Leave declined for wedding....

(179 Posts)
eleanorrubysmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 17:08:37

Oh dear! My husbands brother is getting married in Feb (on a Friday), been planned 2 years, hub is best man & DD is bridesmaid. just moved up to year3 at a new school so did the right thing & applied for authorized day off......declined & also intimated that an application to fine us will be made if we go!! I'm so stuck......can anyone help/advise/guide us for this pls???

My DDs school has always had the policy of not authorizing holidays in term time.

Every July we go to the Cotswolds on a camping trip and go to RAF Fairford air tattoo (since DD was about 7 months old she is now 7 yo)
and when she started full time school i asked for permission to take her out of school. I always had a letter back to say no and intimating there may be a fine etc we couldnt afford to go in July 2012 so DD had 100% attendance and i asked her what she had been doing in school on the one day we asked for...she said "watching cinderella and colouring in" hmm

This year i wrote a short letter to the head advising him we would be going, where we were going and what we would be doing whilst we were there. I decided that i wouldnt be asking permission to take MY DD out of school for 1 day when her attendance record is otherwise impeccable and she would literally spend the day colouring in etc whether She misses 1 day at school or not is MY decision and if they felt there would be an issue with this then i am available to discuss it further. I didnt hear from the head about it.

In your shoes OP, i would write back thanking the head for his response and advise him that your DD will not be in that day as previously advised and leave it at that.

Bramshott Mon 07-Oct-13 14:25:18

Tiggytape - maybe "absolute right" was a bad turn of phrase. I guess what I was trying to say is that the school cannot physically stop you, nor take away your child's place, nor refer you to social services if you take your DC out of school for a small number of days (and I thought that was up to 10) each year.

What they can't do either (except in truly exceptional circumstances) is record it as authorised, or have any influence over whether the LA will fine you or not.

When we discuss this on here I think people fail to understand what schools can and can't do, and that it isn't a moral judgement rather just rules and regulations, and I was trying to cut through that!

tiggytape Mon 07-Oct-13 13:44:39

Fiona - I am sorry abut your Gramdma.
All schools should still be sympathetic to a family funeral and view it as exceptional time off - even more so than a wedding because of course the timing is not chosen (sorry if that's sounds crass - I couldn't think how to put it). All Head Teachers still have full power to authorise a day off for the funeral of a close relative and would hopefully be kind and sensitive about doing so.

TheGonnagle Mon 07-Oct-13 11:31:24

The fine is per period of absence, and in our LEA that equates to up to ten days is considered one period of absence. So that's £60 per parent per ten days, not per day.
Not sure if LEA's are interpreting the rules differently, but that's how it goes round here. If there are LEA's going for £60 per day per parent then this discrepancy makes it all even more unfair.
Personally I'm going to accept the fines and get on with my life as I see fit. She is, after all, my daughter and not Michael Gove's so I think I probably should have the last say.

FionaJT Mon 07-Oct-13 11:21:35

Wow, I am surprised by the OP, and this thread has made me really appreciate dd's school. She is Yr 4, this morning I had a quick chat with her Headmaster to enquire what procedure I would have to go through to take her out of school for a day next week for a family funeral (my Grandmother who my dd did see regularly). He said no forms, just let us know when she is going and was very sympathetic.

I don't take dd out of school for term-time holidays (my parents were teachers and I survived childhood without extra holidays!) but a day or two for major family events whose scheduling you have no control over is a different kettle of fish.

Our LEA has issued the advice that HTs are unable to authorise any absences. And that absences attract a fine of £120.

My understanding is that HT's are able to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances and that fines are not automatic and will only increase to the full £120 if payment is delayed.

I think there is a lot of fudging going to scare parents by making the new rules seem more draconian and inflexible than they actually are.

rabbitstew Mon 07-Oct-13 10:52:42

No, actually I think a child can be missing for more than 10 days before their name gets removed...

rabbitstew Mon 07-Oct-13 10:48:15

Actually, tiggytape, I think Bramshott was referring to the fact that a child cannot be taken off the school roll for going on a holiday of 10 days or less. If a child misses more than 10 consecutive school days on any type of unauthorised absence, holiday or otherwise, I think the school is actually entitled to remove their name from the school roll... might be wrong on that, but I think it is actually the case. Thus, the magic 10 days is still relevant, because the ultimate punishment does not apply for less time than that.

tiggytape Mon 07-Oct-13 10:13:40

Everyone has the absolute right to take their children out of school without losing their school place for up to 10 days each year.

No they don't.
The reference to 10 days has now been dropped completely - not that it was ever intended as an "absolute right" in the first place. Part of the problem was people thinking 10 days maximum meant 2 week holiday just for the asking.

You are however correct - nothing terrible in terms of losing your school place will happen to you if you take your children out without permission for a short time. The worst that can happen is you will get a fine. With 2 parents, the fine is £120 per day per child. This isn't down to the school though - they have no say about the fines or about parents going to court if they won't pay them.

Bramshott Mon 07-Oct-13 10:09:47

I generally hesitate to comment on these threads, because this is something I'm ambivalent about, BUT - I do think there's a general misunderstanding of the terminology here.

You can't request leave from school the way you do from a job, and expect it to be approved if there's no major reason why not. Everyone has the absolute right to take their children out of school without losing their school place for up to 10 days each year. Yes, it will probably be recorded as unauthorised absence unless there's a very compelling reason why not, and yes, it's increasingly possible you may be fined. But the school cannot stop you from taking your child out, nor take away your school place for doing so.

So in this instance, the leave hasn't been "declined", the OP has simply been told that this instance doesn't fit within the very narrow description of what can be recorded as authorised absence. Headteachers simply do not have the leeway they had in the past to decide what is or isn't an authorised absence.

OP - if it's important to you to go, and the fine (if it happens) would not be financially ruinous - then you should by all means go.

shebird Mon 07-Oct-13 09:57:19

tiggytape and teacherwith2kids perhaps I do live in lala land or maybe I am just lucky that very few of the parents at our school take kids out of school for a cheap deal in the sun. The few that have done have had a valid reason and have made sure that their kids kept up with schoolwork while away. The vast majority of parents do care about their children's education so let's not tar us all with the same brush because of the few who do not.
My problem is not with term time holidays but the fact that pretty much any other request for time off is now declined because of a few who abuse the system.

iloverainbows Mon 07-Oct-13 05:35:23

I am quite surprised really that you felt you had to request this time off. I would have just sent a note in/filled a form in to inform the school that my DC wouldn't be at school that day and why. I suppose the only other option would have been to just not tell them and then call in sick. Although that would be telling a lie and not a good example to your DC.

As regards what can you do now, again I am amazed that you are considering not going. Just go in and tell them that you followed the correct procedure and will be taking your DC to an important family event.

MidniteScribbler Mon 07-Oct-13 00:37:44

Our school is very strict about days off, but by applying strict standards, it does actually allow the head to be fair about genuine reasons for absence. Family wedding or funeral - absolutely. Representative sport, music exams, performances, - yes. Trip to visit dying grandparent in foreign country - yes. Parent only gets holiday from work during term time and a holiday is planned and these are the educational opportunities we are planning during that holiday and what provisions we are making to still get school work done - let's talk about it and make sure it works. Jolly holiday to the gold coast theme parks because it is quieter during term time - not a chance.

Because parents actually bother to come and talk to the school BEFORE they go booking themselves on holidays, it usually works out ok. Parents who demonstrate that they take their child's education seriously and can show that they are trying to work out the best option (booking it close to a holiday to minimise days off, taking a laptop so children can log in to pick up school work and do it while away, etc, are more likely to get approved.

BTW, as a teacher, I will only miss school for sickness and funerals. I will not take a day off for a wedding booked on a weekday. If someone wants their wedding on a working day, then they need to expect that there will be people who cannot attend.

tiggytape Sun 06-Oct-13 22:23:38

makes me so cross that when teachers have time off for sickness or other reasons and a supply teacher is brought in, the children and parents have to be understanding

And in return teachers are understanding towards sick children being off school, needing help to catch up, needing to go over what has been missed. Nobody can help illness.

I mean how many parents would really take their DCs out of school every year for a two week holiday if they were really struggling and behind. Maybe I just live in lala land.

Thousands. You are definitely in lala land if you think otherwise. People take the holidays in term time because it is cheaper and / or the destinations are less busy and packed. It is definitely not something parents only do if their child is comfortably ahead at school - apart from anything many people have more than one child so they are hardly likely to leave one behind if they're not as bright as their siblings. For most, their desire to go on holiday is the only consideration and they either assume the child will catch up or they assume they won't miss much. Millions of school days are (or were) lost to term time holidays. These weren't all top group children being signed out to see the sites in Florence!

Hulababy Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:38

I missed 1-2 weeks a year from school every year when growing up. My dad's factory had shutdown weeks when all holidays had to be taken. It was always in term time, and the fortnight one was in June. So, in order to be able to holiday we (me, brother and sister) missed school every year. This did not mean my parents didn't value school and education - infact they very much did value it!

However, they also understood the need for us all to have time away from the stresses and strains of every day life, having time out together as a family, time to be together and do fun stuff, no work, no housework, no chores.

All three of us went on to do well at school, passed exams, went to university and all working in chosen professions. Our education did not suffer at all. Our family life very much did benefit from family holidays, even if only a few days away, a few miles away on a beach.

It has to be a balance imo. Yes, school only occurs 39 weeks a year but as travel companies dictate the such high rices in school holidays, and people have mixed family make ups with family living abroad, etc. schools SHOULD be allowed to use flexibility and discretion.

rabbitstew Sun 06-Oct-13 21:21:23

Sorry, baffledmum, but I do not agree that the wedding of a close family member is less important than one day of primary school. You may legally only need a bride, groom and a couple of witnesses to get married, but family weddings and funerals are not just about fulfilling legal formalities. If you think they are, then I'm glad I'm not part of your family.

teacherwith2kids Sun 06-Oct-13 21:13:03

"I mean how many parents would really take their DCs out of school every year for a two week holiday if they were really struggling and behind."

You live, I am afraid, in lalaland. Many children struggle partly BECAUSE their parents do not value education, and one symptom of that lack of value would be taking 2 weeks of holiday in term time every year.

baffledmum Sun 06-Oct-13 21:12:25

Family emergencies are one thing, a planned wedding or a holiday are another. That's just common sense.

I definitely wouldn't and didn't take my primary school kids out of school to visit a seriously ill relative. We've been through that this year.

Relatives living abroad I can see is trickier but I have a friend from NZ and she has never taken her kids out of school to go home. Life's about making choices, I guess. Besides, why should someone lucky enough to have relatives in Oz, say, be able to go but someone going on holiday is turned down? In what way is the holiday a less valid reason? Term time is term time - it's only 38 weeks or so of the year!

A wedding is absolutely not an obligation. You need a bride and groom and a couple of witnesses to get married. Anyone over and above that minimum is a choice and a nice-to-have.

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 06-Oct-13 21:00:22

"makes me so cross that when teachers have time off for sickness" hmm. Sorry, I'll remember to be ill in the holidays form now onwards and can you please tell that to the bug that is going round children and staff alike.

Hulababy Sun 06-Oct-13 20:54:55

shebird - not one of the teachers where I work would consider it a problem or even vaguely disruptive for them if a child missed a day, a week or even a fortnight from school. It would only be disruptive if the teacher was being asked to set and mark work for the child or to put on extra sessions on their return for said child., but we are never expected to do that by our HT anyway. We are, however, primary.

i think i would send them a carefully worded letter explaining the reasons why your dd should attend the wedding and miss school. it's a family obligation.

the school must act as they see fit in response.

and then i'd hope that they not take it any further. seems utterly ridiculous to me.

shebird Sun 06-Oct-13 20:45:29

Hulababy makes me so cross that when teachers have time off for sickness or other reasons and a supply teacher is brought in, the children and parents have to be understanding and daren't say their child's learning has been affected but if a child is missing for a day this is hugely disruptive for the teacherconfused

shebird Sun 06-Oct-13 20:34:26

baffledmum Should funerals and unforeseen family emergencies only happen in school holidays? So you wouldn't be aggrieved if you were told that you couldn't travel with your DCs to the funeral of a close family member or to visit a seriously ill relative as has happened at our school.
What happens to those with family living abroad where it's not possible to travel there and back over a weekend?

Hulababy Sun 06-Oct-13 20:32:36

As for refusing leave for a funeral - tbh I would be fuming! How callous can a person be?!

Even teachers and HT are allowed time off to attend family weddings and funerals, with a fair bit of leeway given when it isn't just immediate family or it involves close friends - as they should be!

Hulababy Sun 06-Oct-13 20:30:03

I think it completely and utterly ridiculous how a child cannot be granted one day off school to attend a family wedding. There is no sense behind it at all. The child's education will not be affected by one day, the teachers work load will not be affected by one day, no other child's education will be affected by one day. There is no common sense being applied, nothing.

But then, even despite having been a teacher and still now working FT in schools as teaching staff, I can't see why children cant be granted 1-2 weeks holiday in term time, especially in primary school.

It isn't the children who miss the odd 1-2 weeks a year for a family holiday who are an issue. It is far more complex than that.

Governments should start looking at the real issues rather than trying to control stuff like this that really didn't need faffing with.

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