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Taking children out of school to visit family.

(35 Posts)
northernshepherdess Sun 26-Jun-11 19:13:35

Hi,
Asking advice on someone elses behalf here.
A friend of ours applied to take his child out of school for one day for a holiday last year.
This was not only frowned upon but they have since been victims of bullying by staff at this particular school. (which already has a facebook campaign against the headmaster from long before that)
They attended a parents evening and were told when their 1 year old got a little bored and fidgetty, that his behaviour was like that as children from broken homes often have difficulty behaving themselves.
The school also delights in making the children, who do not bring their "pounds" for non school uniform contribution, change into PE kit. Thus, making it obvious they cannot afford it.
They also have an easter parade thing, which costs £3.50 per child which was initially held after school but due to poor uptake (rapport between school and parents mainly) they made it during the day. The children who do not bring the money are not allowed to take part and are pulled out of the celebrations to sit in a classroom and work.
As a double whammy, all parents who can claim school meals are told they must even if they do not have school meals as it brings extra funding...
Well the story really starts here, as due to the bullying nature of the school and particularly the headmaster, the parents involved did not ask his permission to take the children away from school for 5 days.
They were NOT on holiday, but were staying with their grandma for the first visit since the grandad died last year. Grandma paid for the flights and put them up and during their time there, they were mending some emotions but also the children were learning language, and adventuring with creatures etc.
As I said, this was not a beach/park holiday.
The school have decided that they are going to ask the LEA to fine the guardians, £50 per child per guardian which will be £300 for the family, plus £100 from the dad who lives elsewhere but who is listed as a guardian with the school.
I was wondering what the chances of appeal were, and asking for any general advice.
The children are 9, 6 and 6...(and the "baby")

ebbandflow Sun 26-Jun-11 19:16:38

The school sounds appalling, just wondering is it a private or state school? They should be reported for this.

TidyDancer Sun 26-Jun-11 19:18:35

I'm not doubting you, but if all that were true in the way it's been stated to you, I can't believe the school has not been investigated. There's no fucking way DS's school would get away with that. Are you sure you're not just hearing on biased side of the story?

TidyDancer Sun 26-Jun-11 19:19:11

hearing one, not on

OddBoots Sun 26-Jun-11 19:20:36

The fines for unauthorised absence are quite normal (around here anyway) but the rest of it sounds awful.

Has your friend complained to the governors or LEA about the non-uniform, Easter and school meals things?

soverylucky Sun 26-Jun-11 19:20:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CQrrrnee Sun 26-Jun-11 19:22:00

they won't be able to fine them for just 5 days absence
also they aren't allowed to ask for money to take part in activities - only voluntary contributions

MummyTigger Sun 26-Jun-11 19:25:21

I think the way they are getting around the asking-for-money-to-participate is that, rather than forcing the parents to pay, they are making a horrible example of the children whose parents won't. That way the child will feel isolated, singled out and upset sad

They sound horrendous - they should be investigated for misconduct at the VERY least.

bubblecoral Sun 26-Jun-11 19:26:31

The school doesn't sound great, but I think making a judgement about it based on one side of the story would be wrong. Especially if the one side of the story you have has come from parents that didn't even bother to ask for authorised absence when they wanted to take their children out of school.

The reason they wanted to take them is irrelevant, they should have asked. I'm someone that disagrees with people taking their children out of school for this sort of thing, but I understand that others think it's fine. But if you want to do it, you ask permission. If you don't get it and choose to take your children out anyway, then face the consequences. If that means the famil has to pay, then so be it.

The only person that shouldn't have to pay is the parent that had nothing to do with the descision, so if the LEA do make him pay, the family should stump up for his share too.

HidinginaHardHat Sun 26-Jun-11 19:29:14

How is this school allowed to operate in this manner? Why aren't the teachers standing up to the headteacher? More to the point why aren't the parents doing more?!

northernshepherdess Sun 26-Jun-11 19:41:19

Just to add, its not just a tale over coffee.
I know the family well and they aren't bolshy or confident, quite the opposite.
I think the way the school "make examples" of children who's parents cant afford to keep paying for novelty in school activities is completely in breach of the S.E.A.L teaching program.
I dont have the teachers opinion as its difficult to obtain that from someone who has to work along side the people the dont agree with, and who also happens to be the one in charge.

bubblecoral Sun 26-Jun-11 19:45:46

The schools bad practices with reagrds to non uniform days are nothing to do with the fact that a parent thought it was ok to take children out of school without bothering to ask permission from the school. They are completely different things. And if a parent chooses to do that, then they choose to accept the consequences.

They shouldn't be worrying about appealing a descision that may not even happen, they should be worrying about changing bad practice within their child's school by contating governors or the LEA themselves.

Abgirl Sun 26-Jun-11 19:49:25

They must complain to the governors, and if they don't get a satisfactory response go immediately to the LA. In the last year schools have had money to support children on FSM so they can participate in activites like anyone else and they should definitely not be made an example of like this.

TBH I would be looking to move schools.

AbigailS Sun 26-Jun-11 20:35:10

I'm rather worried about a school "has a facebook campaign against the headmaster". Surely parents realise this is not the way to get results. If it is that bad a formal complaint to governors / LA is the way forward not facebook.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Sun 26-Jun-11 21:22:12

I would make a call to ofsted as there are so many issues here ....

TheShowgirl Sun 26-Jun-11 21:27:07

Sod the governors or OFSTED - I'd be making my call to the local press! That's appalling, absolutely disgraceful.

snicker Sun 26-Jun-11 21:36:07

This is so wrong

Partly because the school is awful, partly because the parents think a facebook campaign is in any way effective or appropriate and partly because strange goings on at school involving PE kits, dinner money and Easter parades do not legitimise unauthorised absences. Its a stupid reason not to ask for permission and it makes no difference where the 'holiday' was, it is still a holiday from school.

TheCrackFox Sun 26-Jun-11 21:36:42

Just don't pay the fine.

In future just phone in sick.

CocktailQueen Sun 26-Jun-11 21:40:40

It's very bad to take kids out of school without asking for permission. Not surrpised the school was cross. The other issue is a whole different kettle of fish. IF what you say is true then they have been very bad. Not sure if I can believbe that of a school tho?

soverylucky Sun 26-Jun-11 21:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddy68 Sun 26-Jun-11 22:02:46

If a child was taken out of school without permission it is an unauthorised absence and the LA will fine the parents. It's the norm these days. It's also the norm that if children don't participate in certain activities then they wil not be 'part' of it and will be taught as normal in classrooms. If there are genuine cases of hardships then schools pay for these activities out f their own budget for these activities.
Also regarding the school meals, the school get the funding regardless of whether the child actually eats the meal so it strikes me that they are trying to ensure that the free school meals kids get at least 1 good meal aday. Doesn't strike me as a bad school tbh.

CQrrrnee Sun 26-Jun-11 22:05:42

this thread is weird. Did you actually tell the school where the children were at the time when they were away for those 5 days? Is that the only unauthorised absence they've had?

skybluepearl Sun 26-Jun-11 23:34:15

I don't think she should have taken the kids out of school without permission but i understand why she did it. Can she contact the ESW (educationsal social worker's deal with school attendance) and discuss the matter with them. They should have some sway with the head and could put her case forward. You will find their central office in your county if you google - phone and ask to speak to the ESW for your school.

skybluepearl Sun 26-Jun-11 23:34:49

I don't know anyone who has been fined by the way. I don't think it is the norm.

worraliberty Sun 26-Jun-11 23:48:03

The school sounds awful but they are well within their rights to fine for unauthorised absence.

The guardians would have known this due to the school's policy. The fact they were visiting family, does not mean they don't have to apply for permission to do so.

Fining is very much the norm now in most schools. If it isn't in your school, it very likely will be soon.

But it really is down to the individual Head Teacher and their board of Governors.

Ask the school about their appeal process...although it's likely you'll be told the appeal should have been before the absence from school...ie, to appeal the decision in the first place if it was a no.

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