Unauthorised absence and removal of child from school roll

(109 Posts)
wickedfairy Sat 12-Oct-13 16:34:33

We have a family event (Wedding) on the other side of the world and have been refused authorisation to remove the children from school. We have asked for 16 days, which I know is a lot but we have to fly our family so far away, that we cannot make it a short trip. Basically, the children would be off school for one month, with half term in the middle (hence the 16 days).

It costs so much to go there, that we thought it could be a trip of a lifetime and we would be making sure the children would benefit from the trip – experiencing local culture and visiting historical places during the trip. I have proposed that the record the trip and what they do in a diary to share once back at school and also that we would happily take schoolwork away so that the children would not fall behind. One child is in Yr2, the other is younger – wedding is near the beginning of the year, not SATS time.

The standard letter we were sent says that we will most likely be fined, which we would accept. The very worrying thing is that it also says that the children could have their names removed from the school roll and lose their places. They both have excellent attendance (96%). Can they really do this? I am so worried and the flights are already booked….. I will request a meeting with the head teacher, but I am not sure she will accept/it will make no difference.

Any advice please? I am totally stressing that we will get back and the children will have lost their school places. They have never missed school before....

TheAngryCheeseCracker Sat 12-Oct-13 16:56:53

Is it worth the stress?

Schools are very strict now because they have to be (gvt rules).

We were not even allowed a measly one day off to to a grandparent's funeral sad

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 17:09:14

Technically yes you could lose your place.
Anything over 10 days unauthorised absence can lead to removal from the school's roll.
Whether you risk this or not depends on what assurances, if any, you can get from the Head and how popular your school is. If it has loads of empty spaces in Year 2 then you may be less worried than if it has a waiting list full of people ready to take your place.

And without wishing to sound harsh, don't think the offer of taking school work will placate the school. Effectively it just means you are not only taking a month off but expecting the staff to go to extra effort to cover the work missed in that time. Many schools refuse to help with work missed unless the child has been away for illness or similar. It is a very long time for them to be away and I think most schools would have a problem with this especially given the new rules that came into force in September about term time holidays.

shebird Sat 12-Oct-13 17:10:40

I understand the fine and the fact that they are unwilling to authorise such a long absence but threatening loss of school place is a bit much.

As for refusing a day to attend a grandparents funeral now that makes me really cross.

drivinmecrazy Sat 12-Oct-13 17:22:43

Absolutely hate these new rules, taking away any discretion from the Head Teachers.

DD1 (now yr8)was taken out of yr 3 for half a term so I could take her to spend the final few weeks with her Grandpa before he passed away in Spain. The school did not have any hesitation giving her this time off.

All these years later I never consider her lack of schooling for that period, but both her and I are eternally grateful the school was able to make that decision.

I absolutely dread to think of that situation occurring now. if she had not been able to have that time off we would have all missed out on far more than an education.

Fortunately for us, DD1 is very academically able, but that still would not have affected our desire to spend that particular period of time in the way that we did.

It's truly heartbreaking that so many families are missing out on significant life events due to some arbitrary, set in stone decree from the powers that be.

completely ridiculous, and goes against any responsible parents ability to decide what is best for their own children.


Tiredemma Sat 12-Oct-13 17:24:51

If you normally have good attendance (above 95%) then its highly unlikely that your children will be taken off the school roll.

lalalonglegs Sat 12-Oct-13 17:25:10

I think you're going to have to meet them halfway and shorten the trip (preferably so that, including half term, it is less than 10 days and they cannot remove your children from the school roll). I do think that these blanket refusals to consider time off are unhelpful and can be counter-productive but I would agree that a month is a long time.

AngryCheese - I would have told them to swivel if they'd refused a day off for a close relative's funeral. How bloody dare they angry.

lljkk Sat 12-Oct-13 17:32:03

I wonder if people who suggest shortening the trip have ever tried to fly half way around the world AND BACK in an 8 day window, and then managed to go straight to local time upon return (again, back onto home hours with no ill effects all within the 8 day window). With children in tow. Coz you're friggin' Martians if you can do that.

I'd just go, OP. I'm planning something very similar next yr (14 days for my lot). The amount of paperwork they have to do to process school places off and back on the roll is probably too much for LEA to get around to in less than 4 weeks, by which time you'll be back.

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 17:32:57

Teachers do still have some discretion. For example a wedding could be authorised as an exceptional reason. So could a funeral if the Head chose to do this.
However a month off school would have been pushing it even before the rules changed and losing a school place after 10 days unauthorised absence was something the old rules also included.

The new rules stop people taking time off for non exceptional reasons i.e price of flights, weather, visiting family abroad just for a visit. Parents often say they are responsible and have educational trips are and naturally gifted children but the fact remains a significant number of children were taken out by parents every year based purely on cost even if their normal attendance was shocking and their child was behind and there were Year 10 assessments they were supposed to do. Not all parents take a responsible approach and in fact lots of them didn't.

moldingsunbeams Sat 12-Oct-13 17:39:57

We took a day out for a funeral, I told them we were going rather than asked them, it was a close grandparent and I refuse to allow them to prevent dd from being there.

I actually think you would be in your rights to complain if they prevented you going to a funeral of a close relative tbh.

NewNameforNewTerm Sat 12-Oct-13 17:41:06

That is a lot of holiday and a lot of learning missed. The issue about "SATs time" is not actually valid at year 2. It is not like Y6 when they are in specific month or like Year 2 was (many years ago) and happened all in the month of May.

The tests have to administered, but at any time the school decides as they are used as part of the teacher assessments. If the school has planned to do them when you are away your child will miss them and the school can't organise all its planning around you having a month off and do them another time. I usually do my maths tests in February, Reading in March and Writing in April / May.

As a teacher, asking for / offering t do school work would not cut it with me. Why should I provide work for you when you've decided to take time off school? Maybe it is different if the child is ill or needs time off for other emergency reasons, but holiday, no. I get lots of people asking for the worksheets. Sorry, I rarely use them and if I do they are a follow up from my teaching not in place of it. So then they ask for my plans. Again, not possible. I only plan a day or two in advance at most, as it is in response to the learning needs identified in the classroom, not a set syllabus that I plough through. Today I'm planning Monday and Tuesday, the rest will follow from what I discover children need during those lessons.

Also you have to be ready for friendship dynamics to drastically change when you get back. Friends may have moved on and have replaced your DC with other best friends or friendship groups and your DC may find it really hard to find their place, feeling left out or completely ousted from friendship groups.

As a parent it is a tough call for you. I'd be less worried about the younger child (are they statutory school age yet? If not that may help your case with the HT). But the only way you'll know your places are secure is to have a meeting with the HT and if successful get it in writing.

NewNameforNewTerm Sat 12-Oct-13 17:42:40

Trouble is, this is not just a day or two for a funeral. It is 1/12th of a school year (assuming each half term is on average 6 weeks long)

scaevola Sat 12-Oct-13 17:43:46

HT still have discretion, and under the new rules could, if persuaded the absence is exceptional, authorise a period over 10 days (the limit under the old rules). The loss of the place for lengthy unauthorised absence, is unchanged.

Your choices are a) to have another go at persuading HT to authorise, b) to go unauthorised (and pay fine, if raised) but alter dates to remove risk of loss of place or c) go on original plan, cross you fingers and hope the worst consequences do not come about.

NoComet Sat 12-Oct-13 17:44:08

These new rules are totally unreasonable and I hope sooner or later someone will find a way of taking the government to court for them.

Preventing people with family abroad from attending familly events or visiting sick or elderly relatives must be pretty close to contravening the human rights act.

It's utterly unfair that families face fines for making the sorts of visits that were sanctioned no bother in the past.

DF's DH is Australian and they had no bother going to see his family partly in term, partly into the summer holidays.

admission Sat 12-Oct-13 17:51:55

The rules around this are in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006.
My reading of them is that if the pupil has been given a leave of absence then they can be removed from the register if they have not returned 10 school days after the period of leave of absence. If there has been no leave of absence granted (which is where you are), then it is 20 school days after which the pupil can be removed from the register with agreement of the LA. If you are talking about 16 school days then I would suggest you try and get some clarity in writing from the head teacher, but expecting any sympathy or any leave of absence is not going to happen.

nextphase Sat 12-Oct-13 17:56:19

Yep, we've done (nearly) half way round the world with 2 kids for 2 weeks - it is very difficult to get longer off work in one block (before school). Its not impossible.

OP: I know why you want to go for that long, but can you compromise, and come back for the second half of term? So miss 2 weeks (10 days) of school, and use the half term also. That prevents the possible loss of school place, but doesn't take too much off your holiday.

Current attendance of 96% is about 7 days off. Take a further 16 sessions off, and the max attendance for the year is 88%. Where is the action point for attendance?

lalalonglegs Sat 12-Oct-13 17:57:28

lljkk - no one's suggesting an 8-day window to fly across the world and back. What I suggested was 3 weeks (to include half term) with only 10 days or less of term-time missing. However, it doesn't matter how long they stay, jet lag is almost certain to be an issue on the return leg of the journey as their body clocks adjust.

siblingrevelry Sat 12-Oct-13 18:09:32

It still amazes me when people get indignant about school enforcing rules-when you have a child, you have to accept that 4/5 years later you will be obliged to confirm to your child not being available at set times. It's a shame when it's unavoidable and through no fault of the parent, but often it's as a result of choices they've made (and as harsh as it sounds, if I were in education i wouldn't think a family wedding as a good enough reason, regardless of whose wedding it is. Probably why I'm not in education though, I'm obviously too harsh!)

We've just had half the parenting population up in arms that their kids missed one day from teacher's strike action. It seems for some education is viewed as flexible: it's our choice to take it or leave it, and opt in or out when we think it might be valuable I.e exams.

keepsmiling12345 Sat 12-Oct-13 18:29:31

At my DD's oversubscribed state school, the catchment area shrank to 300metres this year. Many children are therefore on the waiting list, desperate for a place to come up. The same is true in year 1 and year 2. To be honest, if I were the parent of a child in that position, I would absolutely support your DC being removed from the school roll. If you're not that bothered about attending the school for a month, then why shouldn't the place go to someone else who will do their utmost to turn up every day and benefit from the education on offer at that school?

Of course, education is not just about what is learnt at school but when you take up a place at school you are agreeing to the term dates etc. if you want flexibility, then remove your DC from the school roll and home educate. Why is it reasonable for you to ask for place at school but the flexibility of home educating?

And asking for a month off is not comparable with the example of the day off for a funeral being refused.

And agree with others, before you suggest that you'd be happy to take school work with you, think about what this really means for the teacher and what you are asking them to do. Otherwise, you risk coming across as exceptionally entitled and unreasonable.

lljkk Sat 12-Oct-13 18:53:46

I think OP is talking about a month of travel but only 3 weeks off school.

"They" changed the rules, they moved the goal posts about hols since I had DC and since OP had her kids. 4 yrs ago we went & got 3 weeks approval without problem. Ditto 4 yrs before that.

NOW it will be a problem. sad

So don't tell me I should have had a better crystal ball before DC were even born.

Had I known I might have made a point of immigrating back when DC1-2 were still very small. It would not such an issue in my home country to travel for 3 weeks in the other direction during term time. My best recent estimates of costs to immigrate back are at least £20k. Have been seriously considering it.

No friendship issues, academic or over-sub problems any of the previous times we've done this trip.

My boss (Uni academic) once went on working sabbatical with his many kids for maybe 4 months. Took loads of school work, trip of a lifetime, fantastic for his career & family financial security, lots of cultural exchange, loads of networking with big names. Imagine that now, ha!

CanucksoontobeinLondon Sat 12-Oct-13 19:01:37

I'd go with changing the flights so the kids are only absent for 10 school days, if at all possible. It sounds like the school is prepared to play hardball. Besides, it would ruin your wonderful trip if you were thinking in the back of your mind the whole time, "I wonder if DC will be kicked out of school for this."

Or see maybe if the school will compromise. You could try asking if the head would accept an absence of 12 days, for example. That would technically be just over the limit, but would show them that you're not being totally inflexible. If they totally insist on 10 days, though, I'm not sure there's a whole lot you can do about it.

My late mom was a teacher and long absences during school terms used to drive her nuts. She found it really hard to re-integrate kids back into the classroom, and other kids in the class would get resentful that one kid got this fabulous trip abroad and they didn't. Plus, giving the kids work to do while they were away just increased her workload before they went and after they got back.

I can relate, though. When my BIL had his civil partnership 2 years ago in England, it was during the school term, and the principal wouldn't let us take DS out for longer than a week. It felt totally unfair to be flying from Canada to the UK for just a week, because it is such a long flight. Even though I knew full well the teacher's point of view on it, from my mom, it still felt unjust.

keepsmiling12345 Sat 12-Oct-13 19:08:10

Sorry lijkk not clear who is asking you to have had a better crystal ball when your DC were born? My point is simply that OP knew the rules when she enrolled her children at the school (only three years ago, assuming child in Y2) and the regulations even then would have allowed the removal from school roll after such an absence.

keepsmiling12345 Sat 12-Oct-13 19:52:53

By the way, * lijkk *, coming back to a point you made in your post, a child at my DD's school has been taken out for a 6month period so her father could take a short sabbatical overseas. As you say, a chance of a lifetime. But the school place was not kept open and so they took the decision to take the chance that their DS, who would return into Y4, would get a place on their return. Because of the high turnover of pupils (we have lots of children from families here on 3 year postings etc), the slightly less stringent class size regulations in KS2, their DS got a place back in the school only two months after they returned.

I am all for people taking opportunities when they arise but not for expecting that regulations shouldn't apply to them.

scaevola Sat 12-Oct-13 19:57:32

"4 yrs ago we went & got 3 weeks approval without problem. Ditto 4 yrs before that."

Then your HT was breaking the rules then in force. Under the new rules HT can authorise as long as by deem fit. Before that, the ceiling was 10 days.

MaggieW Sat 12-Oct-13 19:59:13

Three weeks ie ten school days is doable for a trip like this, whereas I think a month is a luxury (and I'm from the other side of the world and have done the trip with 2 pre and primary-age DCs at least four times). I don't think there will be any friendship issues etc etc but it's a lot of learning to miss.

I know how expensive it is to fly such a distance but it's just something you have to swallow. We've always gone in the summer hol's, which isn't ideal, as it means missing summer here and going to winter there, but if that's what it takes, then that's the trade-off.

FiveExclamations Sat 12-Oct-13 20:08:06

There must be some level of discretion, we asked our HT about a day off for a family occasion saying that we understood he might have to say no and he approved it without a murmur.

I have since been told that others have had time off approved as well.

Maybe our HT is a rebel?

FiveExclamations Sat 12-Oct-13 20:09:22

Sorry, should add none of these approved absences have been anything like as long as 16 days far as I know, so no idea about rules for long absences.

shebird Sat 12-Oct-13 21:03:11

Fiveexclamations I think your HT has just used common sense and I wish our HT would do the same. Our HT has refused my request for 2 days to attend a family event abroad. I am so angry as this is a religious ceremony and it is a faith school so it makes a complete joke of the whole notion that the school supports the faith of its pupils. Requests to attend funerals of close family members have also been declined.

Saracen Sat 12-Oct-13 21:10:30

Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of it, and the question of whether the absence should have been authorised, it is illegal for the children to lose their school place over this. It would be wise to inform the school in writing of your exact plans before you go.

admission, I don't agree with your interpretation of the law.

Looking at the Education Act here

the only section which is remotely relevant is that a child's name can be removed from the roll on the grounds

"(h)that he has been continuously absent from the school for a period of not less than twenty school days and —
(i)at no time was his absence during that period authorised by the proprietor in accordance with regulation 6(2);
(ii)the proprietor does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend the school by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause; and
(iii)both the proprietor of the school and the local education authority have failed, after reasonable enquiry, to ascertain where the pupil is;"

But the OP's children will only be missing 16 school days, not twenty. What's more, if the school has been informed by the parents that the children are going abroad for a holiday, exactly where they will be going and when they will be returning, then it cannot be the case that the school and LEA have "failed to ascertain" where the children are. For good measure, you could supply them with a contact telephone number or email address where they can reach you while you are away, and a copy of your return tickets. Then it would be absolutely clear that the school and LEA cannot possibly believe the children have moved away.

Fairenuff Sat 12-Oct-13 23:14:32

I always wonder what parents mean when they say 'take work with them' for KS1 children?

We don't use worksheets in KS1 and haven't for a long time.

During lessons the teacher teaches by explaining, demonstrating, questioning, etc. How can you pack that into a suitcase and take it with you?

prh47bridge Sat 12-Oct-13 23:48:06

Saracen - You don't seem to be disagreeing with Admission's interpretation of the law at all. She said that a place can be removed if the pupil is granted leave of absence and fails to return within 10 days of the expiry of that leave (which is paragraph 8(f)) or if they are absent for more than 20 days (paragraph 8(h) which you have reproduced). She then goes on to say, quite reasonably, that the OP needs clarity from the school. The fact that the school should not remove the OP's child from the roll for an absence of 16 days does not mean they won't so it is better to sort that out now rather than wait until the school has got it wrong.

wickedfairy Sun 13-Oct-13 07:41:30

Thank you all for your advice, experience and thoughts - it is much appreciated! We will request a meeting with the HT. I am prepared to reduce the length of time but I doubt she will accept that. We would have to pay to change our flights, but if needs must...

Re taking schoolwork, I had not appreciated that this would be extra work for the teacher. I had assumed there would be some work books I could buy that we could use, so I feel very foolish for not realising.

The school is a very good one and is oversubscribed, so I am very worried about the threat of removal. I have read the regs and although it appears we would be safe bring under 20days, we can't take the risk that the places will be given to someone else. I am also mad at myself that I didn't read the regs before booking the flights, which were booked during the summer hols, so before the recent changes. Although, since things have changed, maybe it would have made no difference anyway...

CanucksoontobeinLondon Sun 13-Oct-13 08:24:19

WickedFairy, don't beat yourself up for not anticipating these problems. None of us has a crystal ball.

NynaevesSister Sun 13-Oct-13 08:24:50

Am astounded at the lack of understanding that some people are showing here. As someone who also comes from the other side of the world I would do what OP is doing.

The educational benefits and also the sense of belonging that comes from such travel and being with your family and culture is hugely important. Your children will do better long term if they do go. It is a family wedding! A chance for them to meet so much of their family in one go.

It isn't that easy to get flights that fit neatly into that ten day window either.

Personally, I would arrange a meeting with HT. explain you accept you will be taking unauthorised absence and outline the benefits to the children of this trip. Also take a letter with you outlining how you have thought about the pros and cons, clearly pointing to para 8h (quote in full) and say you will ensure your children are back before that 20 day limit.

Then go.

With the fine, check how your LA does it. Ours is per absence (so same for a week as for a day), per child, and per parent. So for two children would be £240.

meditrina Sun 13-Oct-13 08:27:53

If you first booked under the 'old' rules, then I suggest you change back to that booking (max 10 days off). That puts you so well under the removal of place threshold that you'll be able to relax.

Saracen Sun 13-Oct-13 09:15:01

"Saracen - You don't seem to be disagreeing with Admission's interpretation of the law at all."

Oops, sorry, you are completely right!

Saracen Sun 13-Oct-13 09:21:08

I still don't see that the OP needs to change her plans out of fear of losing the school places if she is convinced that this holiday is right for the children educationally.

The law is the law. The school places cannot be removed under the circumstances. Even an unforeseen delay to the family's return, taking them over the 20-day threshhold, would not trigger the loss of the school places if the LA and school know where the children are and that they plan to return.

If the school did unlawfully delete the children's names from the register, I'd immediately ask for places for them at the school. If the places have been subsequently filled by other children, surely the OP's children will have to be readmitted anyway (even if it takes the school over its numbers), on the grounds that they were illegally deregistered.

SavoyCabbage Sun 13-Oct-13 09:22:50

I'm doing this the other way. From the opposite direction i mean. My school has said how wonderful it will be for the children, seeing their family and having new experiences.

PenelopePitstops Sun 13-Oct-13 09:28:14

Take them and have a great time. I say this as a teacher that hates the new rules.

nennypops Sun 13-Oct-13 09:36:22

orh47 - The difference between Saracen's and Admission's interpretation of the law is that Saracen rightly points out the section where it says that the child can only be removed from the roll if the school and local authority can't ascertain where she is. Therefore if OP makes sure that the school knows precisely where the dc are going and when they will be back, they can't be removed from the roll. I would suggest that that be spelt out, very politely, to the head. If the head suggests she'll take them off the roll anyway you could point out that it would be open to you to take legal action in the children's names to have the places restored. They'd presumably qualify for legal aid for that purpose.

500internalerror Sun 13-Oct-13 09:51:12

Sadly, all these fines etc have come about because of society's change in attitude - which spoils it for the genuine instances of time off school being needed. When Parents take term time hols because they're cheaper, that doesn't make it right - in the 'old days' you took a holiday within your means. This often meant a weekend by the sea, or at an aunties house. People now think that a holiday abroad is the norm & expect it.

This is why, when things like a day off for a funeral come up, it's now harder to get a reasonable support from the school.

It's the same as parents increasingly slapdash attitude towards timekeeping and homework.

Sorry for the massive generalisations here, & I do realise this doesn't solve the ops problem! But society is changing, & instead of trying to instil good values back into people, they are just fined confused

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 13-Oct-13 09:53:22

With the fine, check how your LA does it. Ours is per absence (so same for a week as for a day), per child, and per parent. So for two children would be £240.

And other LA's are interpreting it as £60 per parent, per child, per session of which there are two every day - so the OP and her DP could face a fine of £3840 per child.

RaisinBoys Sun 13-Oct-13 10:08:03

16 days is too long. No one "needs" 16 days to attend a wedding, no matter where in the world it is.

If you were more reasonable in your request then your school might also be, and why you would book flights without having this sewn up first...

Re. worksheets - any teacher that could provide a months worth of worksheets for my y2 that adequately reflects the lessons being missed is not a teacher I would want.

clam Sun 13-Oct-13 10:09:09

Technically, the rules haven't "changed." Why does everyone believe that they used to be entitled to 2 weeks off during term time every year? That was never the case. The HT could, in exceptional circumstances, (meaning, as now, for a funeral or similar) allow UP TO ten days. Some Heads were a little more liberal in interpretation of what 'exceptional' meant previously. Now they can't be.

lborolass Sun 13-Oct-13 10:18:27

Re the post about missing a funeral - I wonder is there is a misunderstanding amongst some parents. Afaik the HT can't authorise the absence but they can't stop you going.

I would think that most parents would run the risk albeit small of a fine in the circumstances of a close family funeral.

In such a case how would the LA get to know that the child had been absent? Do the new rules include extra absence reporting?

CaptainSweatPants Sun 13-Oct-13 10:18:30

I think it's very different for a wedding than a funeral
I wouldn't take my kids out of school for 3 weeks for a wedding

coldwinter Sun 13-Oct-13 10:22:01

Three weeks is a long time out of school. And like others, I have flown very long haul flights for 2 weeks holidays, and in 1 case 8 days. Not ideal, but I wouldn't be able to get a month of work anyway.

Change your flights so you are away for 16 days. I know it will cost you more money, but it is not worth risking their school places.

lljkk Sun 13-Oct-13 10:37:14

I can't count the number of family weddings we've missed over the yrs. I can't face (or afford) spending all that money & enduring so much exhaustion & hassle for very brief visits. And weirdly enough, the relatives don't know anything about intransigent English state school expectations so don't schedule accordingly. It would be nice to go to a family event just a few times every decade.

Sirzy Sun 13-Oct-13 10:47:28

16 days of school is a lot to miss. Even without fines and possible (but unlikely) problems with school places for children so early in their education that could be whole topics of work they miss which could be very difficult to catch up on.

I think sometimes when you have family overseas you just either have to travel for very short periods of time or miss events you wouldn't normally. We couldn't go to a cousins wedding because it wasn't possible without us missing too long from school.

I have 3 DDs who are in secondary, primary and preschool. They attended their DDad (oldest DDs DSDad) on Friday and it didn't even occur to me to ask permission for them to have the day off. I told the schools that they wouldn't be in and they were fine with it.

The older 2 DDs haven't had any other days off yet but DD1 has had a few hospital and CAMHS appointments already this term.

BoundandRebound Sun 13-Oct-13 10:49:56

I'm pretty sure you can't off roll until 20 days absence

And have a glimmer of a memory that that's only if the school have had no contact and do not know where child is

buss Sun 13-Oct-13 10:58:49

If the HT does remove them from roll for being out of school in the circumstances you describe then you've probably had a lucky escape to be honest.

clothesrack Sun 13-Oct-13 11:10:07

Could you clarify with the local authority the circumstances under which a child would be removed from the roll?

Pizzahutlover Sun 13-Oct-13 11:15:59

Got my place taken away as a kid as my parents took me to another country for a month when i came back went to a rubbish new school and messed my life up dont recommend it as if the children are happy at the school then why leave it to chance. Dont do it as it may just ruin their lives and they will miss friends etc not worth it

NynaevesSister Sun 13-Oct-13 11:27:16

Can I ask if everyone who is saying 16 days is too long just to go to a wedding or that they should just suck it up and do it in the two weeks has ever travelled to a country that takes 24 hours in a plane to get there? With children?

Sirzy Sun 13-Oct-13 11:42:55

Like I said Nyna we didn't go to a family wedding whereby the travel would have taken over 24 hours each way because it would have meant missing too much time from school.

16 days off school is too much for a wedding irrespective of where the wedding is IMO.

Lucyccfc Sun 13-Oct-13 11:51:43

We did a trip half way round the world (with a 6 year old) for 1 week. It was not big deal and 1 day was plenty to get over the jet lag.

16 days is excessive.

FiveExclamations Sun 13-Oct-13 13:04:39

"Re the post about missing a funeral - I wonder is there is a misunderstanding amongst some parents. Afaik the HT can't authorise the absence but they can't stop you going."

I'm a bit baffled because, as mentioned in my previous post, I spoke to our HT, explained that I fully understood that the rules had changed and would not make a fuss if he said no, filled in a form as requested for a one day absence and he signed it off as authorised. We got the form back inside a week.

He has done so for other people as well. It isn't even for a funeral or wedding.

So, has he gone somewhere else to get approval, or will the local education authority come along and remove him in a plain van? What's going to happen to our HT? <Frets as he's bloody marvelous and has a huge amount to do with why it's an "outstanding" school>

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 13-Oct-13 13:18:37

I think a four week (3 excluding the half term) is too long and is unacceptable. School have 13 weeks of holiday and you could visit your family, including the newly weds then. We once had a family wedding during the first week in January - it was about 300 miles away and in the UK and the children would have had to miss the Friday beforehand for travelling as they had already gone back to school. We declined the invitation because of it.

Looking at this another way our DC both attend(ed) private schools and we probably pay about £450 per week each for their education. We wouldn't piss our own money up against the wall and I think it's entirely wrong to do so with the state's money to be perfectly honest.

juneau Sun 13-Oct-13 13:26:49

You booked a month-long holiday to an expensive long haul destination during term-time without checking it was okay with the school first? I'm baffled as to why you think the school would think that was acceptable - even under the old rules.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 13-Oct-13 13:36:00

Nynaeves Yes I have travelled to a country which takes 24 hours to reach. And yes, with children. What is your point?

lborolass Sun 13-Oct-13 13:43:23

Five - don't worry about your HT, I'm sure he can support his decision if challenged.

I wasn't clear, what I meant was if a request was refused a parent can still take the child out of school and face the consequences.

FiveExclamations Sun 13-Oct-13 13:50:09

Ah, okay, phew.

juneau Sun 13-Oct-13 14:09:14

Thing is, if the HT approves this very long absence (which I suspect he/she won't), they'll be bombarded by requests for term-time absences from lots of other parents who will, quite rightly, ask why one is being permitted and others refused. There can't be one rule for one and another rule for everyone else. IMO you books your holiday, you takes your chances.

claresf Sun 13-Oct-13 14:25:01

Can you put your children in a local school whilst you are there? We have had a few children who have had to go abroad during term time for a couple of weeks to a couple of months. They have gone on roll in the new country, the school email the school in the uk to confirm attendance and so they are recorded as educated off site or something similar.

My head is not allowed to give permission for something like this, even if she wanted to (she wouldn't authorise such a long period of time, at any rate).

admission Sun 13-Oct-13 18:35:47

OP, it might also be worth pointing out to you that if the school did take the draconian decision to de-register your child and bring somebody else in instead, then you need to apply for the place again. Presumably the school would say sorry full no can do and you then need to go to appeal. If you have informed the school when you will be away, where you are going and when you will be back then I find it very hard to believe that any admission appeal panel would not have great sympathy for your situation. I suspect the school may well get your child given the place back and all that will have happened will be that the class has an extra pupil and everybody is annoyed and been put to a lot of extra work and expense.
However far better to avoid that situation and come to some kind of agreement with the head teacher.

lljkk Sun 13-Oct-13 19:07:47

I wish I could get over jetlag in one day. I couldn't even do that prekids, never mind after them. Always a week to adjust, each way. DH once did it in a day (flying without kids). But he spent 2 days in bed when he came back from Australia, too.

I missed my Gran's 80th birthday party (only grandchild not there). She'll be 90 in 2015 and that's already ruled out.

elliegoulding Sun 13-Oct-13 20:27:43

16 days is to much to miss in Y2, its not fair on the children and a massive PITA for the teacher.

vestandknickers Sun 13-Oct-13 22:12:04

I can't believe you thought it was ok for your children to miss so much school. Surely it shouldn't take the HT to tell you that. You don't need to go to a wedding. If you fancy going to Australia you have six weeks summer holiday in which to do so.

Pooka Sun 13-Oct-13 22:19:38

We've flown to Oz with kids a couple of times. Really, didn't find the jetlag that unmanageable, certainly not in this direction - worse going than returning.

So if the OP were to take 5 days before half term and 5 days after half term, total of 10 school days missed. Not ideal from school perspective, but, taking into account the weekends on either end still plenty of time to travel, get over jet lag, and have fun.

23balloons Sun 13-Oct-13 22:36:26

We are going to visit relatives this Christmas, 24hrs each way & are doing it within the 2week school holiday. Yes we will all be jet lagged when we get back & will have to return to school / work 36 hrs later. I didn't even ask for time off school as ds in secondary & would miss so much even in a day that he would struggle to catch up.

I really think a month is very indulgent. How did you manage to get a month off work?

morethanpotatoprints Sun 13-Oct-13 22:38:21

Hello OP,

Wow you have taken some stick on here, fwiw I don't think your dc would miss any education even if you kept them off school for 6 months, but unfortunately this is the system you are stuck with.
I think it is so wrong that the gov seem to think they know what is best for our dc, but that is the downside of being part of that system and allowing them to educate your dc.
It does seem that the emphasis is put on how much it effects the system i.e teachers, schools, ofsted ranking, targets etc.
The cynic in me also sees it as a money spinning opportunity for the LEA in the form of fines. It stinks either way.

DoesBuggerAll Sun 13-Oct-13 23:01:34

Teachers and schools really have an inflated sense of their own importance. Missing a few weeks is not going to have any appreciable effect on a child's education. As for not being able to provide work for the child during their absence? How much effort is that really? Do you teachers not actually have a syllabus or scheme of work? Get over yourselves, you are not undertaking leading edge research in uncharted territory, you are regurgitating sometimes millennia old concepts to a new class each year. Why the absolute fuck you have to try to treat this as some kind if black art I just can't fathom. As for the poster who said that they couldn't just give worksheets or even point the parent in the direction of some relevant workbooks because it is their talking, explaining, questioning etc that couldn't be replaced just get a life. If a company carried on in the way teaching seems to they'd be out of business very quickly. It seems to me that the teaching profession likes to reinvent the wheel on an annual basis rather than work in a more efficient way.
As for homework - useless. Virtually no evidence it has any positive effect at all.

OP - take the time off. Your child will not lose their place.

Anybody would think it was the law you had to send your child to school.

clam Sun 13-Oct-13 23:07:55

DoesBuggerAll It seems to have escaped your notice that it is not teachers who invented this absence rule, but the Government Schools are just expected to implement it, or get shafted by Ofsted.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 13-Oct-13 23:09:10

Ditto *DoesBuggerAll.

It never ceases to amaze me how most parents are conditioned to believe that school is essential and a few weeks off will harm their dcs education.
I don't think the teachers are to blame in this instance though as they don't have any say in what happens regarding unauthorised absences.

OP, you could buy one of those work books from WHSmith or likewise and spending just 30 mins a day when you return your dc will be no further behind their peers. In fact you'll probably find them ahead.
I really wouldn't worry.

RaisinBoys Sun 13-Oct-13 23:33:42

DoesBuggerAll and morethanpotatoprints No of course school is not essential! Only in this country where you can get a free education would some people be so cavalier about it.

If you don't want to be constrained by school rules then home educate and you can have as many holidays or attend as many weddings as you like.

It never ceases to amaze me that some people seem to think that school is some sort of pick and mix; take the bits you fancy, leave the rest. And it never ceases to amaze me how many people think school is just some sort of glorified babysitting service.

16 days off for a bloody wedding is ridiculous and the OP knows it.

Floralnomad Sun 13-Oct-13 23:37:09

Well said raisinboys

morethanpotatoprints Sun 13-Oct-13 23:43:51


I do H.educate because I think education is important. I don't see that it is necessary for it to take place in a building with lots of other dcs.
No it isn't a baby sitting service, but certainly not ridiculous to not attend for a few weeks.

NewNameforNewTerm Mon 14-Oct-13 00:15:02

Why do people keep comparing education to industry. Children are not the product. You can't do X to them and be sure Y will happen. These are living unpredictable human beings.

And although there is a core of skills we teach, each child/group is on a different part of the journey along the path to mastering these. So, no there is no syllable to follow.

If the OP was at my school, I wish her well and hope she enjoys her holiday. But it would be totally up to her to close the gap of missing knowledge and skills, and solve the upsets that may happen when her child no longer has close friends as the dynamics of the class has changed in the DCs absence. Her choice = her problem! I'll get on with my job of teaching the children that are there. Just don't moan to me when the child doesn't achieve the level in end of KS1 SATs / Teacher Assessments.

NewNameforNewTerm Mon 14-Oct-13 00:16:10

I'm glad you HE, potato, because you clearly have no respect for teachers and I'm sure your DC would pick up on that.

RaisinBoys Mon 14-Oct-13 00:16:11

morethanpotatoprints we're going to go round in circles with this.

To expect approval for 16 days off to attend a wedding is ridiculous.

I'll just go and try that one at work..."can I have 16 days off please, aside from annual leave, to attend a wedding?" "No! Why not? What an unreasonable boss you are."

If you don't like the school attendance rules then opt out, as you have, but you can't have your cake and eat it.

Some people really need to grow up.

NynaevesSister Mon 14-Oct-13 08:01:46

Actually someone mentioned a great idea. If you can enrol in local school this can be counted as a attendance. We a actually did this with DC and it was a fabulous experience for them. They loved being in a totally different type of school with their cousins. Do check with your LA they will accept this. Also check with the country you are travelling to. If your DC don't have a passport for that country you may have to pay. But in our case the school found a way to work around that.

DoesBuggerAll Mon 14-Oct-13 08:12:13

I think if you enrol in another school then the original school has no choice but to take the pupil off the roll.

NynaevesSister Mon 14-Oct-13 09:03:42

No not when they are in another country if your LA accepts attendance this way. Ours does. I arranges it with our school and the school DC attended for a week in the other country before we left.

As said I have done this, and it was in the last school year. But you need to see if your LA accepts this.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 13:36:44


I don't see how it has to be a problem if dc are not in school for a few weeks. It is only because of Ofsted that schools are forced into making the decision not to allow any time off.
It is wrong as every child is different and the chance for these children to experience this life enhancing opportunity will be denied because all of a sudden absences are to count towards a schools ofsted grade. Its ridiculous and not in the best interests of the child.

RaisinBoys Mon 14-Oct-13 13:58:40

It's a wedding morethanpotatoprints. A jolly, a party. You have no idea whether it's a "life enhancing opportunity".

Parents always say that as though it is some kind of justification for removing children from school for long periods. It's not.

And they never record the experience or whatever else they promise to do. If you're lucky you get a few photos or a video of a wedding and a couple of landmarks. Nothing better than can be got off the web or from a travel brochure.

Parents are within their rights to remove their children from school. They should just not expect schools to bend over backwards to support their decisions and should be prepared to face any consequences of their actions. Something that we are always telling our children.

We do not, and will never agree on this one.

Over and out!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 14:20:14

I do know its a life enhancing opportunity
There are many educational values to it as well. The dc will learn so much just through conversation and meeting friends and family. Learning about other cultures, climates, folk lore for example are all beneficial. If I thought hard enough I could even place its value in relation to the nc, as this seems so important to people whose dc attend school.
Raisin Just because you fail to see the educational value of such an opportunity through lack of imagination, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


I have every respect for teachers, I was one myself. It is bureaucracy I have no time for tbh. I also think that systems should be challenged so we can improve and move with the times.
My dd has lots of teachers I haven't noticed any disrespect yet and would soon step in if I did.

tiggytape Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:58

If you're going to ask parents to justify their holidays in terms of educational merit and nc levels you will be opening the flood gates. EVERYBODY would say their 2 week jolly is a great learning experience to get an authorised absence. And how would this be policed - daily planning submitted for teacher approval perhaps, a written proposal for the Head to wade through?

Laying on a beach in Spain would become 14 full days immersed in a MFL including listening and responding to a nc level 2

Camping in France would become a great feat of geographical learning banging in the guy ropes and predicting when rain showers will hit. MFL practice could be added to the list and even some dispute resolution and ethical studies from the R.E curriculum perhaps (from sharing a cramped space all week and deciding not to kill each other).

Going away is hugely disruptive to the child, to the class left behind when the teacher helps the missing child catch up (and all the children going on holiday may be bright but they’re not pysic they will still need to be shown what they’ve missed) and to schools especially in Year 2 where assessments are going to take place perhaps over 2 terms

RaisinBoys Mon 14-Oct-13 15:03:05

Nothing lacking with my imagination morethanpotatoprints.

In my experience people resort to insulting others when they are insecure or their argument is not up to robust scrutiny.

Sound familiar?

coldwinter Mon 14-Oct-13 15:10:44

Educational experience reminds me of what the school used to say about school trips to France. In reality the only cross cultural learning going on, was snogging French boys.

tiggytape Mon 14-Oct-13 15:25:05

That's probably a PSHE topic coldwinter wink

coldwinter Mon 14-Oct-13 16:09:42

smile Probably

Scarynuff Mon 14-Oct-13 16:36:53

I don't think your dc would miss any education even if you kept them off school for 6 months

They would miss a lot. You could HE but if you taught them nothing and they rejoined the class after 6 months, they would be behind, no doubt about it.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 20:24:23


Behind what? A curriculum they don't use, teaching they don't experience. I think we will have to agree to differ on this one.


My point was not that the OP or anybody else having time away from school should justify the educational value, but a trip like this could easily boast educational value.

wickedfairy Mon 14-Oct-13 21:32:17

Thanks again for all the points of view! I suppose we did not fully realise possible implications of our request but I do genuinely think the trip will be educational. We enjoy the type of trip where we travel around and see lots of the natural habitat, beach life is not really our thing.

The main point of the trip is the wedding, but it is a one-off opportunity to see a country and it's indigenous fauna and people.

We will have to have a think about it all and weigh up all the pros and cons, some of which we had not previously considered.

Thanks again!

nennypops Tue 15-Oct-13 01:44:22

OP, it might also be worth pointing out to you that if the school did take the draconian decision to de-register your child and bring somebody else in instead, then you need to apply for the place again.

You don't have to apply for the place again. As was pointed out upthread, they can't de-register your children if they know where they are. If they tried to do so, you could take judicial review proceedings in your children's names to have the places reinstated, and you'd get legal aid for it. I think you need to quote the sections referred to previously and tell the head that you really don't want to fall out about this, but the law clearly states that he will not be legally entitled to take the children off the roll and you expect the school to comply with the law. If he doesn't agree, suggest that he takes legal advice and mention that you will take judicial review proceedings if you have to. If nothing else works, maybe the prospect of being on the wrong end of an order to pay court costs will make him think again.

DumDum32 Tue 15-Oct-13 02:16:25

OP - have u taken ur children out of school like this before?

is this trip likely to be the only time u can do it (I.e is it once In a lifetime kinda event)

u get 2 weeks for half term right & ur asking for an additional 2 weeks (meaning 10 days).

if u know ur children will not experience this kind of trip again then I would just take them but at the same try shortening the trip to meet school half way (whatever that might be I.e 3 weeks rather than four)

just taking the kids ignoring & paying the fine etc is just bad parenting - sorry.

like some others have said try writing back to the .HT & really explaining the children's function I.e meeting family for first time (if it is) & so on.

wish u luck - smile

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 08:20:12

Half term is only 1 week DumDum32 (except at private schools where some of the half terms are a fortnight).

Therefore OP wants 3 weeks off school spaced over one month.

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 08:37:22

At the very least take the holiday as unauthorised leave, accept and pay the fine if you get one but make sure you get the Head to at least agree not to give the places away whilst you are gone. If you cannot get that agreement then you'd be mad to do it. Yes you could embark on some big legal battle to challenge any decision you disagree with but the time that would take alone should be enough to make you think twice.

wickedfairy Tue 15-Oct-13 09:17:49

I have no intention of starting a big legal battle!! We have an appointment to speak to the head and gave already explained our reasons in 2 letters.

I would not go if there was any chance of losing school places. Will see what comes of our appointment

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 09:26:06

My post was responding to nennypops who said not to worry about losing your place because you can always go to judicial review and get it back again - as if this was something you could do really easily and wasn't an enormously big deal.

I am glad you have got the meeting with the Head and hopefully it will be resolved.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Tue 15-Oct-13 11:12:01

Even two days off can be an issue to be honest, if a child misses the start of a topic then they will not know the stuff they need to do the later work and will have to have 1:1 to do the work when they come back. Children will be ill but other absence can, and should be avoided in my opinion but it's your choice as they are your children! If the risk of losing a place is acceptable then go, if it's not don't. I doubt many heads would do it though.

RVPisnomore Tue 15-Oct-13 17:47:48

Sorry but you should've have booked the flights until you had approval, furthermore I think that a month away for a wedding is excessive.

DumDum32 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:30:20

oh blush thanks for that info tiggytape in that case I can understand y the school would object as 3 weeks is missing quite a bit of school but the again it's not like they are doing a degree smile BUT I would not want my kidsto loose a place. as I said write one more time to HT & then make ur mind up.

makemineaginandtonic Tue 15-Oct-13 19:53:27

There are new rules now which state that Headteachers are NOT permitted to authorise holiday leave during school time. I heard this at a governor's meeting last week.

lborolass Tue 15-Oct-13 20:14:29

Slightly off topic but makemineaginandtonic - if you're a governor and you only just found this out last week I'd be asking some serious questions about communication in your school and if you're a parent governor I'd be very worried. Most schools informed parents about the changes months ago.

MerylStrop Tue 15-Oct-13 20:34:04

It doesn't really matter whether the trip is "educational" or not. (sorry but pmsl at indigenous flora and fauna) It is the missing of school that matters. 16 days off is @8% of the school year, taking you to 92% even before possible days off for sickness. How could any head teacher possibly authorise that under current rules?

I think you have to shorten the trip and budget for a fine. At least you know you will keep your school places.

The other issue though is that people taking their kids out for weeks on end affects the whole school attendance averages that means other children are more likely to be refused the odd day for funerals etc. All a ridiculous mess caused by draconian school inspections and targets.

keepsmiling12345 Tue 15-Oct-13 21:29:14

And caused by parents taking the piss and suggesting they really really need to take their DC's out of school for 16 days for a wedding!

lljkk Wed 16-Oct-13 21:23:03

What the Fig do you all do to get over Jetlag in 36 hours? shock
Please give me your magic potion or formula?
I have only ever met one person in real life who can do it (my dad). We all think it's extremely strange.

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