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To think the school was wrong to refuse to authorise absence

(94 Posts)
twofalls Fri 15-Nov-13 22:42:55

Next week will be the first anniversary of my friends death. His wife has applied for her son to have the day off so they can travel with their extended family to a place if importance to them. The head has sent back a standard letter saying they can only authorise absence in exceptional circumstances.And her request has been refused. AIBU in thinking the head was wrong? Not to mention incredibly insensitive? Surely this is pretty exceptional??

ErrorError Fri 15-Nov-13 23:43:57

Very insensitive yes. Is the Head worried that the child will be absent every year on this day? I'm totally not justifying their judgement or agreeing with the Head, just wondering if they're thinking this would set a precedent with other parents, for all kinds of absences on anniversaries of anything. First anniversaries of a death are often the hardest, and I doubt the poor lad would have been able to concentrate much in school anyway. I think a much more tact and discretion could have been used here. I suggest the Mum write to the Chair of Governors.

Canthisonebeused Sat 16-Nov-13 00:09:26

I would take him out in these circumstances and my experience would suggest no magistrate in thier right mind would actually back a fine of this sort. The LA probably wouldn't take it Bown FPN even if head requested it.

happymummythesedays Sat 16-Nov-13 00:13:48

our school still allows 2 weeks holiday time this is appalling

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 16-Nov-13 00:19:19

Ours allows no term-time leave but TBH , I wouldn't be asking.
I'd send a letter in saying my child would not be in on that day and the reason why.

curlew Sat 16-Nov-13 00:32:21

I'm sorry, I just don't believe a school didm''t allow a child a day off to go to his baby brother's funeral.

There is an issue here which needs to be discussed. Hyperbole doesn't help.

moominleigh94 Sat 16-Nov-13 00:50:05

curlew I'm guessing some schools either have a blanket ban on absences, or don't think it's the place for a child at funerals? My own brother's funeral was when I was at nursery which was a very understanding place - they offered to have me during the day but completely supported my parents' decision to let me be at the funeral - whereas the primary school I went to afterwards; a very backwards thinking ultra-Christian school (although apparently non-religious hmm ) would have marked it as an unauthorised absence because they were just very close-minded like that.

It isn't necessarily hyperbole - I imagine if the child was going to go to the funeral, he'd go regardless of their opinion, but there are some schools which will refuse to authorise any absence - often they use the excuse that if they allow this one, what about the next one, and ridiculous things like that - with little thought for the consequences, especially if they're automated letters to every request for authorised absence.

The school was absolutely wrong to refuse to authorise absence. Whether they planned to go somewhere or not, to actually expect a young child to attend school on the first anniversary of a close relative's death is BU anyway.

Sorry to hear about your friend OP thanks

TidyDancer Sat 16-Nov-13 00:52:21

Fucking hell. This is exactly what exceptional circumstances are.


LuciusMalfoyisSmokingHot Sat 16-Nov-13 01:48:29

Just to clarify, my DN was allowed to be off, although he wasnt at the funeral, just using it as a point, that for those kind of circumstances, it'd be extremely cruel, to not allow a day off.

NatashaBee Sat 16-Nov-13 03:52:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

steff13 Sat 16-Nov-13 04:02:53

The school is being terribly unreasonable. I was an adult when I lost my parents, but a young one (21 Dad, 24 Mom), and the first anniversary was very hard for me. It may not be for some people, but having never experienced it before, who knows how the poor kid might react?

To be honest I'm still dismayed at the notion that the school has the authority to give a parent permission for his or her child to miss school.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 07:20:07

My mil died a year ago (November is not a good month for us) and dd1 was incredibly close to her. She found the first anniversary last week really hard and our school said they would call us if she wasn't coping and we could come and get her. That is the support you want from a school.

I k ow she could just call on the morning and say he was ill/too upset but she wanted to go through the right channels. The more I think about it the more I actually can't believe the head didn't authorise. It's crazy a school has this much power over our lives.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sat 16-Nov-13 07:31:42

I'm sorry that your friend is having to 'battle' over this - it is insensitive & nasty sad

Other than on PlanetTwat of course it's 'exceptional'.

I wouldn't have 'asked' though, I would have 'informed'.

HT is a jumped up twat.

Rosa Sat 16-Nov-13 07:36:12

Would be interested to hear what the HT thinks are exceptional circumstances then ???? maybe a trip to Alton towers or similar???? Honestly how pathetic ....

saintlyjimjams Sat 16-Nov-13 07:49:41

Talk to the head. They may be very sympathetic but simply unable to authorise such absences since September (& yes I know the law does still allow heads to use discretion but in reality that has been removed for many heads either because of specific ofsted requirements or LA pressures). The head may be happy for the day off up be taken - just can't authorise it. It's worth having a talk about it.

ivykaty44 Sat 16-Nov-13 07:54:03

this whole system will encourage lies, which is also wrong but it will become justified with the unpalatable unsympathetic rules.

rwepi Sat 16-Nov-13 08:10:37

I imagine the school has a blanket policy of not allowing any absences regardless of the reason. That digest mean they expect the child ti be in school on the day though-simply that it will be an unauthorized absence which really isn't the end of the world. Very poor to have responded by blanket letter though.

OTOH, I do wonder how important the date is to the child. I imagine its been very tough time but I'm not sure a child would find the anniversary harder than any other day unless he's told that he should iyswim

takeitonthegin Sat 16-Nov-13 08:14:51

Was it the child's father who died? I read it that it was the mothers child. Although maybe I have misinterpreted it, maybe antidote did the same.

Regardless of whether it was the child's father or step father, I feel the school are unreasonable for not authorising leave for that day.

I could understand them not allowing a week or something.

Sending a standard letter is harsh, given the circumstances.

MadeOfStarDust Sat 16-Nov-13 08:37:47

I think it is a bit insensitive to send a standard letter, but do wonder about how "exceptional" the circumstances are - a year on from a parent dying - it will only be remarked upon by a child if they are reminded....

around the anniversary of my dad's death I used to get "oh you must be feeling sad today" - ermmmm no, not til you reminded me... I thought of him all the time on and off, the sadness came not because of a date, but because he was gone... but I guess my own experience was back in the "olden-days" of pick yourself up and get on with life, we went to the cemetery after school on or around the anniversary but TBH only because mum wanted us to...

how about the dad's birthday - would they want a day off authorised for that too, their mum and dad's wedding anniversary, the child's own birthday as they will feel sad without dad there.. and then there is the next year and the next... how long would it be wrong for the school to not authorise?

It is always good to remember a parent who has died, but expecting the school to automatically authorise time off a year on from a traumatic event seems odd.....

if it is important you would just go anyhow and not care whether it is authorised or not...

asandwichshort Sat 16-Nov-13 08:51:51

At present there are no standardised "exceptional circumstances" and many heads are using their own judgement for now. That said, I know my headteacher would definitely have authorised this absence with an appropriate sympathetic correspondence.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 10:12:28

In answer to "how important is i reallyt" and "would they know anyway"....

The child is 8. He certainly is aware of the date of his fathers death. my dd (7) was aware of the first anniversary of her grandmas death last week and not because we mentioned it but because it was important to her. She knew what she wanted to do that day.

They plan on meeting extended family somewhere important to them, laying flowers, and doing other things in memory of a much loved son, brother, husband and father. My friend wants to spend the day with those closest to her dh (the child's father) and her ds wants to spend the day with his grandparents and uncles.

Just to give some if you asking some context.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 11:05:08

must as I have sympathy and much empathy for your friend (I lost a close relative whilst I was in school) I suspect that the school are worried that this will become an annual thing.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Nov-13 11:05:57

much* not must

mummymeister Sat 16-Nov-13 11:20:04

the second thread on here about people wanting a day off for exceptional circumstances and it not being granted because of the ridiculous new regulations bought in by Mr Gove. there is a petition about this - to give back the discretion to the head teachers that they once had. some LEA's/heads are taking a tough line, others are not. My advice would be take the time off, take the fine and go to your MP, local Councillor and Mr Gove and ask him if this decision was reasonable. The H/T is doing this because she has been told to by her LEA that this is how the rules must be interpreted. what a sad society we are that we cant have sympathy for a bereaved child, we cant trust parents to make the best decisions for their children and we cant trust head teachers to use their experience, intelligence and discretion when granting leave.

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 12:00:34

Mummymiester you put it so beautifully. I feel the dane way. Where is the petition?

twofalls Sat 16-Nov-13 12:19:41

Madeofstardust, as a year has passed, all of those things have happened without the need for a day off school. They have already had her ds's birthday, her ds2's 1st birthday, her 40th her dh's 40th their anniversary. All of those have passed and been marked in their own way. This is the first time she has asked for anything from the school in relation to her DS. To say "where does it stop"is quite illogical.

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