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DD just started school - Dad already planning to take her on holiday inside term

(21 Posts)
DutchGirly Tue 20-Sep-11 07:52:13


My DD (4 years old) just started school. She lives with me and I have joint parental responsibility with her dad.

Her dad 'told' me he is going to take her out of school next week for a religious celebration, an event that can easily be celebrated after school time (he is not that religious) He also told me he is planning to take her to his home country for a wedding for 3 weeks again during term time. Apparently it is imperative she attends the wedding as his family 'needs' her there, although they did not bother to check when she would be in school when setting the wedding date. He warned me not to be difficult (not that I was impressed, as I know he is a coward)

I am not happy about this, I have told him she has just started school and I just want her to settle in properly, so I won't give consent. I feel that I have to nip this taking her out of school at his whim. I have spoken to her teacher and explained the situation. She says the school can't prevent him taking her out of school, best thing to do would be to contact the head teacher to discuss. I value her education, I went to great lengths to get her into this school, I am worried I will have to attend court for 'unauthorised attendance' whilst I can't prevent this from happening?

Any advice what to do? He is a very manipulative person.

GypsyMoth Tue 20-Sep-11 08:13:58

Does he know the legalities of unauthorised absence?

Present him with the facts and tell him he needs to speak to head teacher.

rubin Tue 20-Sep-11 08:38:20

Do you have a contact or residency order in place? Mine states very clearly that my Ex cannot interfere with our DSs schooling. IE In the sense, that of course he has a say in their schooling but cannot disrupt their time at school by making any arrangements that would bring them out of school during school term.

MrGin Tue 20-Sep-11 08:43:12

Pretty sure he can't take your child out of the country without your written consent. Or rather if he does you can have him arrested. Probably not a good idea, but good to know.

I'm an nrp and I wouldn't take my dd out of school for a holiday.

littleducks Tue 20-Sep-11 09:58:41

I think that you should allow him to take dd out for the religious celebration, providing that this will not be a regular occurance (our school says maximum if 3 days out in an academic a year which i think is seen to be enough for everyone except for orthodox jews)

The 3 weeks out for a wedding is different, but having proved yourself to be reasonable about the religious celebration, you will be able to argue this more sucessfully.

Could you explain that she could possibly loose her school place if she has such a long absence unauthorised. Perhaps if things are tense between you two, it would be better for him to go in and discuss this with the head teacher himself?

DutchGirly Tue 20-Sep-11 10:06:03

X thinks all rules apply to everybody, himself excluded. He does not know the legalities of unauthorised absense, he just makes it up as he goes.

I value her education and I do not want her to take it for granted. I would be ok-ish with him taking her for a short holiday the last week of term as in that time period the kids only play games, watch DVD's at school so she will not miss out educationally.

We worked out contact between ourselves as I wanted to avoid the solicitors although X is very emotionally abusive so there is no contact/residency order in place.

X has been playing up a lot more lately, I have a new partner and I think there is jealousy involved. My DD adores new partner and loves playing football with him. X has complained about my DP playing too rough with DD by email.

I responded that I had no concerns whatsoever and if he did have valid concerns to take it up with social services, he responded 'that he would keep that in mind'.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 20-Sep-11 10:17:08

Firstly re the religious thing. We have to authorise religious absence so there are no worries there. As far as the 3 weeks go, if she's under 5 and therefore not compulsory again it's unenforceable and you have no worry about court or fines.

However you obviously have differing opinions on the value of education and that needs addressing ditto with regard to residency. Similar holidays in the future will flag dd up to Education Welfare and if you are the resident parent then you'll be in the firing line for any fines just as much as him.

GypsyMoth Tue 20-Sep-11 10:21:40

Do you have the passport?

DutchGirly Tue 20-Sep-11 10:25:03

Saggar, the irony regarding the religious thing is that he is not very religious (ie he eats pork, I do not) just when it is convenient for him.

He has changed his mind now regarding the religious celebration as he wanted to borrow my car for transport (erm no, you can't borrow my car, get your own) and he did not fancy using public transport to get to the venue.

I feel that I will be in the firing line as a resident parent which is extremely unfair as I do not agree with taking her out of school except for school holidays. It just seems I won't be able to stop him taking her out of school but I will be liable for fines, how is that reasonable? I have a meeting with the head teacher to discuss this as I feel this will be a battle in future.

DutchGirly Tue 20-Sep-11 10:26:18

ILoveTiffany I do have her passport.

Smum99 Tue 20-Sep-11 10:38:33

Talk to the Head teacher - she will explain the school's policy on absence during term time however under 5 they are more relaxed so if there was a good time to take absence then it is now.

If school term absence is required then it's usual for the parent (that requires the leave) to complete a form, stating reasons for absence and justification and the head teacher signs off the absence (or doesn't!). It will be his responsibility to ensure this happens. Some schools are more relaxed however others impose a complete ban.

Rather than debate the issue with him get him to speak to the school - I think it will put him off the whole issue!

Also do consider a parenting agreement or contact schedule which can then be formalised by a court. Google shared parenting agreements.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Tue 20-Sep-11 10:54:46

I disagree that Reception is a good time to take a child out for 3 weeks - they are learning so much during that 1st year, if they fall behind it's hard for them to catch up.
Although (depending on her birthday) a Reception child may not have to be at school, our school would not authorize it. I'm not sure how many days unauthorised leave you can take before you risk losing your school place, although if your dp is taking her back to his homeland, they tend to be more lenient.
I think your best best would be to have a meeting with the head teacher to discuss your concerns. Maybe the head would be prepared to be quite 'official' with your xp, laying down the law regarding absence, EWO involvement etc. Maybe agreeing a compromise of just a week. Comimg down heavy now might be enough to make your xp think twice about what he is doing now & in the future. You should follow up the meeting with a letter to go on your daughters file, this would show that you opposed the absence if they did try to fine you in the future (although I think it's very unlikely that they would).

littleducks Tue 20-Sep-11 12:53:27

Wrt to the religious celebration I wouldn't get too caught up in worrying about how religious he is (though I can understand why you find it frustrating). Just thing of the exposure dd gets to the religion and celebration which is part of her heritage and will enrich her life. If her school is anything like my dd's they will be encouraged to talk about what they did with their peers and it will be part of her learning; it is covered somehow on the EYFS (i think).

IT would be much easier for you to smile and wave them off to have fun. If he isnt too bothered then it soon stop without you appearing as the bad guy.

DutchGirly Tue 20-Sep-11 13:38:05

Littleducks, the thing is that there is absolutely no reason why the celebration cannot be done AFTER school as it starts after the sun goes down anyway. I am of the same religion, however I just plan and work around it (just like I work around it whilst at work) whilst X just does whatever he fancies because it is more convenient to HIM.

I know it is part of her heritage which is why I do celebrate with her and friends (I am of the same religion although I am far less secular and more integrated than he is), however I do not think it is acceptable to take a child out of school two weeks after they start full-time especially since it only starts after the sun goes down ie after school ends anyway!

X is starting to make demands the first week after DD starts school full-time which is what upsets me together with the demand for time off for three weeks in the middle of term which can result in losing her school place AND me being hauled in court for something I did not do.

cestlavielife Tue 20-Sep-11 14:22:39

you wont be hauled at court because it will be clear from letter to school from her dadthat it is he who is requesting the absence not you. so dont worry about that too much!

depends on shool policy too as she not in official school age - but eh clearly trying to test you and if you dont camly lay down boudnaries now it will carry on.

"yes she can attend religious festival one day thing.
but no she cannot go out of schoolf or three weeks, she is in full tiem school now and it is important she attends. she can go away in the half term with you, one week only "

FagButt Tue 20-Sep-11 14:27:41

She is 4, not even old enough to legally be in formal education. W"hether that is school, home or elsewhere.

You will not be taken to court over it.

FagButt Tue 20-Sep-11 14:28:26

that doesn't sound right! I mean she does not have to be legally educated until the term after her 5th birthday. and that doe not need to be in school.

DutchGirly Wed 21-Sep-11 09:48:33

I had a meeting with the head teacher and I explained the situation. It would be in the middle of term 4, proper reading sessions will have started and she would miss out on an elemental part of schooling. It would be missing three out of a 5 week term which is unacceptable.

They will keep my concerns on file. In any case, I will not be liable but the school does use fast track for unauthorised absense over 10 days a year.

She is happy to have a meeting with DD's dad. Thank you for all the advice.

niceguy2 Thu 22-Sep-11 10:36:07

Sounds to me this is more about control over the parenting relationship than education itself.

Don't get me wrong OP, I think your ex is being unreasonable but then it's important to understand why you are doing things. To me the education thing is a bit of a smokescreen. It clearly wouldn't harm your daughter's education but it does sound to me more about who can decide to take DD out of school and who cannot.

gillybean2 Thu 22-Sep-11 18:44:06

Where will he be taking her? Which country? Are you sure he would return her?

If you refuse to give permission he can't take her abroad. He would have to go to court to seek permission to take her on the holiday and then you could explain why you refuse and back it up with letters from school etc. The court would then decide.

Why does it have to be three weeks. Can she not go for just a week?

DutchGirly Sun 25-Sep-11 20:54:18


This is not about control, it is about him taking her out for three weeks out of a 5 week term. I have spoken to the head teacher and apparently it is a very important term too as the children are eased into more 'formal' learning with proper class lessons and school work. If it was the last few days of the term I would not be that concerned. The school borough here is known to take drastic action ie Fast Track regarding unauthorised absence and there is a real danger she could lose her school place too. The only other viable option for a good education (there are far and few good schools here) would be private which I cannot finance.

I understand why he would want to take her as it is a 13 hour flight so it is not a trip you would want to take for a couple of days. However, he could take her for two weeks in the Easter holidays.

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