jan-14 22:59:51

Our school had no problem with me taking ds out for school open days this year. He's y6 though.

senua Thu 30-Jan-14 00:21:40

the super-selectives can do whatever the hell they like

That's what I meant! When we went for the open day at our Grammar the Headteacher's 'welcoming' speech was introduced with (I paraphrase) "I am going to talk at you for 20 minutes. I will not take any questions at the end of it".hmm
I tried to speak to someone about transport problems and the message was "we don't care. It's your problem, not ours." It was a big problem for many people: so much so that, a few years later, a couple of enterprising teachers gave up the day job and made a nice living running mini-buses instead!

The Grammars know that they are over-subscribed and therefore do not need to bend to anyone else's agenda. It's their way or the highway.

HanSolo Thu 30-Jan-14 00:51:14

But people will still do anything to get in!

ShadowOfTheDay Thu 30-Jan-14 14:04:26

...some people.....

rabbitstew Thu 30-Jan-14 16:33:48

poshfrock - does your primary school have a problem with its attendance figures? Sounds like the behaviour of a school scared of Ofsted's reaction to its statistics...

poshfrock Thu 30-Jan-14 17:06:38

rabbit that's a very good point. The school failed Ofsted last year and the Head left. The new Head has only been in post since mid-December so she's probably being very cautious. I don't generally think attendance is a problem.

Someone upthread asked if we could go without her. Well of course we could but the point is for HER to see the school. She's the one who will have to go there every day for the next 7 years. If we look round and she hates it we won't even be applying.

AnswersToAnything Thu 30-Jan-14 17:17:52

The school should use either register code J:

Code J: At an interview with prospective employers, or another educational establishment
This code should be used to record time spent in interviews with prospective employers or another educational establishment. Schools should be satisfied that the interview is linked to employment prospects, further education or transfer to another educational establishment.

or Code B:
Code B: Off-site educational activity
Pupils that are present at a supervised educational activity that is off-site and approved by the school. Schools should ensure that they have in place arrangements whereby the provider of the alternative activity notifies the school of any absences by individual pupils. The school should record the pupil’s absence using the relevant absence code.

or Code C:
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.

or even Code V:
Code V: Educational visit or trip
This code should be used for attendance at an organised trip or visit, including residential trips organised by the school, or attendance at a supervised trip of a strictly educational nature arranged by an organisation approved by the school.

https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/Advice%20on%20School%20Attendance%20-%20Final.docx

Ask the school which one they are going to use - and if none, which code they will be using incorrectly ...

curlew Thu 30-Jan-14 17:23:09

If it's a state grammar they can't take her attendance record into account anyway, so just go, don't worry.

What's the point of not having a look at a school during the working day? How can you possibly make any judgements based on a carefully planned and orchestrated open evening?

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