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Can anyone help me write a letter to school?

(11 Posts)
BitOfFun Thu 11-Sep-08 09:19:43

My eldest(12)daughter's dad emigrated to Australia after we split up when she was tiny. He has kept in regular contact with her and she is very close to her extended family on his side. He has been back over a few times to Britain, and she has visited him once with the grandparents, but understandably these occasions have been few and far between over her life.

He is coming to Europe after the new year (the only time he can get off work as a busy Casualty doctor) and wants her to join him for two weeks to teach her to ski at his friend's chalet in Switzerland, but it would mean her taking the first two weeks of the spring term off school. She is thrilled and excited, but obviously I have to get the school's approval. I will take the flak just to give her the chance to have this opportunity, but obviously I would like the school to be ok with it.

What is the best way to write a letter asking permission? Or do I just tell them she is doing it, and explain why?

She is never off mormally, and I have never taken her out of school for a holiday before.

As an aside, her dad wants her to bring a friend for same-age company if she can - but I guess her parents would have to decide and write for permission themselves. Any tips for that also, or is it best to nip that idea in the bud if it's unlikely to be allowed?

I would be so grateful if anyone could help me with the letter, as I haven't a clue how to word it - thank you.

islandofsodor Thu 11-Sep-08 09:42:59

I think that this situation is so completely different to the normal I want a cheap holiday in term time that the school would be totally unreasonable to refuse.

Just explain the situation in a letter the same as you have outlined here.

Dear school,

As you may be aware my xxx's birth father now lives in Australia and although she keeps in close contact with himand his family who are still in the UK she has only seen him a handful of times since the age of xxx.

His job means that he has limited holidays but he has been given the opportunity to spend two weeks in Switzerland and has invited XXX to join him there and spend some time getting to know him and learning to ski.

Whilst I appreciate that taking holidays in term time can affect a child's education I feel that on this occasion the opportunity for my daughter to spend time with her birth father outweighs everything else.

My daughter will be absent from school from xxxxx to xxxxx.

I trust that this is in order.

Regards

Bitoffun

kiddiz Thu 11-Sep-08 09:45:16

This is a difficult one isn't it?
At my dd's new secondry school they have been very adamant that they will not approve absences during term time for anything other than exceptional circumstances. Examples they gave were the bereavement or serious illness of a close family member. I think it hinges on what your dd's school considers an acceptable reason. Do you know any other parents at the school who have asked for time off for their dcs? If so that would give you some idea of what the response is likely to be.
What is her attendance like anyway? Has she had a lot of time off sick? If her attendance to date is good I think this would go in your favour and would be worth mentioning in the letter. Also I would say that she would catch up with any work missed or take work with her if teachers would set it. Emphasise the positive benefits of the trip and also how important contact with her father is and how your personal circumstances make this difficult.
Could you have an informal, hypothetical chat with the school secretary?
good luck smile

BitOfFun Thu 11-Sep-08 09:49:42

My goodness, that is such a help to me - thank you so much! I will check back later to see if anyone else has some more thoughts or experiences, I do appreciate it, cheers! smile

islandofsodor Thu 11-Sep-08 09:50:42

To be honest I wouldn't ask for work to take with her. This seems to put teacher's backs up. We have just been told in no uncertain terms by the new head at dd's school that if children do chose to go away in term time then work will absolutely NOT be set in advance although it may be given afterwards. This is because it creates a lot more work for the teacher.

AMumInScotland Thu 11-Sep-08 09:50:49

I think most LA's have a clause about "exceptional family circumstances" - check your LA's website to see how they word it, and try to get their phrase into the letter. I'd go with something like -

Dear teacher's name,

I would like to ask for authorisation for X to be absent from school from StartDate to EndDate.

While I would normally not consider X being absent from school during term, and I have always ensured that family holidays are arranged during school holidays, there are exceptional family circumstances in this case.

As you may be aware, X's father lives in Australia and although they are in regular contact it has obviously been difficult for them to spend much time together. He is now able to arrange a trip to Europe between these dates, which unfortunately cannot be changed due to his work committments, and hopes to be able to spend the time with X.

I am sure you understand how important it is for her to have time to develop her relationship with her father, and I therefore wish her to have the full two weeks off school to spend quality time with him.

Yours sincerely

I'm realy not sure how to approach the friend issue though - does she have one particular friend who she would want to come with her, and do you know the parents? I think the school would probably be fine about your daughter's absence for such a good reason, but to go with a friend might not get such a good response. Of course, her friend's parents could just send her anyway and not worry about the authorisation, but that would depend how they feel about that sort of thing.

BitOfFun Thu 11-Sep-08 09:52:13

Thanks Scottie!

littlelapin Thu 11-Sep-08 09:54:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlelapin Thu 11-Sep-08 09:56:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShrinkingViolet Thu 11-Sep-08 09:59:09

I woudn't mention the ski-ing tbh (makes it sound more like a holiday, wehn really you are emphasising the "spending time with father" aspect). I tend to finish up these kind of leters (have done a few for odd days) with soemthing like "Naturally X will liaise wiht her subject teachers to ensure that she catches up with any missed work".

Turniphead1 Thu 11-Sep-08 10:21:23

I vote AMum's letter (athough they are all good). Its like the Xfactor for letters...

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