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to wonder why parents of children who take them out for a day or two in term time are fined because it's not considered acceptable to miss a day at school but...

(72 Posts)
Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 08:35:16

the parents of children who are home educated are allowed to do largely what they like?

I'm not anti home schooling, have considered it myself and have friends who do it but I just don't understand this disparity. My friends who HE say they really do have very little interference from anyone at all, their children follow whichever schedule they fancy Yet it's considered wrong for parents to take their children out of school for a day or two even though the trip they are taking will most likely have educational value....certainly emotional value ifyswim.

I say this as a teacher myself. I really don't see much of an issue with parents taking the odd day or few days each year.

bochead Thu 20-Feb-14 01:41:41

What are the rules on attendance in the independent sector? Somehow I can't see a Russian Oligarch getting fined for taking his kids out a couple of days before Xmas to attend some swanky society event in New York.

There are 3 choices for education, just as there has always been.

1/ State schools - where the potential for fines exists.
2/ Private schools - never heard of fines being imposed upon this set of parents.
3/ Home edders - who are well aware that if a random check flags that their child is NOT getting an education then they are in trouble.

I suspect that a generation of middle-class well educated parents who in rosier economic times would have chosen private education are now selecting to home educate. Increasingly parents of SN kids are turning to home ed too, in despair as they realise the rigid state system cannot provide their children with an adequate education. Ofsted totally fails this group of pupils. Both these groups are exactly the kind of supportive, highly motivated parents that school communities need to drive up standards.

(I'm also seeing more & more really good, inspiring teachers leave the state sector to join the expanding online school and private tutoring industries, or worse going abroad.)

Gove is doing a really good job of alienating precisely those parents and teachers that the state education system most needs to drive up standards. Not smart.

There may be a third group over the next decade to join the ranks as the numbers of "super primaries" of 1000+ pupi;s rises. I suspect many parents will balk at putting their 4 years olds into such massive schools, and will wait until their children are at KS2 before sending them to school.

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:13:46

*sorry posted to soon, fat fingers.

It does seem to be becoming increasingly popular. There are far more early years age home-ed activities than older groups in my area. At least half of parents in a baby group I run are thinking about or have already decided on home education. All my online HE groups are flooded with new members everyday, and the new change in absence policy's has given lots of people that push.

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:10:43

Oh an home education does seem to be

DaveMccave Thu 20-Feb-14 01:10:28

I home educate.

I hate it when people say 'You chose to send your child to school then you have no right to complain'. Bollocks. Schools are tax funded, you are a customer. I resent paying towards a system I think is wrong and that I don't use. I think parents I school age children should be able to vote on state education matters. You have no choice to pay tax, you should have a say in how the only education option offered is managed.

And you are wrong awfulmaureen you do not have to show a plan or accept visits or checks when you home educate.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 23:49:29

All good points, I do get the setting an example to children point certainly. AwfulMaureen, in my experience of friends who have HE the checks were infrequent and extremely superficial. In fact I think you pretty much can just say "I'm home educating" and get on with it! Maybe that's just the experience of the people I know though.

justmyview Wed 19-Feb-14 23:37:40

I think taking children out of school to go on holidays / excursions is more than just missing the classes. It's also giving your children the message that it's OK not to follow rules that that don't suit you & it's OK to disregard rules & procedures laid down in law. I think these are not good messages for children to learn from their parents

exhaustedmummymoo Wed 19-Feb-14 23:30:02

I think the real problem here is over inflated prices for going away anywhere during 'peak' periods ie school holidays. I also think there needs to be give an take. One I lived in he Isle of Man {don't know if still applies as moved a few years back} but there every child was allowed time off during term time as IOM parliament understood the expense of a) getting off island in first place b) and going on holiday. Can't remember if was 1 or 2 weeks a year entitlement.

Also handy tip for people .... If you register your child as a can take them out of school whenever you want.... No repercussions

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 23:12:27

Home educating parents are subjected to checks I believe...they need to show a plan of what and how they plan to teach. You can't just say "We're home educating" and then not do it! There are ways of checking and I think they're upheld.

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 23:08:18

Schools have enough to do without being parents too.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 22:57:51

Thanks shebird. I work in a small school where all the staff are caring and enjoy our jobs. We are very lucky. The vast majority of parents we work with don't take their kids out of school very often. The few that do we used to talk to and work with them. Now that's all changed. Our lovely HT has no choice but to refuse permission for virtually any time out. She hates that this is making parents lie, the kids feel awkward, talk about cracking a nut with a sledgehammer...a bit like some of the insanely controlling lunchbox policies! That's another thread though!

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 22:49:34

Thank you for restoring my faith in teachers supercosy I think you are one of the few teachers on MN to understand that sometime life happens outside the classroom and to realise the vast majority of us do actually care about our children's education smile

shebird Wed 19-Feb-14 22:42:36

There are so many contradictions and grey areas with term time holidays.
There are other one off or unforeseen events like the tragedy OP has mentioned where some discretion should be used instead of treating parents like criminals. Many people have family overseas and will have to miss important family events or parents just cannot have time off. I don't care about 'there are x many holiday days a year when your DC can see family' blah blah blah. Life is not like that, not everything runs according to the school calendar. You cannot dictate to a family member when to set their wedding date or have a funeral.

And can any teacher out there tell me if the fines have made a difference or are those who usually take holidays during term time continuing to do so?

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 12:10:10

I had a child in my class that took a 2 week holiday with her family before the law changed. The family had lost no fewer than 4 members due to a tragic accident that year. They wanted to bond and spend time together on a special holiday that they couldn't afford at any other time. Obviously this isn't characteristic of most family breaks but holidays are valuable to a family as are short breaks and if they can't afford them at another time then I believe they should be able to take them. The vast majority of parents don't do this all the time. One or two do and they do need to be made aware of the effects of this on their child's education but I still think it's up to them.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 11:54:00

They're not their!!!! grin

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 11:53:32

Odd socks, the vast majority of absences are nothing to do with education though are they? ALL of my friends who took their kids out of school last year did it to go on all inclusive sun seeking holidays.

Their choice and I'm not going to lose any sleep over it but let's not pretend their back packing across Vietnam enriching their education while they go!

pixiegumboot Wed 19-Feb-14 11:51:08

I've never signed a contract to enable my children to go to school, so I'm not sure where this idea about agreeing to a contract when your children starts school comes from.
They are still my children. I decide what is best for them. In the main, that is going to school. But sometimes, things ARE more important than school. Family celebrations, their health etc. Certainly at primary school. One day, one week is not going to turn children into non readers or let them fall behind in maths.

HoratiaDrelincourt Wed 19-Feb-14 11:44:47

The law change was years ago.

The state isn't preventing you from additionally educating your children, just restricting when you can do so. 190x 6 hours isn't a lot.

mummymeister Wed 19-Feb-14 11:17:17

my views on term time hols and the new rules are well known. the state does not educate my children. it shares in the education of my children. I do not hand them over its a joint venture. This idea that we just keep sucking it up whatever the rule changes are is just complete madness imo. when my kids first went to school there was time allowed off for people like me whose jobs do not allow us to take time in school hols. now there isn't. a change of the contract I wasn't consulted on and don't agree to. the rule change is driving a wedge between parents and teachers. if teachers said actually do you know what we are going to allow those with x attendance y time off and they all did it this would fall on its back side. Its a very scary world where people say " you have to do this because the govt tell you too and because they are right "

oddsocksmostly Wed 19-Feb-14 11:13:47

I absolutely agree with you Supercosy. All this policy does is encourage parents to lie about absences, in order to avoid getting an unauthorised absence, what a poor example that must give to kids.
The other thing that irritates me is that it is OK for schools to arrange for a child to take a day out for enrichment , which also means the individual misses lessons. It's not that I am against these, but it does seem rather hypocritical.

Supercosy Wed 19-Feb-14 10:38:18

Thanks all, really interesting responses. I don't agree that it's as simple as saying "you make the choice to send your child to state school so lump it" because for most of us making "the choice" to do that is no more a real choice than "choosing to use the NHS". It doesn't mean that you can't occasionally complain about it and you are not fined for not taking your medicine or smoking or drinking etc. Equally, tax payers (ie us) pay for state education so we have every right to have a veiw on it.

What I see is a very heavy handed rule aimed at a very few parents who regularly take kids out for weeks on end affecting parents who just want to take their kids out for the odd day (say one long weekend in a whole year).

I don't think tons of people will start HE because of this. I was more inclined to seriously think about it because of SATS pressure than the holiday rule but I've often thought it odd that when children are HE they are very rarely monitored and yet we are told that the odd day missed from school has dire consequences. It doesn't. I also see, as a teacher and a parent, parents feeling they have to lie rather than be honest about their kids having the odd day off. I think that's wrong and I don't think these are the parents we should be talking to.

bella411 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:14:26

That comment about it causing extra work was tongue and cheek. As i said. I feel if HT, government cared more holistic development than just academic teachers wouldn't have as much time wasted on unnecessary paper work and then maybe wouldn't mind setting some work.

lucyintheskywithdinos Wed 19-Feb-14 10:13:39

I'm a HE'er.

From my point of view, by choosing to send you child to school you basically agree to a contract that says (among other things) that you agree to get your child to school every day that it is open (barring sickness, family emergency). It is just part of what you agree to.

I do agree that it is bonkers, especially during the last few days of terms.

MrsOakenshield Wed 19-Feb-14 10:13:11

well, I wasn't educated by the state so they had no say in my education, but my parents made the decision that we would, come hell or high water, be in school during term time. Christ, even when I had a multiple leg fracture I was back in a week! And I would be unimpressed if my child's education was buggered around by teachers taking term-time holidays left and right.

A child who is HE has a parent who has given up work to dedicate their days to educating their DC, with no financial support from the state (so a double hit to family finances if you like). And they only have their DC to worry about.

I don't think you can really compare the two. I would hate to HE and I'd be crap at it, so I'm glad to hand that side over to the state, and therefore abide by their rules.

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 10:09:43

Children can still develop without taking expensive foreign holidays! I never went abroad as a child but thanks to an excellent education and a good job have travelled widely as an adult.

ChocolateWombat Wed 19-Feb-14 10:09:22

Anyway, I'm off now. There have been a few threads on this topic recently, some of who h are very long.
In my mind, the key issues are that,
Schooling is very valuable and we should look for our kids to be there as much as possible. There is a strong correlation between Ttendence and achievement.
Missed time does damage our childrens education and also has effects on other children and staff.
We are part of a wider group, and as such, individual needs for time off for non exceptional (see definitions above) cannot and should not be accommodated and authorised.

There just needs to a be a change in thinking, which I think will occur gradually. There has been a sense that the odd day off (non sickness)here and there is okay and the norm. We need to stop thinking like that and see it as not the norm. It may inconvenience us and our families occasionally, but achieves a bigger goal of educating our children.

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