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School Abscense Fine - huge amount

(956 Posts)
PMDD Thu 16-Jan-14 08:08:13

If I am correct, if you take your child/ren out of school without prior agreement, there is an automatic fine of £60/day/child/parent?

So for us, a family with 3 children, a 2 week holiday in (say) June, would cost us £3600 - or double that if we don't pay within a certain amount of time!

Is it me to think that is totally unreasonable?!

That is a huge amount. The people who take their children out normally can't afford the hike in holiday prices, so how on earth would they afford the fine?

NumptyNameChange Sun 26-Jan-14 08:05:52

someone sent me this today. i can imagine many of my students past and present identifying very strongly with it.

i also post it so people who only work at or are involved with primary schools can get a culture feel for what secondary is like.

NumptyNameChange Sun 26-Jan-14 08:03:42

i understand what you're saying coldlight, and the need to defend what you do and it's a reflex to challenge generalisations (it's all bad) with more generalisations (it's all good). the reality is that it's inconsistent and impossible to generalise. so the people who appear on these threads with horror stories of schools are not weird anomalies that can be brushed over but a part of the real picture.

it's great that you work in a school that you feel is reasonable and helpful and tackling the important things. others have very different experiences.

from that can you see why for some the idea that a headteacher will be fair and reasonable and should be given absolute carte blanche to make such decisions unilaterally and without the right to appeal is shocking?

Coldlightofday Fri 24-Jan-14 21:11:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fcukkedup Fri 24-Jan-14 21:00:39

no we have been unable to access support, we have now moved areas, counties, LEAs, homes and schools in an attempt to find a school and an LEA that is more prepared to support us.

The move itself seems to have brought a measure of peace and at the moment we have no need for extra intervention, although from the contact I have had with the head, who is fully aware, I do not think we would struggle so much to get support.

When DC school refused here, head believed me and went to see DC and have a chat, in his old school I was treated like a hysterical parent making things up.

Interestingly, we have moved from a flagship, OFSTED outstanding school, to a small village school - smaller, less pupils and generally, so far, the DCs are flourishing in a way they haven't for a long time.

The problem is - need is need, and in our situation, it is need whether it is in a house where both parents have never worked and are trapped in a poverty cycle or a house where both parents are well educated professionals, abuse does not just strike the poor - sometimes, I think it would have been easier if I was less educated and I knew less about what "should have happened", if I had been more willing to accept our lot - I wouldn't have felt so betrayed.

Coldlightofday Fri 24-Jan-14 20:27:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NumptyNameChange Fri 24-Jan-14 20:19:50

did i say they shouldn't be in school? i didn't think i did. what i said i think was that i'd rather they targeted the parents of those genuinely, consistently causing massive disruption than nice easy target families who go on holiday in term time for a week one year. no 'two hands' there that i can see.

Whistleblower0 Fri 24-Jan-14 18:17:21

Haven't read much of this thread, , but the thing that strikes me, is if i was a teacher i'd be glad of a few days when i didn't have a full class to teach!
Having a break from the disruptive kids particularly must seem like a holiday for the teacher, and a better learning enviroment for the rest of the class.

teacherwith2kids Fri 24-Jan-14 17:58:38

It's difficult, we can't win, can we - on the one hand we hanve numpty complaining that children who she feels shouldn't be in school are being kept in school through teachers and management straining every sinew tio 'keep them on timetable and achieving an education'.

On the other hand we get others complaining that "people who take a chance of a budget holiday are an easier target for harassment and rip-off, than all those, whose children don't make it to school because of neglect and abuse at home" - in other words that not ENOUGH effort is put into getting those from difficult backgrounds into school.

fcukked - thanks for explaining more fully. To be fair, because of the nature of the schools I have taught in, I have very limited experience of safeguarding / welfare / EWO as it relates to 'middle class' families - simply because in those very 'non MN' schools, there were virtually no children from MC backgrounds, let alone any from such backgrounds with safeguarding / welfare needs!

fcukkedup Fri 24-Jan-14 09:21:08

That's harsh on teachers - my stepson was a nightmare he was suspended 7times in a year - we were all at a loss - he wanted to get suspended so he couldn't have cared less.

NumptyNameChange Fri 24-Jan-14 05:30:50

teacher - no it's not that i'm a shite teacher as you imply. the timetable i have does include a couple of groups that have several students in each of them that are known by every teacher in the school for the same behaviour. they are students who've been on the brink of (re: threatened with but it never happens) exclusion for years and are now very close to going on exam leave for their gcses.

there is as i said an internal exclusion option and yes these students would be frequent visitors there but it isn't a long term option for them. i do also teach some who spend most of the time off mainstream timetable but come in for certain lessons.

the suggestion that if there are disruptive students then the teacher must be rubbish is really awful. yes you get weak teachers in terms of classroom management, i wouldn't deny it. but yes you also get very disruptive students with major issues and yes they are still in mainstream school and teachers and management do everything they can to keep them on timetable and achieving an education.

fcukkedup Fri 24-Jan-14 01:38:48

Just to clarify - the therapist was from a charity, I found myself, and her support was limited.

She said she hears the same story I told her, over and over and over again and as she is a specialist in her field, I believe her.

fcukkedup Fri 24-Jan-14 01:36:48

Sadly teacher - my experiences and those who I have spoken to - have told me we are not the minority, the therapist called it middle class syndrome, they came to our house, saw a family that appeared to be ok and washed their hands of us despite the serious nature of what we were experiencing, and the therapist shouldn't have been seeing me - she only did because I turned up on the charities doorstep and told them if they didn't help me, I thought I would kill myself.

And believe me I tried everywhere to get help for my children, no-one was interested in helping us. This is a common story for people in our situation, no counselling (our GP no longer provides it it has to go through the MHT and its not a MH issue, its a reactional issue), no therapy, no nothing, being the secondary victims of serious crime leaves you in a black hole of no service provision, which was led by SS deciding there was no child in need in our house, despite a very serious court case and a child who was a primary victim, as we were meeting all their needs, it would take a therapist years to meet their needs, never mind a parent mid breakdown.

According to our LEA they don't have SEN, and they don't in the traditional sense - because to acknowledge that would have required resource on their part, far easier to pretend that we were fine.

That said, I know there are teachers and professionals who go above and beyond, but lets face it - in these days of cut back after cut back after cut back after cut back, this is needed more and more, and the ability to provide it becomes less, as less time is av.

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jan-14 22:03:07

I have, for example, seen my (for me) exceptionally well-behaved class go wild in the care of a particular supply teacher, and for some of the children be viewed as 'terrible' by one or two of the lunchtime staff. That is not necessarily about the people concerned - it can also be about 'perceived pecking order' or 'position power' - but it doers indicate that behaviour can be as much about the adult, and the situation, as it is about the children themselves.

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jan-14 21:46:49

(Also, if they genuinely are 'disturbed', is there not an EBD unit / special school local to you? Specialist SEN support? Learning support staff? Available training / counselling services?)

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jan-14 21:44:33

Numpty, just a query, really - do these teenagers behave exactly the same for every member of staff that they come across? While every school doers have some disruptive elements, there are also in every school those staff who can exercise control over almost every child. Is your experience with these children identical to that of every other teacher who takes that class?

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jan-14 21:38:20


I am really sorry about that, as I always am when someone comes onto MN with an example of how something just DIDN'T work the way that it is meant to.

I could - if confidentiality alliowed me to - give you any number of quiet, unpublicised, day to day counter-examples from my own experience, but that doesn't in any way take away from the fact that in your case it didn't work.

It is always the case that we hear a lot about the Baby ps and Climbies, and never about the hundreds or thousands of children who COULD have gone that way but didn't, due to someone somewhere picking up on an issue. It is dreadful that nobopdy helped you, in the same wa that it is appalling wehen any single abuse ior neglect case is not detected. But just because a small minority DO go undetected or inappropriately handled doesn't mean that 'nothing is done for any child ever'.

NumptyNameChange Thu 23-Jan-14 21:32:13

theoriginal - i'm not sure what more you'd have me personally do about those children than i already do. i have to deal with them every lesson, do all i can to make sure the lesson can progress as much as possible, go through the sanction system every lesson, fill out the paperwork, pass it on and start again the next lesson. they can be internally excluded for a day or two then straight back to the beginning again. they don't care about or turn up for afterschool detentions and catch up sessions despite their parents being written to and telephoned, they don't care about internal exclusions and they just turn up next time ready to do the same thing.

if i find it exhausting i can't imagine what it's like to be in their class and in every single lesson with them for five years or more.

love the, 'you should do something about it' comment. like it had never occurred to me to every try doing something about it and i actually just secretly enjoy taking verbal abuse, aggression and constant disruption from disturbed teenagers.

fcukkedup Thu 23-Jan-14 21:28:46

Really?? The EWO suggestion to get my traumatised 4 year old to school, was to get in the car and drive down the road, pretending I was leaving him home alone, bearing in mind his issues were all to do with what was to him a very real fear of abandonment and himself actually disappearing.

Despite the copious amounts of research into the impact of early childhood trauma on children, I found that SS, EWO, school, the LEA, our MP, and even the Childrens Commissioners Officer (who were absolutely lovely but there was an impending trial so they couldn't get involved), absolutely washed their hands of us, they couldn't tell us enough times, in enough different ways, how many ways in which no-one could help us and we were no-ones problem, despite the fact that we were in the middle of a situation that would have most people imaging multi agency working and SS coming out of our ears.

Coldlightofday Thu 23-Jan-14 21:21:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jan-14 21:16:22

I'm with Coldlight - I have seen the effort put in by school staff, specialist support, EWOs, outreach workers, police, courts, social workers etc etc to ensure that children do attend school, whatever the homes they come from.

Many of the above go far further than the 'tick boxes' everr suggest - I have seen school staff collect children, feed them, dress them and liase endlessly with other services to support them.

Until you have been on the 'delivering' side of such safeguarding and welfare work, most people would never suspect that it goes on, day after day, week after week, in pretty much every school up and down the country.

Coldlightofday Thu 23-Jan-14 20:52:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StairsInTheNight Thu 23-Jan-14 20:29:56

I did think that! Let's see what happens after we get back. I am happy to pay up if we do get fined, we took the possibility of that into account when booking.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 23-Jan-14 18:58:53

Stairs, they couldn't fine you until after you actually went though!

StairsInTheNight Thu 23-Jan-14 18:40:38

They have known since November, I guess they might still fine us, if so we will pay.

But hoping not. I think the gov like us all being scared and not knowing the exact position with fines. I think it should be made crystal clear and equal in all la's tbh!

Chocovore Thu 23-Jan-14 18:38:01

On our LEA website it states: If your child is absent from school for 10 sessions* in a ten-week period, without authorisation from their school, you will be sent a warning letter by the school. This includes sessions where your child has arrived after the school’s registration period without an acceptable reason. If there are no unauthorised absences in the next 15 school days, no further action will be taken. If there are further unauthorised absences there will be no further warning and a Penalty Notice will be issued by the Local Authority. *Each school day contains two sessions.

In other words, up one week is without a fine.

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