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To be scared about unauthorised absence?

(319 Posts)
lakeful Thu 24-Mar-16 21:10:42

We currently live abroad but will be moving back to England in the next year, have two DCs who are in primary school. I sometimes have to do foreign travel with my job my DH (who is self-employed and very flexible) and DCs have occasionally come with me. I'm talking a period of maybe 4 weeks in total over the past two years. Where we live now, schools do encourage attendance but things are more relaxed than in England and there has not been any problem with me taking them out of school. I have been reading up on the English system and am a bit alarmed! Would I really have to get a Head Teacher's permission to take my own children abroad? Would I really be fined if I did this without their "authorisation"? And is it possible that they authorise children to miss school for reasons such as mine?

HelsBels3000 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:12:36

Unlikely that it will be authorised - our standard response is 'no'
You are welcome to take them though, but run the risk of being fined.

Fedup21 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:20:11

You would either have to get authorisation (most unlikely) or go without asking and it'll be an unauthorised absence. I think the fine is £60 per adult per child per week.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:20:15

I can't believe you're surprised and alarmed?

If you choose to send your children to school, they'll need to attend regularly and on time.

Otherwise they'll miss out on weeks of learning and it can be hard to catch up.

minionsrule Thu 24-Mar-16 21:20:27

Yes sorry you will be fined as a minimum, depends on what their overall attendence rate is over the year whether it will be taken any further. You might want to see if you can make alternative arrangements at least for some of these trips

OneLove10 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:21:51

Are you asking if it's ok to occasionally take the kids out of school to accompany you on trips? Surely you must know that's not ok??

VoldysGoneMouldy Thu 24-Mar-16 21:23:31

Most heads will normally authorize individual days, but I think if it weeks at time, it's unlikely. I don't know exactly what the state of play is when it's unavoidable due to work, but imagine you will be encouraged to work out your times away between the two of you, like others would with shift work, or find alternate childcare to make sure school could still be attended. Well aware that is an overly simplistic view, but it's how it works.

Sirzy Thu 24-Mar-16 21:23:42

Surely the 13 weeks of school holiday is enough to fit your trips into?

Vilio Thu 24-Mar-16 21:25:36

That sounds very big brother.
When my ds started school this year, the rules said if he's absent for more than 20 days, they alert someone (not sure who, can'remember). We are in Ireland.
Why is UK so strict on this? And fines per day? Was there lots of issues before with absences or is it a money making thing?

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:26:15

Voldys it's not unavoidable for the OP's kids and DH.

lakeful Thu 24-Mar-16 21:29:08

Thanks for your responses. I actually think that it is ok to occasionally take children out of school for the purpose of travelling abroad and experiencing places, cultures and situations they otherwise would not experience and in the company of their parents. I have a broader definition of education than just what is covered in the school curriculum and firmly believe that we can complete a small amount of school work with them in our own time to cover anything they have missed. I'm not talking about taking them for an all inclusive week in Mallorca. My job takes me to some far flung developing countries where I am involved in projects in the charity/ voluntary sector and I feel this gives them a valuable perspective on life to visit these places. It is genuinely hard for me to grasp the concept of being fined for choosing to travel somewhere with my own children. This was not the case when I was a child and its not the case where we are living now. Its not as if I would let them stay home for the day watching cartoons because I can't be bothered taking them to school, I see that as a very different situation.

VoldysGoneMouldy Thu 24-Mar-16 21:31:55

Fair point, Worra.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:33:08

That's the same tired argument that a lot of Headteachers are tired of hearing though.

The majority, I find agree with you on the learning outside of the classroom. However, they have 13 weeks holiday in which to do that.

The rest of the time is for learning inside of the classroom.

Every time you take your kids out of school, someone else has to work harder to help them catch up on what they've missed.

While they're doing that, other kids will doubtless be missing out on learning with that teacher or TA.

DangerMouth Thu 24-Mar-16 21:34:43

Vilio imo the British are obsessed with institutionalised education so most people dont think it's utter fucking madness to receive fines for taking their dc out of school.

OneLove10 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:34:58

All well and good that you believe that, but you are choosing to live and educate your children under a system that doesn't really tolerate that. You will be fined, and that's just how it works.

lakeful Thu 24-Mar-16 21:38:08

I take your point worra and I'm not saying it has no impact on learning in the classroom (though it doesn't seem to have made much difference to my DCs so far). I guess its partly the Big Brother aspect of it that Villio mentions that I'm struggling to get my head around. They're my children and I can't believe I would have to ask someone's permission to take them abroad and then pay a fine if I did! I don't get why people are so accepting of this (not trying to be argumentative here, I'm genuinely baffled). I know there are 13 weeks holidays and I do try to limit trips to those times but its not always possible.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:39:33

I'm laughing at the OP talking about taking 'her own' DC out of school, and DangerMouth putting the word their in italics grin

Yes, you make decisions on what to do with your own children and where to take them etc.

But you also make the decision to either send them to school, knowing the school's rules on absence, or you make the decision to home educate them.

They may be your kids, but it's disruptive to other kids if people take their kids out of school for a couple of weeks, whenever the mood takes them.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:42:36

They're my children and I can't believe I would have to ask someone's permission to take them abroad and then pay a fine if I did!

You absolutely don't.

You can home educate them and then you can take them away when you like.

Can you believe that as an adult, you have to seek permission from an employer to take yourself abroad, or risk going anyway and being sacked?

Why is it different when you choose to send your child to a school?

lakeful Thu 24-Mar-16 21:44:04

I don't agree that its disruptive for the other children in my DCs class if they are absent for a week. If anything, they get to be in a smaller sized class and It is not guaranteed that they will need help to catch up. I'm perfectly able to do a bit of school work with the in the week they are off. They're not doing a medical degree or anything its a bit of maths and english. And my main point is that they are my children and that really the decision should be mine. I'm really not keen on signing up to this system but home education isn't an option for us, financially apart from anything else.

OneLove10 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:45:08

You are really going to be a delight at the school.

WombatStewForTea Thu 24-Mar-16 21:45:37

I don't understand why your self employed dh 'has' to come with you. Surely you mean your children and dh choose to come with you and your dh is quite capable of staying at home and looking after them. Basically a free holiday that you're dressing up as a cultural experience hmm

As I teacher I think it is completely irresponsible to take children out of school for that length of time and that reason.

Cadenza1818 Thu 24-Mar-16 21:46:32

I think it depends where you are. Our head is old school and doesn't enforce fines etc. You could also enrol them on a flexible basis, so not home school them but basically say That these trips are part of their education. There's a lot more flexibility than advertised or at least there is in my neck of the woods.

thisagain Thu 24-Mar-16 21:47:11

My understanding is that the fine (if issued) is £60 per parent per period of absence, not per week - so for a period of 2 weeks, the fine would be £240 (2 children x £60 x 2). A lot of schools seem to issue fines if attendance falls below 95%.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 21:47:47

I wasn't talking about the other children in your DCs class. I thought you were asking about Britain? confused

And my main point is, is that they may be your children but they're no more important than any other child in the class.

The decision is yours to send them to a school and get them a free education.

Therefore you'll need to get used to the rules that are in place for the fairness towards everyone.

DangerMouth Thu 24-Mar-16 21:48:14

Oh yes Worra it's an absolute pisser using italics. Hope you liked my usage there too.

The UK is such a nanny state. Most people can't even see the government is saying we can parent your dc better than you so this is how it's going to be.

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