Father wants child to miss school - I disagree - what next?(11 Posts)
DD has literally just turned 5 and is in reception, she has been full-time for a week. Her father and I have been seperated for 3 years, he has alternate weekend contact only by his choice. He has booked a weekend away at the end of the month and wants DD to miss school on the Monday to travel back (though it isn't far.) I don't agree with her missing school, particularly while it's all so new. We went away last weekend for her birthday and were booked to stay until Monday but came back on Sunday for school. I told him I disagree but he applied to the school to authorise the absense anyway (despite it being during my contact time.) The schools attendance policy says they only authorise absenses in exceptional circumstances so I thought they'd say no, but they haven't. DD is distraught - she doesn't want to miss school and her friends and she is desperate to receive an end of term 100% attendance certificate like them. I strongly disagree for the right reasons, but if I say no now that the school have said yes I'll look petty. I reiterated to DD how important school is last weekend when we couldn't stay away longer for her birthday and she understands that but it is hypocritical if I let her father make her miss it. What would you do?
He should not let her miss school . She wants to be there and by law she should be there.
However, I have no idea how you can stop it. The school are behaving appallingly by letting her go.
DD is saying she doesn't want to miss school. Firstly, that's fantastic, and secondly, if she is saying she wants to be there, he should respect that, even if he won't respect your wishes.
If you can't trust him to bring her back in time for school, I wouldn't let her go, tbh.
Personally I'd be inclined to let it go. Missing one day when she's in reception is not really going to do her any harm. (The school may have authorised it because she's not compulsory school age yet so it doesn't have to be recorded in their figures - next term when she's compulsory school age they may not be so lenient)
I think it's hard because you've told her that it's so important, that now she will be upset and fearful of getting into trouble/missing out if she does miss one day. Which makes it really difficult for him.
I'm in the "there are more important things than school" camp, if I'm honest, and if she has a good relationship with her father then going away with him is important, IMO. (Relationship with father who is not always around more important than one day of school, at 5. Not at senior school, perhaps.) Though, he could have booked it for half term, perhaps this would be a better suggestion for next time.
Also I think 100% attendance certificates are unfair, nobody can help being ill and if a child is ill they lose the certificate. They're also stupid to give to five year olds, because a five year old doesn't get to decide if they attend school or not, so children are just being punished/rewarded for their parents' actions. Save them for older children where truancy is actually more likely to be an issue!
He should have discussed it with you before booking it. I think I'd let it go this time, explain to DD that she won't be in trouble because the school have said it's okay, and then ask ex to discuss any days off school in future and preferably book holidays in holiday time so that it doesn't disrupt her education.
She doesn't have a good relationship with him - she doesn't want to go away with him at all, certainly not until the Monday too. He has just had the entire summer holidays in which he could have taken her away but he chose not to have any extra contact; it seems unfair to me that she has to be upset by his being awkward. I have already said he can take her despite it being my weekend and him booking it without considering this, but I'm still not sure what to say about the Monday.
Ah okay, if she doesn't want to go away then that makes it a bit more clear cut.
Is it just the school issue that's worrying you or do you think she'll be upset and unsettled by the trip? I know it's a pain if your ex messes you around (and he shouldn't be) but if he's already gone over your head with the school then that argument isn't really going anywhere.
If you think she'll enjoy it when she gets there then I'd let her go, if she's already used to going away for the weekend then she'll probably be fine.
When I said good relationship I meant more that you don't have concerns for her safety and well being etc and she's fairly used to being with him overnight, if they're not as close as they could be then surely it's a good thing that he wants to do extra things with her? He should have booked it in holiday time but I think you'll have more ammo with this if you let it go as a one off. Of course, you know your ex, so only you know if the total opposite black and white approach will work.
If you let her go, I suggest you insist that she return on the Monday in time to have a normal bedtime routine and not be tired on Tuesday. Tell both your daughter and her father that this is a one-off, and have a quiet word with the headteacher asking her not to authorise any requests from her father as you are the parent with care and want your daughter to have full attendance. She may not have realised the situation. I understand that headteachers don't really have the discretion to refuse holiday requests up to 2 weeks, but she can refuse to accept them from him as he is not the parent with care.
If she doesn't want to go away with him and doesn't have a good relationship with him then surely that's the issue that needs to be fixed. Why does she feel uncomfortable with him?
I do think if the school has agreed then you need to reassure her that she will not be in trouble and it's fine for her to go (it really is OK to miss the very odd day at school at this stage and the school obviously agree, my school would have said an outright no).
"I understand that headteachers don't really have the discretion to refuse holiday requests up to 2 weeks"
Yes they do - in fact it is at the head's discretion whether they grant requests at all.
You say this in "your" time. Is there a court order or is contact arranged voluntarily?
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