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'Etiquette' of taking holiday in term time.

(24 Posts)
Lukethe3 Tue 25-Sep-12 14:32:01

Hello
DS1 has just started Reception and is loving it. We have already unthinkingly booked some holiday in what turns out to be term time. I need to fill out a 'request for absence' form but I have also been told that this will be refused. The holiday is paid for so we will be going, so do I just go without saying anything or do I tell the class teacher? It seems really bad manners to go after permission has been refused but ds is only 4yo and I'm sure will develop more during the holiday with both his parents there 24/7 than he would at reception for a week.
What does everyone else do in this situation?
Thanks

tiggytape Tue 25-Sep-12 14:39:14

You ask permission, the school refuse and then you decide to either go on the holiday anyway (and have it recorded as an unauthorised absence) or not go and rearrange / lose the money.

There's no other option really unless you're going to pretend he's ill and hope he doesn't let slip when he returns which would be even worse (and he will almost certainly tell).

I know he is only 4 but, as he is now enrolled in school, you are supposed to obey the rules on attendance. If you had deferred him, then obviously you could have taken the holiday (but he wouldn't have been at school at all in that case so not tied by the rules). Even though he is 4 you're not supposed to dip in and out (that's the official view on these things not supposed to be a moral judgement or anything)

UnChartered Tue 25-Sep-12 14:42:21

we take DD out of school for holidays and days out

lots of reasons, and as long as it doesn't take up more than 10 days a school year, no-one of 'authority' is going to get involved

my hard hat and tin helmet is in the wash btw, but i don't really care what other MNers think, it's my decision

OP, you will get lots of different opinions, hope some are useful to you

mrsscoob Tue 25-Sep-12 14:47:57

I would fill out the form and write what you did here, that you unthinkably booked it in term time before dc started school, so please on this occasion could they authorise it, you will make sure the trip is educational blah blah smile and then hope for the best.

Not fair how different schools deal with this kind of thing. Our school gives up to 10 days as long as normal attendance is ok.

Fairyloo Tue 25-Sep-12 14:49:55

If he's 4 be does not legally have to be at school

Tale him, what's he going to miss? Play dough work, it's all play in reception

DogsCock Tue 25-Sep-12 14:50:48

fill in the form, then take unauthorised holiday.

Simples.

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 14:53:00

They will just mark it as unauthorised absence.
They aren't allowed to authorise term time hols unless there are really strong reasons specified in some head teachers code somewhere. So they say 'no' and then mark it unauthorised.
No consequences, except they could well fine you or withdraw the place if it is for more than 10 days.

tiggytape Tue 25-Sep-12 14:54:13

More and more schools are under pressure now not to give 10 days’ discretionary holiday. As far as I know, most Local Authorities have instructed all schools not to authorise term time holidays at all and, just recently, more and more are being told to go a step further and impose the fines that have always existed but were rarely issued.

pimmsgalore Tue 25-Sep-12 16:24:17

tiggy does that still apply if there are exceptional circumstances ? We are taking DD out for 2 weeks to go away when DH is home on R&R, we wouldn't normally but otherwise she will not see him from September till May and the only time he could have was when our other 3DCs boarding school was on holidays but the state schools weren't. Our head has said nothing about how she is recording it just that it is ok, although she has only verbally said that and from what I understand there will be no letter written to say it is ok (so am slightly concerned)

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 16:28:31

There is specific guidance somewhere (one of the military covenant documents I think) enshrining as good practice the authorisation of leave for Forces families at times of return from operational thwarted. It doesn't oblige heads to authorise, but it's definitely something to mention on your request.

I've got to go out for a bit: have a google and see if you can find it. If not, I'll look for you later.

pimmsgalore Tue 25-Sep-12 16:45:41

thanks scaevola I think I know the document you are talking about it just slightly concerns me that the head doesn't write back to approve the leave (she is well known for this throughout the school) so wondered if there would be any recourse but am guessing not as long as I provide the correct link. (think DH has a copy on the pc so will dig it out)

tiggytape Tue 25-Sep-12 18:46:00

scaevola is right - forces families are an exception for very good reason and the expectation is that reasonable requests are granted to these children.

There are other exceptions too - anything that is hugely important or a one-off event would be considered. The general clamp down applies to scenarios where people book outside school holidays because it is cheaper or because they can get more for their money in June than in August.

Pseudonym99 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:03:24

You cannot be fined for something that isn't illegal. Your child does not have to be in school until the term after they're five. They cannot even record it as absence, let alone hold it against you.

expansivegirth Tue 25-Sep-12 19:19:52

The school does not even have to report the absence to the LEA until a child is five. The absence does not affect attendance figures at the school and so will have no bearing on Ofsted etc. I would definitely go.

Ruprekt Tue 25-Sep-12 19:22:01

It is not a problem now but don't get into the habit of doing this.

A family I know has just been fined £400 for doing this though their children are older.

Ferrybridge Tue 25-Sep-12 19:38:33

The school don't like because it looks bad on their attendance figures which make part of their OFSTED assessments, but you're right the holiday will be of more benefit to him, just a shame it couldn't in the holidays then he could benefit from school and the holiday wink

However, as others have said as he doesn't legally need to be in school yet, it doesn't really matter to the school either, but they will be concerned about setting a precedent.

I have never taken DC out of school (in 9 years) because I want them to see how important I think their schooling is, rather than because I think they'll miss anything vital in a few days away. For me it's about supporting the school and demonstrating to DC that there's nothing more important (even though sometimes I might not quite believe it)

As you've already booked and it was a mistake, go ahead and enjoy your holiday though.

ContinentalKat Tue 25-Sep-12 19:50:04

I understand that you booked the holiday a bit thoughtlessly and it would be a waste of money, fair enough. Don't do it again.

Some of the comments above, though, get my blood boiling.

If your child is "legally not obliged" to be in school and being with you is so much more educational, wtf is your kid doing in school in the first place?

And what kind of attitude are you teaching your child? Yes dear, we all have to go to school, learning is really important, but not when we want to spend a cheap 2 weeks in Greece.

I hate it when people think that rules apply to anybody but them! angry

Lukethe3 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:46:20

Thanks for the replies. I feel a bit less guilty knowing that the school will not need to record his absence until he is 5.
I naively had no idea about how much our lives were now going to be ruled by school and term dates.

Turniphead1 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:58:20

I am taking my DS - year 2 - out the week before Oct half term for a family holiday. The reason is is that his sister's half term is that week - and as the older child Its slightly more important that she doesn't miss 5 days. Not ideal - but the head approved the request. I wouldn't sweat it. What's he going to miss? Not a great deal in reception.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 27-Sep-12 13:02:04

we took the boys out for 9 days it was an unauthorised absence. as he handed the letter over the headmaster said he hoped we had a lovey holiday.

I think they HAVE to refuse, but most know you are going to go anyway.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 27-Sep-12 14:54:42

I think you'll be all right this year if he's still 4. M DSs' school fines parents at £50 per half day session, per child, per parent, so with my 3 a week's unauthorised holiday would cost £50 x 3 boys x 10 sessions x 2 parents = £3000! shock

RiversideMum Thu 27-Sep-12 17:13:17

Sorry to correct you, but this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. If you have a place in a school and have started in September then your child is "at school". It's not just free child care to dip in and out of to fit in with holidays and trips to Legoland.

Ineedalife Thu 27-Sep-12 18:15:41

I would recommend checking your LA website, the one for Dd3's school still says that HT's can authorise 10 days holiday in term time. I will be continuing to take Dd3 away in term time until they change it.

Our HT does authorise it but some others in the area say that they wont. I always tell people about the website if they ask me.

tiggytape Thu 27-Sep-12 23:30:57

Ineedalife - That has always been the rule: HT's can indeed authorise it. But the point is they aren't supposed to unless the reason for the absence is a very exceptional one (for example forces families who won’t see each other most of the year unless it is granted).

Unfortunately though, parents took this to mean that 10 days is there for the taking and they have the right to demand it. That's why many (and in some LAs all) HTs are clamping down on this to reinforce the exceptional reasons needed (and fancying a cheaper term time holiday isn't an exceptional reason - everyone probably fancies one of those not least of all the teachers!)

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