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Quick question - Authorising absence for performing / competing children

(8 Posts)
teacherwith2kids Sat 03-May-14 12:34:03

Just a quick one - locally, almost all schools (including DD's luckily) authorise absence for pupils competing in a big local dance / music / drama festival. However, one does not, in particular it is not doing so for a chuild taking SATs the following week.

i know there is guidance / law around absence being allowed for 'performances' covered by licenses. What is the norm / is there any law around absence to perform / compete in competitive festivals?

(QWe are talking about a couple of days, for a child with no other absence for the same purpose this year and with a good attendance record otherwise)

HercShipwright Sat 03-May-14 17:48:51

I've never had any trouble getting my girls off for performing. But, that having said, DD2's school is being a little bit arsey about her having most of the day off on Wednesday for a music exam (the exam venue is 30 miles away, but it's their fault she's doing it there, they didn't replace her peri when she retired last year, so she now has lessons with Dd1's teacher (who is a peri at a local posh school and also at DD1's school, where DD2 will be going in September. Hence the distant exam centre- she was entered through Dd1's school)). One of the girls who does dancing/theatre with Dd2 has had difficulty in getting time off for performance stuff this year. Not sure why. She goes to a different school. It's v sad.

meditrina Sat 03-May-14 17:53:54

You still need HT's authorisation, even when there is a licence.

If this festival runs annually over peak exam time, and many participants are in SATS or GCSE years, then it's probably time someone had a quiet word with the organisers about the clash and get it moved earlier or later in future years.

teacherwith2kids Sat 03-May-14 17:58:19


It has run for many years over this time - classes for children in SATS / GCSE / A-level years are at specific times to avoid them (e.g. Year 6s classes within the school day are all before SATs start, older classes where people taking GCSEs may be participating are all at weekends or later in the evenings). This is the first year I have heard of anyone's absence not being authorised.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 03-May-14 20:09:51

It's not Alderley Edge is it? They won't move their dates possibly because lots of the local schools are private & don't do sats.

But unfortunately I'm fairly sure there is no right or legislation covering competing in festivals (although the performance regs also cover sport)

However it would be rare for an LEA to authorise time off around SATS for performing Year 6 children at SATS tune anyway. It's one of the few valid reasons for objection.

DeWee Sat 03-May-14 23:56:47

I think that if a school usually gives permission, but refuses because of SATS (or similar) then you'll be hard pushed to get anywhere objecting.

Ds was asked to audition for something at the BBC this summer, but the filming was over his SATS fortnight, so I had to say that the head wouldn't authorise it (she would any other time) and that's KS1.
And tbh I can understand it. Dd1 was performing in a week's show (3 evenings 1 matinee) the week before KS2 SATS and having seen her marks, she didn't do as well as expected, although it didn't actually take her down over any grade boundries, if she'd been dodgy then it would have. And dd1's very solid round that sort of thing, not a lot throws her, nor does she struggle with late nights.

If they refused to consider any application, then I think you could oppose that on the basis (as our county says) it is "very good experience for almost all children taking part."

dancestomyowntune Mon 05-May-14 21:57:58

I had a meeting with our head and EWO back in September after fighting this sort of thing myself. My dd1 has had several authorised absences over the years for exams, performance based things and even workshops.

Back last summer we had a letter home wrt the change in authorised holiday time. I questioned how this would affect dds performing and was informed that NO time off could be authorised unless for genuine illness/bereavement etc.

I took it higher (I was threatening to home ed, and withdraw my very talented child from school completely) and I e-mailed central government who replied that professional performances (or anything for which dd is licensed) could be granted as authorised, providing schoolwork was at an acceptable level. I was also told external exams would be granted.

The EWO did not like this one bit and when we met with her she continuosly disputed that dance/music exams were educational. She accepted that dd could have the of authorised for panto but tried to make me consider the impact on dds education. Dd1 (y6) has a selective place at secondary and is a secure level 5 across the board! After much argument it was also conceded that dance exams could be authorised (in fact on the absence request form
It says that external exams can be authorised).

However they will not allow time off for festivals, or workshops or auditions. I have accepted this, but would still take her out if I considered it an opportunity not to be missed. The EWO told me that at 10 unauthorised absences they would look to prosecute (that's the equivelant of 1 week).

Dds attendance (even with panto and exam days) is 98%. I refuse to get het up over it now.

saintlyjimjams Fri 09-May-14 12:07:32

We've never had any problems. DS2 was performing the week before SATS. I would have been pissed off had there been a problem as the SATS were of no benefit to him at all (he had passed the 11 plus already) whereas taking part in a professional production was - that production in particular.

I thought that now he's at secondary there might be more issues but since starting in September he's been given time off for filming (which I expected) and an audition (which I thought they might be not so keen on). Luckily other auditions/performances and recordings have taken place in school holidays & weekends (which the head has happily authorised) so his attendance is still very high.

Dances it sounds as if your school/LEA are being very difficult. DS2's latest audition was authorised and recorded as 'educated off site'. I hope your next school is more sensible - I was worried that ds2's new school would be obsessed with school work only as it's a grammar but the head has been very encouraging and told me they know school is only one aspect of education. I can only imagine them refusing if it was going to affect GCSE's or something. We wouldn't apply for anything then anyway and at that time he'll be in that age group when older teens who don't need licensing play down

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