Head refusing to authorise absence...

(41 Posts)
twistyfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 19:32:45

for a severely sick life limited child to go to a hospice. FFS. Its respite and a break for us ffrom constant care. 10 days a year must be taken in term time or we lose them. Only 4 may be weekend or holidays due to the massive demand.
So we took 3 during term time after yet another serious op and the Head has put down 3 days unauthorised absence and sent a shitty letter home.
What do we do?
I am angry and tearful and stressed as hell.
Can they fine us? Or will the LEA hve aheart?

HedgeHogGroup Sun 07-Jul-13 20:01:54

I speak as a Headteacher. Go! Call her bluff. You might get a call from the EWO but imagine the bad press if they prosecute you! There is no shame in an unauthorised absence... only in being a dick-head teacher.
Hope you get the respite you deserve xx

BrianTheMole Sun 07-Jul-13 20:12:49

I would take it anyway. Get the social worker involved to support you and put in a complaint about the head teacher.

mrz Sun 07-Jul-13 20:25:48

It's either a mistake or a total jobs worth head ...

twistyfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 20:26:57

Thanks Hedgehog. I am completely petrified of being fined. She's put down 3 unauthorised absences as we went to the hospice for 3 nights after being totally axhausted after a long hospital stay. I had called the school and she wouldnt authorise them so we went anyway. It was that or literally have a breakdown.

quip Sun 07-Jul-13 20:30:54

I would put in complaint to governors and go to local paper. That's heartless of the headteacher - who obviously only cares about her attendance statistics rather than the children in the school's care.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 07-Jul-13 20:31:32

What a horrible nasty woman I'm so sorry you have to deal with such an awfull person .She should be ashamed of herself . DO what you need to do.

Periwinkle007 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:33:38

that is ridiculous. The whole point of the fines is to stop people taking unnecessary time off like going off on holidays. NOT for respite or health reasons. Seriously I am shocked. So long as you have sent in a letter explaining what the absence is for and why it is so necessary then you are covered. If you receive any follow up from the LEA or whoever it is who chases it up then you send them the same documentation. I can't believe they would take it any further. You need the respite care.

Hassled Sun 07-Jul-13 20:33:50

I'm sure it's a mistake. Or at least I hope so.

Your appeal route would be the Chair of Governors - may well be worth a letter.

littleducks Sun 07-Jul-13 20:34:01

Sod the fine, its only money and I'm sure someone with a heart would pay it or wipe it off the system if they were crazy enough to uphold it.

Don't let it put you off going again.

Bunbaker Sun 07-Jul-13 20:35:29

I agree with quip - governors, local paper, plus I would write to your MP. This is ridiculous.

I can't see you ever being fined. That WOULD be a press story.

Ignore the unauthorised thing. Think of it as a ridiculous blanket policy. The HT IMO has no right to authorise or not authorise an absence for the reasons you have given so dismiss it as ridiculous.

MakeGlutenFreeHay Sun 07-Jul-13 20:39:09

Yes yes - governors and local paper. Shocking - surely it's classed as absence on health grounds rather than unauthorised?

MrsDeVere Sun 07-Jul-13 20:42:06

She is wrong.
There is no one on this earth that would back her up.
Make the request in writing and cc the governors and the LEA.

500internalerror Sun 07-Jul-13 20:43:24

But that's medical absence, surely?
I assume the head knows the exact situation?
And I assume I'm reading this right, that its the absence of your ill child in question, not absence of siblings whilst the other is in respite? Fwiw, this would also be justifiable family time, but I can see kind of how the head might be thinking?

Icantstopeatinglol Sun 07-Jul-13 20:44:23

That is absolutely ridiculous!! You need this so just do it. I would go above her head definately. She needs to realise that situations like these are exceptional circumstances that they CAN authorise!! It's not for a cheap holiday?! I'm shocked!
Hope you get sorted, she needs a foot up her rigid arse!!

admission Sun 07-Jul-13 20:49:01

Just totally pathetic. Do what you believe is right for your child, some head teachers seem to loose sight of the reason they are there in the job - it is called the pupils in the school.

twistyfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 20:50:40

thanks all. It was done over the phone. When dd came out of hospital (she is in lots) I called and said we needed to take her to the hospice and could we have authorised absence and the miserable old bag said no as dd's attendance was only 82% (like d'uh, she's in hospital a lot.). So we went anyway. I was exhausted, stressed out because we'd thought we'd lose dd this time and just thought 'fuck you' so took 3 of our allocated nights because we bloody needed them right then and there.
Not a word was spoken when we got back. The head of the resource base was fine with it, as was the class teacher but the school Head had a face like a sucked lemon although she said nothing (the last Head told me to take as many holidays as possible even though we cant and to be honest, school is a break and dd loves school so we miss as little as possible). So nothing until the school report which I openend today and found the 3 days unauthorised and shitty letter.
We've always got on great with the school until this new Head. She even put in about the 7 late days which were down to the school transport either showing up late or failing to turn up to fetch dd!!!
I'm trying to think of an elaborate curse 'May her nipples head south and join her toes' grin

I would write a letter to the governing body asking them to review the Head's decision. Send in copies of any medical reports that may be relevant. While you're at it complain about the additional distress that the Head's inflexibility has put you and your family through.

twistyfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 20:51:38

No, no siblings 500.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 07-Jul-13 20:52:08

Op I am so so sorry sad

Please put your request in writing to the head, cc governors, explaining how this has made you feel. I would be amazed of it was not granted after that.

Report to lea too,

TwllBach Sun 07-Jul-13 20:56:02

I can't see any head in the land having so little compassion for those in their care... I'm disgusted, and I work in a school with a pretty hardcore senior management time.

Fingers crossed its am admin mistake OP.

OhDearNigel Sun 07-Jul-13 20:57:17

No court in this world would prosecute you. I think you would have a good case for harassment actually.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sun 07-Jul-13 22:19:59

Truly appalling. Even if not given on medical grounds schools can give compassionate leave. How thoughtless sad

cornypony Sun 07-Jul-13 23:12:18

How awful for you to get such a nasty letter in dd's report sad

I'm wondering whether the HT is in breach of the equality act

Your dd went to a hospice after a stay in hospital, where you nearly lost her and the head has classed it as unauthorised absence? shock that has to be one to the cruelest most appalling thing I have read on here in a long time.

What in gods name is the head playing at. I couldn't let it lie twistyfeet, can you talk to dds teacher (who sounds lovely) and ask her to meet with you and the head? M trying to give the head the benefit of the doubt that she doesn't understand the nature of your dds condition. Can the hospice help you by writing to the head?

I'm so sorry you have been treated like this. Bloody gove and his target based education system

the best curse ever it

"may your crotch be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels, and your arms be too short to scratch!"

cory Mon 08-Jul-13 09:53:13

We had to deal with a HT with a similar mentality once.

Best advice is put everything in writing, every date, every time and send it to the head, cc'ing the SENCO, teacher and board of governors. Explain everything about your dc's condition, the seriousness of it, and that the hospice is part of the medical treatment.

(Also, keep private notes of everything the head says to you - with dates.

If you have meetings, bring somebody along to take copious notes and let the head see that you are doing it.)

Someone like this relies on intimidation and on you becoming flustered and losing it. Don't give them the satisfaction.

xylem8 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:02:24

In future don't ask for authorised absence just say she is going to the hospice.

Bluebell99 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:08:26

I am horrified for you, and would suggest naming and shaming this head and local authority in the press. Hugs to you and your dd.

mummytime Mon 08-Jul-13 11:03:25

I just have to echoe this is appalling.

In future record everything in writing, email will do.

GeekInThePink Mon 08-Jul-13 11:06:57

I am so angry on your behalf!
Good advice in above posts.
Hope your daughter is ok

CashmereHoodlum Mon 08-Jul-13 11:36:56

This is quite possible the worst thing I have ever read on Mumsnet, and heaven knows, there has been plenty to choose from. I can't believe anybody could be so cruel as to pile this extra stress onto you in the knowledge of what you are going through as a family.

JaxTellerIsAllMine Mon 08-Jul-13 11:41:25

cory is spot on. Put everything in writing - an email to head, cc SENCO etc will do, but then there is a traceable route for you. If it isnt in writing it isnt 'real' and school can do/say what they want.

The HT sounds like a total eejit. sad

twistyfeet Mon 08-Jul-13 16:08:32

I rang the head of the resource base and she is investigating on our behalf. I told her how hurt and angry we were and how we have never taken a holiday or missed a day of school for anything frivolous. I know I should have written but its another 'task' IYSWIM.
Thankyou for all the advice. Hopefully this Head will bugger off and the old one will come back.

PuppyMonkey Mon 08-Jul-13 16:18:35

I work at a local newspaper. You would be front page, I guarantee. So sorry for you.

You're not from Nottingham are you?wink

melody1771 Tue 09-Jul-13 02:26:36

I am really shocked at this. Does the hospice have a teacher.....like hospital schools service? If so then your child is being 'educated off site' and her absence should be recorded as a B. alternatively phone the school and say she is sick when she goes into the hospice. After all it is not really a holiday for any of you. Does the hospice have a social worker who could intervene for you?

Just throw he snotty letter into the bin. If you do get a fine refuse to pay it and contact the local authority. There is no way they will make you pay it.

Good luck
Mel

rundontwalk Tue 09-Jul-13 02:43:22

Am speechless. There is NO WAY you'd ever get fined. Surely this has to be a mistake?! Agree with previous posters-in future,don't ask, just tell them she's at the hospice. Hope you get resolution quickly & I'm so sorry you have this additional stress.

Pozzled Tue 09-Jul-13 08:00:46

OP, I'm also appalled, but are you sure that this letter is from the head and directed at you personally? It is just possible that the school has a policy of sending out a generic attendance letter with reports, to anyone whose attendance falls below certain levels. An admin worker could have followed the policy without being aware of your circumstances.

(Obviously if the letter is personalised to you, then ignore me- I just hate the idea of a head being so callous)

vess Tue 09-Jul-13 12:39:35

AFIK unauthorised absence doesn't automatically mean you'll be fined or prosecuted.

twistyfeet Wed 10-Jul-13 16:13:25

They said I wont get fined but the absences will remain 'on file'. Future hospice visits will be authorised (yes, I did hint that I would call the papers and explained how stressed this had made us)
I think the resource base Head was mortified to be honest and walking a very delicate line between me and the school Head. Miserable old prune faced hag.
Oh, and apparently, EWO's no longer exist so I dont have to worry about a visit from one anyway.
Thankyou for all the advice and the place to have a rant.

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