I need to take DS's out of school in term time, advice please?

(59 Posts)
mummyplonk Thu 10-Jan-13 14:46:02

Hiya, I have DS's in years 3 and 2. My brother (their only Uncle) has just proposed to his lovely girlfriend, they are going to get married in Novemebr next year. One problem, he lives in Australia sad we obviously hardly ever see him, we have never been able to afford to go there and he has announced he is going to pay for all of our flights and our parents so there will be 6 of our family and 100 of her smile.

I have never taken them out of school before but we are not going to miss his wedding for the world. It seems like an exceptional circumstance to me, do you think so too? and because of the distance I was thinking about asking for 3 weeks? Is there a maximum amount of time they will authorise does anyone know? This is probably the only time in our life we will all go there, accomodation provided so would you ask 3 as well or try and push it to 4 weeks? Thanks for reading.

mummyplonk Thu 10-Jan-13 21:36:57

Thanks dewdrops that is worth knowing, may be useful.

DeWe Thu 10-Jan-13 21:43:41

I think here you'd likely get time for a family wedding at a primary. BUT you wouldn't get more than a week. They'd say a week is plenty for a wedding, after that it becomes a holiday.
The fact you don't think you'll do it again is irrelevant... people say that then assume they'll get the time off again, and book the holiday next year as well and the tell the school.

lunchbox Thu 10-Jan-13 21:46:00

We're off to oz over Easter for 4 weeks, so one week either side of Easter hols.

School authorised it, but I put on the form how educational it would be, was happy to take work for dd, plus I'd make her write a diary, and how it was once-in-a-lifetime, visiting family etc.

meditrina Thu 10-Jan-13 21:48:20

The legal maximum which a HT has discretion to authorise is 10 days, but the key word in that is 'discretion' - individual HTs may opt to authorise only some or none of it. And anything over 10 days will be unauthorised even if you have a really accommodating one. Whether a fine is imposed depends on the stance of your LEA.

Can you make any of it fit with half term?

sniggy01 Fri 11-Jan-13 23:33:50

I am chair of governors at a primary school - whether you will be allowed time depends on a few things - there will be an attendance percentage for your child and if this is above the school cut off then the head teacher should be able to grant 2 weeks - any extra time should be referred to the governors and they will look at each request. I think we would give you another week at least. If I can help some more then let me know

christinecagney Sun 13-Jan-13 15:05:51

Sniggy... That's only the way it's done in your school. It's not a common approach, I would say. Legally only the HT can make the decision (I am a HT and this came up in my school ages ago...the LA was v clear that I was on my own with the decision and it would be me taking responsibility etc etc regardless of governors' input). There isn't a cut off that would work with a 4 weeks absence request ...the pupil will inevitably have an annual attendance of well less than 95%, even if they attend every other possible day, which the HT will have to account for. Of course, the HT might be OK with that, but it depends on lots of other factors eg the overall school attendance.

OP.. You can ask though of course. Make an appointment to see the HT and talk it through first, before you put it in writing.

clam Sun 13-Jan-13 18:15:26

lunchbox I don't suppose you putting on your form how eudcational you thought your trip was, and asking for work to take (which hacks lots of teachers off if they're being expected to provide and mark it), made any difference to the absence being authorised. The HT is perfectly able to decide if they think a trip is educational or not - might be different in your case but you'd be surprised how many parents try to dress up a week's all-inclusive in Spain as being educational.

Ilovesunflowers Sun 13-Jan-13 18:45:28

clam - I used to be a teacher and no teacher I know would be annoyed at providing work (as long as there was a bit of notice by the parents).

clam Sun 13-Jan-13 18:56:30

My school (and others I know) have a policy of refusing to set work for holidays taken in term time. Pupils who are ill, of course, if it's appropriate, but not holidays.

DoodleNoo Wed 16-Jan-13 11:54:57

They might authorise up to two weeks depending on school / LA policy, maybe more if you are very lucky and take time to explain the special nature of the trip. You might then have to accept that extra time might go down as unauthorised, but really, big deal?!

Most LA will have an Educational Welfare Officer - I guess you might get a letter, but they are there to deal with persistent truanting, not a one-family occasion like this. I don't see that they would have a leg to stand on if they decided to get heavy, unless your kids have very bad attendance record and attitude to school anyway. The very fact that you're worrying about it and posting about it on mumsnet suggests that's probably not the case.

And if they fine you, again, why worry. It'd only be £50 or £100, and that's not lot to pay for a holiday like this!

I'd talk to the head and find out his / her opinion of what might be deemed reasonable. I have taken mine out for a week on this sort of occasion, not been granted any leave because our school don't ever grant any, but the head was fairly sympathetic and although said she couldn't authorise it due to school policy, she would turn a blind eye and that if we wanted to go, we should, and not worry about it.

They are your kids after all, and not the council's!

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Wed 16-Jan-13 17:38:36

It is £50 per child, per parent, per day - but it is not true that fines are very common. They may be common in one particular area but a realtive of mine is an EWO and they hardly ever fine parents... only the repeat offenders.

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 09:39:41

I have never heard of this 'per day' business? Are you sure? Mine was flat rate fine. £50 per child per parent. So max £200 doubling if not paid within 28 days.
Has anyone had this 'per day' fine?

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Thu 17-Jan-13 09:47:28

Hmm, well now you mention it I'm not sure! smile The fine is for a session of absence and I was sure that I read that some LEAs see 1 week as 5 sessions. But I can't find anything to back that up so maybe I misread or misunderstood blush

scaevola Thu 17-Jan-13 09:50:42

"I think we would give you another week at least."

That would be illegal. The provision for up to 10 days authorised leave is part of the Education Act, and it is explicitly at HT's (not governors') discretion.

The provision for fines (including per-session fines) for unauthorised leave was also introduced in law (thanks, New Labour)

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 09:51:08

I can't see them enforcing a 'per day' fine. They would never recover the money. It could run into thousands with 2 or 3 children off for a fortnight. I know they want to scare people into not taking a hol in term time, but that is ridiculous! My LEA told me on the QT that they will only proceed through the courts if they a pretty damn sure they can recover the money, as it is expensive. They look at each case individually and decide whether it is worth it. More often than not, they don't. It would have to be a persistant offender.

DeWe Thu 17-Jan-13 11:47:41

Per day fine is operated in this area, and not just for repeat performers. Know someone who had 3 children away for a fortnight. That came to 3 x 2 x 10 x 50 = 3000. Bit of a shock as they thought they'd got a cheap holiday. They appealled and lost.
I know others who've been fined for odd days too, they thought they'd get away with it as their dc had had no absence before, but that wasn't taken into consideration.

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:25:38

which area are you if you don't mind me asking? Cos I cannot find anything on the net?

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:38:42
ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:41:14

The only time it could rise to £1000 is if it is taken successfully through the courts. Which, if one paid up at the beginning could still have a cheaper holdiay in term time.

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 12:44:10

I'd aim for the 4 weeks myself - see where you go - if they are going to say no they 're going to say no.

No school can fine per half day - its downto local counci guidelines.

Its an appalling I infringement on our right to parent our own children.

They will learn a lot in a month to Australia - I love that they learn about airports in school - but visiting one is banned.

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 12:46:38

The prob with percentages is they are higher in first term than in say June.

jeee Thu 17-Jan-13 12:50:10

Assuming permission won't be granted (and you may yet be surprised), could you just withdraw your children from school for the period? Will there be space for them when you get back? Not ideal, but I think sometimes schools don't fully get the issues of dispersed extended families.

ivykaty44 Thu 17-Jan-13 12:53:44

This makes me so sad to read sad a family wanting to go and be with other family at a wedding on the other side of the earth is a battle due to schooling.

Where is the value of family and relatives sad We should promote family and family life as important.

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 13:13:52

It doesn't make me sad it angers me - its the opportunity of a lifetime - when I was in school a month in Australia would have been seen as a good thiNguyen.

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Thu 17-Jan-13 13:19:51

jeee has a good idea there. If your head is amenable you could ask whether there are spaces in your DCs classes at the school. If so, then you could deregister them, saying that you are going to homeschool (and it will be genuine homeschooling, as they will be learning and experiencing loads!) and then you can reapply for a place when you get back. This only works if there are space though, as otherwise you might find yourself homeschooing permanently smile

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