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MP's to debate school holiday rules/fines on 24th February

(395 Posts)
mummymeister Fri 21-Feb-14 12:44:40

Please can I ask anyone who feels as strongly as I do to write to their MP and ask for the changes in the rules regarding school holidays to be reversed. there is a back bench debate at 4.30pm on the 24th February and it is really important to bring this issue to the fore. There have been so many stories on MN of people wanting a day for funeral, to attend a family event, to visit family abroad that I know if all of us affected or who feel strongly write in at least we will have tried.

VulvaBeaker Fri 21-Feb-14 13:46:32

They will not change it, because they are committed to tightening state control on education as far as they can.

State interference in the family will go one way, and not the other.

HadABadDay2014 Fri 21-Feb-14 13:55:02

I agree with the rules regarding fines for term time holidays.

If people don't like it, take your child out of school and HE.

Funerals are different and the head teacher can use his/her discretion.

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 13:57:16

Does this happen in private schools too?

Hissy Fri 21-Feb-14 14:00:32

Has anyone been fined for their child attending a funeral?

Family Events are NOT compulsory, neither are holidays.

I know it's a PITA, and I probably won't get a holiday away due to the prices, HOWEVER it won't kill me, or my son not to go away.

I know a couple of parents that have taken their children away, the absence has been marked as unauthorised (leave for holidays to see distant family) but they weren't fined by the LA.

What I DO think is that if we are expected to present our DC to school every single day unless ill, then the local authorities MUST end Inset Days and the use of schools as Polling Stations. It's about give and take.

mummymeister Fri 21-Feb-14 14:01:16

hadabadday. yes of course heads can use their discretion. but I believe the posters on here who have asked and been refused because heads are too worried about Ofsted. so if you think people should be able to take time off for a funeral without having to ask permission then you should be saying this to your mp too. the rules have gone too far and common sense has gone out of the window. no idea Jack. my kids are educated by the state and me not privately.

BerylStreep Fri 21-Feb-14 14:04:20

They don't have it in NI, and our grades have always historically been much higher than E&W grades.

I wonder what their evidence base is for the introduction of fines? Do they think it is going to increase standards? The danger is that it instils a culture of presenteeism rather than genuinely improving educational standards.

I wouldn't have thought it would make any difference children who are really disadvantaged by deprivation in any event.

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 14:06:23

Totally agree with that Hissy.

Its got to cut both ways, some schools locally are very quick to close for voting and equally for a bit of snow, on one notable occasion just the threat of snow!

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 21-Feb-14 14:08:22

I hope they increase the fine and shorten the length of time before it can be issued. £60 is not a deterrant.

Absence affects the class, the child and the Ofsted outcome.

If you dont like the rules of a school, you can home ed or go private.

Nobody needs a holiday and if they fancy one then go in the 13 weeks or 52 weekends that they have off.

georgesdino Fri 21-Feb-14 14:10:15

I havent met anyone thats been fined yet. We have had 2 weeks hols in term time so far this year.

SoonToBeSix Fri 21-Feb-14 14:10:40

Happy mum do you just use mumsnet purely to wind people up?

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 14:10:47

Incidentally the head at the school my children attend has maintained a sensible approach to this and I've heard of several requests for leave being authorised.

These were what I would consider reasonable for eg visiting family on the other side of the world (where one parent is from overseas). No, not compulsory or essential but I believe (and I guess she does)that its hugely beneficial for children to know their families and where they're from.

Just highlights the variation regionally.

NancyJones Fri 21-Feb-14 14:11:59

It's all a load of rubbish to increase attendance statistics and they chose thus because it's easier than tackling the issue of truancy with parental consent.

My kids are in independent school and no, it doesn't apply to us. If a child's attendance level dipped below an acceptable level though, I'm sure the ht would inform the EWO. However, it's quite routine at out school for kids to be off for a week in feb or march to go skiing. Parents take them outside of Sch hols as it's so much cheaper and the snow is better early march. Happens every year but school don't bat an eyelid as kids attendance otherwise good and it doesn't seem to affect attainment.

georgesdino Fri 21-Feb-14 14:13:26

Its like that at state schools here to nancy. They wont fine you for holidays as long as you arent going on lots of sick days.

Birdsgottafly Fri 21-Feb-14 14:15:14

"Has anyone been fined for their child attending a funeral?"

I was threatened with action, back in 2005.

My children had time off because my DH, their Father was dying.

I received a phone call of the morning of the funeral, asking me to justify why my child were not at school.

I wasn't polite.

My DD is in a SEN school, there have been times when they have had repairs being done and the work has gone over by weeks, this has meant that they have been off or put in front of a non educational film.

There have been times when a class has had no teacher cover or a Speech Therapist.

At Christmas I had to threaten the school with taking further action if Homework wasn't sent home for an exam my DD had on return.

The excuse for this and not doing revision was that the Christmas play was taking up time, it didn't involve my DD.

I could of taught her more at Home, in December last year.

If Legal Aid was increased so all parents can take Legal action against the LEA for non education times, then I would agree with the fines.

I have taught my DD more Maths than she has ever learned in School, but they seem to get away with under performing because they are SEN.

Only to an extent, though because the Head had been replaced and their are now improvements being made, for the children whose Parents complain enough.

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 14:15:24

HappyMum you sound very 'black and white'. Its not really about 'need'.

Its just about finding a good life balance and breadth of education and experience for children and their families.

You don't need to go far to find the many reasons why some families can't take holidays during school holiday time.

tiggytape Fri 21-Feb-14 14:16:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NancyJones Fri 21-Feb-14 14:18:38

I teach p/t and our ht is very frustrated by this. It's a deprived area and whilst not having a holiday won't kill them it really does, IMO, add to their deprivation.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Feb-14 14:18:52

Does this happen in private schools too?

They generally still require the parents to seek permission for absence but they don't have the power to fine parents. They use other measures to enforce attendance if necessary.

Has anyone been fined for their child attending a funeral?

Not if their attendance is otherwise good.

I wonder what their evidence base is for the introduction of fines?

There is plenty of evidence to indicate that absences damage a child's education. Teachers complain that absences damage the education of other children in the same class as they have to repeat material they have already covered. There was also evidence that many parents regarded it as their right to take their child out of school for 10 days to have a holiday although that was never the case.

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 14:18:58

I suspected that was the case nancy.

So for those who can afford it, holidays during school holiday times, pay the fines or privately educate.

Sounds like it really wont affect anyone who is comfortably off. Just those already struggling...

Birdsgottafly Fri 21-Feb-14 14:19:59

"If you dont like the rules of a school, you can home ed or go private. "

There should of been a proper debate and fair system for agreed absences, though.

The real problem parents get away with allowing their children to truant or miss lessons by not turning up until gone 9.30.

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 14:20:25

Ooh, glad to see this thread. I am another one of those Dirty Rotten Conniving Ingrate Foreigners who would like my kids to have some idea who our joint relatives are (and yes there is a long list of reasons why going in the summer would be a poor experience). Even I draw the line at going during GCSE years, which means our trip in a few months is the last such term-time visit I'll be making until 2026 (probably). Really not looking forward to summer only trips, though. sad sad sad Paying £7-8k for 2 boring weeks on the beach is not actually my idea of a holiday, but best I may be able to hope for, after May this yr.

The push now is to get MPs to attend so that the issues get raised more in the public eye. Find out who your MP is here to encourage them to attend.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 21-Feb-14 14:21:22

Thanks for hgihlighting this OP I didn't know it was happening.

JackNoneReacher Fri 21-Feb-14 14:22:14

prh47 you say

Teachers complain that absences damage the education of other children in the same class

No doubt some do, but my personal experience of primary school teachers is that they recognise the benefit of children going on holiday even if it is in term time.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Feb-14 14:23:27

You don't need to go far to find the many reasons why some families can't take holidays during school holiday time

The justification most commonly advanced for a term time holiday was reduced cost. Research showed that this justification was most commonly advanced by families best placed to afford holidays at peak times.

The regulations still allow time off to be authorised in exceptional circumstances. If holidays genuinely cannot be taken during school holidays the school can (and should) authorise it.

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