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to wish parents would check when exams are before booking their term time holidays?

(49 Posts)
Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 16:37:43

I'm not really keen on term time holidays at any time, particularly at Secondary school in exam years. I do appreciate that people have all sorts of reasons for needing to take them though and generally try not to complain too much to the children as it's not them who have booked the holiday and I don't know (or want to know) all of the circumstances surrounding the holiday.

I HAVE complained at the young man in my year 11 class who informed me today that he won't be here for the modular GCSE exam he should be taking in November. We have worked really hard for 6 months studying for this exam, he is now at a standard that he stands a good chance of getting a grade C in this module (a MASSIVE amount of work has gone into that). If he does not sit this module in November he will have to sit it in June as well as the module the whole class will be taking then. He has had the date for every modular exam since last September.

So AIBU to think his parents should have checked with school (or on the timetable we kindly provided for them twice last year) that their term time holiday wasn't going to clash with GCSE exams? It is his grade that is going to suffer but he and his parents will expect me to give up my free time to help him revise for this module in June.

WorraLiberty Fri 28-Sep-12 16:40:17

Who did you complain to?

YANBU to complain to the parents but YABU to complain to the pupil himself.

Blu Fri 28-Sep-12 16:40:26


What an idiotic thing to do. His parents have no bloody regard for his future. Such a shame for him. And angry for your extra work, for surely you can't just let nature take it's course because if he doesn't revise in June his results will reflect on you, too.

Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 16:46:48

I complained at the pupil himself, then the head of year, then the attendance officer, then the attendance officer has phoned the parents to complain to them and I believe that they will be charged for the exam entry the school have already paid for. Basically I complained to everyone who would listen blush. I complained to him because really at the age of 15 he should have been able to say to his parents "I have an exam that week, I can't miss it, it's important" I would have been livid if my parents had tried to book a holiday during an exam time and can't understand his attitude of "fantastic! I'm going to miss one of my GCSE exams"

No I won't just let nature take it's course, I will have to put on extra revision sessions either after school or at lunchtime, but I have serious doubts about whether I will be able to get him back up to this standard in 1-2 hours per week for the few weeks leading up to the exam when we've worked solidly in 3 lessons a week for roughly 6 months.

3nationsfamily Fri 28-Sep-12 16:55:21

I would talk to him and see if he would be willing to forego the holiday and stay with a friend for the week instead in the interests of his future- maybe with some assistance from the guidance teacher or equivalent so he understands the risk he is taking with his future. After all at 15 he should be mature enough to make those kind of decisions for himself.

GreenShadow Fri 28-Sep-12 16:58:05


Why on earth is a yr 11 pupil having ANY time out of school in such an important year ! Crazy.
Someone needs a chat with his parents to enforce the importance of being in school, not just during modules (which I can appreciate parents don't always think of as being in November), but all year.

HeadfirstForHalos Fri 28-Sep-12 17:12:00

If my dad had booked a holiday that clashed with my G.C.S.E's I would have livid too! It looks like his parents lax attitude has rubbed off on him unfortunately. If they "had" to book a term time holiday surely they should have gone the week after the module? YANBU and I would have complained very loudly too.

CalmingMiranda Fri 28-Sep-12 19:24:24

I think it's reasonable to talk to a 15 year old about this. It's their life, and I think we can all agree that most 15 year olds are able to be very vocal to their parents about what they do and don't want to happen!

But ultimately it is down to the parents and it's sad to see them letting him down, and giving you so much extra work.

frazmum Fri 28-Sep-12 19:28:30

If I did not take my DCs out of school during term time for holidays in the years they have exams then for 11 years in our family that's it. And as we have elderly grandparents on the other side of the world who can't travel we are a bit stuck. Obviously we work around major exams, but with school there is always something. The oldest has just finished A levels and we have never at the beginning of a school year been given all the exam and test timetables. And don't say go in August, cause they have to be at school to pick up results. While exams are important so is life and family. Rant over.

PinkFairyDust Fri 28-Sep-12 19:46:21

Frazmum - you have Half of July and August for holidays ( you don't have to go and pick them up yourself, the can post them to you
Also October half term, Christmas and new year, February half term, Easter holiday and may half term!

Plenty of time to take a holiday when Children are not at school

frazmum Fri 28-Sep-12 19:49:41

Where we live the kids do have to go in because if the results aren't what they're expecting they have to sort out there and then getting into 6th form and uni (we've had to do that for 6th form). Not something you can do by phone when the teachers are only in for a few hours that day. Also where we visit takes 4 days travelling.

frazmum Fri 28-Sep-12 19:52:17

However I would like to tell the OP that I don't think she should be giving up her free time to help the student revise. If the parents can afford a holiday then they can afford a tutor.

Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 19:52:45

Of course life and family are important frazmum. I would never, ever disagree with that. But you yourself have said that you work around major exams, I would say that a module for GCSE Maths is a major exam. It's honestly not that difficult to check with school whether there are exams at the time you are planning your holiday. All you have to do is ring the school and say "We are planning our holiday and would obviously like to avoid exams, can we have a list of all the external exams my dcs will be sitting this/next school year". And do they have to be at school to collect results? I thought most schools offered email results now, ours certainly does.

For me, the best time to go would be after the exams have finished as i've never known GCSEs and A levels to go on later than the end of June, so the whole of July is available as well as the first half of August (or Christmas, or Easter, or half terms), even if that means taking younger dcs out of school for the holiday.

Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 19:54:59

They won't pay for a tutor though. They will just let him fail. They just don't prioritise education. So I will probably give up my time to make sure he gets the grade he should do, especially since i am judged on his grade as much as he is.

frazmum Fri 28-Sep-12 20:00:18

Unfortunately the schools in our area do expect the children to turn up to collect results and sort out problems, sadly they don't offer email results. And I tried the 'please tell me when exams are' scenario - the art GCSE was scheduled with two weeks notice. Wish our school was as organised as yours.

Raspberryandorangesorbet Fri 28-Sep-12 20:03:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 20:09:57

That's true Raspberry. I had a girl 2 years ago who told me I was being very unreasonable when I told her she couldn't just take her Maths GCSE the next week. Her parents complained about me to the head who was somewhat amused at having to explain to parents of 3 older dc that no we didn't have the option of sitting a GCSE exam on a different date than the one allocated nationally by the exam board. I had warned the head first so she wasn't surprised at the conversation, just amused by it.

fraz that is shockingly bad organisation, I would definitely be complaining to the school if they could not tell me exact dates for all GCSE and A Level exams. The exam boards issue timetables 2 years in advance (although for quite a while they are officially provisional and subject to changes).

ohtowinthelottery Fri 28-Sep-12 20:20:37

Gold I don't agree that a 15 year old boy would say to his parents "I have an exam on xxx date so can't go on holiday then". Ass the 'owner' of a 15 yo DS I can honestly say he would not have a clue when his exams are until a couple of weeks before!!!

I do agree however that the situation is disgraceful and is irresponsible of the parents concerned. If they have done this though I doubt they will give a damn about your ranting of his GCSE results!

Just out of interest gold, when do schools know the exact dates for the May/June GCSE exams. My DS is in Yr 11 and we want to have a holiday next year before the main school holidays. I obviously want to avoid his GCSE exams but don't know when the last exam date is likely to be. I have a disabled DD (who can't travel with us) and have to book her respite dates in November this year for the whole of next yr. IIRC DS didn't get this yrs exams dates for his GCSE modules until just before Easter.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 28-Sep-12 20:30:20


Parents like this disgust me. They are so selfish it is unbelievable. There isnt a reason that makes it acceptable, this is the child's GCSEs FFS. It is hugely unfair that you are judged on his grade, there should be some kind of system that would enable you say that your student was away so his grade isn't counted. I would be very tempted to not do any extra work in your position. It sounds like you have an understanding head.

schoolchauffeur Fri 28-Sep-12 20:40:56

If you know which exam board your school uses you can look up all the exam times on their websites for all sittings.

thixotropic Fri 28-Sep-12 20:51:32

Annoyingly though, universities don't seem to want to give out exam dates

. I was a mature student, working full time, part time degree, childcare to organise and several compulsory employer's training days per year to attend.

Could the uni give me the exam dates?

Could they Fuck. Just kept giving me a 3 week window, up to about a month before the exams.

Not really good enough for the childminder, training provider or my boss.


ohtowinthelottery Fri 28-Sep-12 21:23:50

schoolchauffeur that would be easy if schools just used one exam board. My Ds is sitting exams from 4 different exam boards - so you have to search out each board and then search for the subjects your DC is taking with that board. There are so many 'bits' due to the modular system it is quite complicated for a parent to work their way through it!

Goldidi Fri 28-Sep-12 21:32:10

ohtowin The exam boards all have their timetables available on their websites now. this is AQA, this is edexcel.

I don't think it is unreasonable for 15 year olds to know when their exams are though, he has known for months that he has a module in November, he has it written in large letters on the front cover of his exercise book, I reminded the class every few weeks before the summer holidays, I reminded them at the start of this term, he has chosen today to tell me he is going on holiday.

Raspberryandorangesorbet Fri 28-Sep-12 21:38:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MushroomSoup Fri 28-Sep-12 23:20:56

As a primary head I think you are BVU to suggest your pupils should take holidays in July and pull siblings out of primary school!
Research shows that 10 school days missed each year at primary level is the equivalent of dropping a whole GCSE grade. So maybe your pupil has struggled to reach his C grade because he's been dragged out if school each July so his elder sibling doesn't miss very important schooling?!

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