What happens to Heads who authorise holidays in term time?

(16 Posts)
tabitha8 Thu 09-Jul-15 12:57:49

Does anyone happen to know the answer to this? Someone told me that they risk being sacked but that would seem so extreme to me to say the least. If anyone can shed any light, I'd be really grateful.

No134 Thu 09-Jul-15 13:04:05

My understanding is they can't authorise them. the LEA does not give them the power to do that. If you take your dc out anyway, it's automatically logged as unauthorised, and passed to the LEA for whatever action they normally take.

skyeskyeskye Thu 09-Jul-15 13:06:36

Our Headteacher can't authorise holidays but she is not reporting them to the LEA. So no action is taken.

tabitha8 Thu 09-Jul-15 13:07:17

That is true, but I know that some schools are still authorising (my school authorised a few this year).
My friend told me that we risked getting the Head sacked, which is a bit worrying.

tabitha8 Thu 09-Jul-15 13:08:08

Thanks Skye. I hadn't heard of that being done.

tabitha8 Thu 09-Jul-15 13:08:45

We really like our Head and don't want to risk his job.

catslife Thu 09-Jul-15 13:38:31

The overall percentage attendance of all pupils in a school is taken account in OFSTED inspections. If it falls below a certain level, schools cannot be rated as Outstanding. For some schools authorising holidays could make a difference between a school being rated as Good or Outstanding by OFSTED.
These days there is Performance related pay for Heads and this could be linked to OFSTED grading, results etc. so it could mean that they receive less pay.

No134 Thu 09-Jul-15 21:29:46

They might be putting it through under some other code, like 'educational activities off site' or whatever.

BrilliantDayForTheRace Thu 09-Jul-15 21:34:45

This was a couple of years ago but when I took my DC to the other side of the world to visit their sick grandma it was recorded as 'educated off site' which meant they had no absences on their record.

So can Heads always do that? Authorise being 'educated off site' if you apply for term time leave?

Hassled Thu 09-Jul-15 21:39:36

Heads can authorise holidays "in exceptional circumstances". The problem is that no-one has really defined what that means. Examples I know of are where the father was armed forces and just back from a long tour overseas, and another is the wedding of the child's parents.

As to what would happen if a Head decided a week at Centreparcs because it's cheaper in termtime was "exceptional" - I don't really know. I know both the LA and Ofsted would be unimpressed.

admission Thu 09-Jul-15 22:06:42

Most heads in England now take a firm line with holidays in term time and simply do not authorise them. They cannot stop the parents taking the holiday, at which point they will be considered to be an unauthorised absence.
Heads are very unlikely to be sacked over unauthorised absence as long as they can show that the school has taken all appropriate actions to try and stop such holidays. However as Catslife says with performance pay, it would be possible that they might find themselves out of pocket if there was absence objectives set.

clam Thu 09-Jul-15 23:45:41

If it were the case that a Head risked their job by authorising holidays, then presumably they wouldn't do it.

Ours doesn't authorise any, but because no fines are ever issued, parents are taking as many term-time holidays as ever - I've had around a dozen children out at various points this year, and one of those kids has been twice! A colleague had a parent complain about something within the school day that their child was missing owing to the holiday, because "we weren't informed this would be going on." As if it's the school's job to go out of the way to remind parents to send in their child each day in case they miss something interesting important. Every day is important.

Hairylegs007 Thu 09-Jul-15 23:47:14

In my county heads can authorise days off school if there is a good reason

Hairylegs007 Thu 09-Jul-15 23:48:16

In Exceptional circumstances a head can authorise it

tabitha8 Fri 10-Jul-15 12:06:35

Clam, that makes perfect sense to me smile. If the Head's job were at risk every time he authorised a holiday, it's unlikely he'd do it. Mind you, he is near retirement.

meditrina Fri 10-Jul-15 12:13:05

The LEA has no formal/legal role in authorising absences. The law is clear that it is HT's discretion.

Though if the head wants to follow LEA policy, then obviously they can.

If a head is being sacked, then choices over attendance issues might be part of the reasons why they are seen as inadequate.

A good head, who makes good calls about how policies work most effectively for the the benefit of school life, is unlikely to be particularly vulnerable to sacking. Even if they do use their powers from time to time to authorise when circumstances warrant it to them.

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