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Need more mums eat advise re. Unauthorised absence.

(30 Posts)
Lukethe3 Sun 30-Sep-12 15:24:53

Ds1 just started reception. Dad is French and only speaks French at home to the children. Ds1 is quite shy about speaking French but improves very quickly when we are with the French family and friends.
I have asked for 1 day of leave next week as we have family over for the week and the reason I gave was so ds1 can talk French all day with his family. The request has been refused. Where do I go from here? I can understand where the head is coming from but I 100% think that it is better for ds to spend a day with the family than go to reception for a day.
Do I take him off anyway? Do I phone him in sick? Will I get a fine? Will it ruin my relationship with the head will my son suffer any consequences?
And in the future inevitably there will be other days when I will want him to have the odd day off for the same reason.
Bit confused about how to be a good parent to my son and to keep the school happy as well.

Lukethe3 Sun 30-Sep-12 15:25:31

Sorry, mumsnet not mums eat.

kilmuir Sun 30-Sep-12 17:55:54

is he 5? not legal requirement to attend school until they are 5.

DilysPrice Sun 30-Sep-12 18:01:57

Take him out anyway. Don't lie about illness. Nothing bad will happen now (especially if he 's not 5) but eventually if you do it too regularly you will be referred to local authority attendance officer and potentially fined.

BlueberryHill Sun 30-Sep-12 18:03:01

Are the family there for the rest of the week and this is the only chance DS1 will have chance to see them?

Arion Sun 30-Sep-12 18:05:58

Legal requirement is the term after 5th birthday so all children who started reception this year aren't legally required to be there until January (they yet be turning 5 after 1st September to be in reception this year).

Arion Sun 30-Sep-12 18:06:45

They yet be? They must be! blush

meditrina Sun 30-Sep-12 18:08:10

Indeed, there is no legal requirement to receive education before the term after 5th birthday.

But of parents opt to enrol their DC before that, then they should attend like all other school pupils (or have a proper deferred entry or agreed part-time schedule).

The HT might authorise it, or else you just take it anyway. Further action is so unlikely for a single day at any age.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Sun 30-Sep-12 18:11:09

Just take him out. You won't get a fine for a one day absence even if he's compulsory.

I'd be interested in why the head refused. He's being a bit mean considering the educational benefit for your son. You could ask his reasoning and remind him that it's against government policy to have a blanket ban.

MerylStrop Sun 30-Sep-12 18:12:28

Heads are increasingly more or less saying no to any absence unless absolutely rock solid reasons.....massive pressure to reach attendance targets.

So don't take it personally.

Although have to say it sounds a bit flimsy as a reason - school's only a 6 hour day.

Lukethe3 Sun 30-Sep-12 18:29:34

Merylstrop- certainly not a life or death reason, but my thinking is that it is far more beneficial for my son to chat with native French speakers for the 6 hours rather than doing a day in reception. So I think it's best for my son, but obviously not best for the school meeting targets etc.

If I need another day off for a similar reason, should I fill out a form again to be refused or should I phone in sick?

I'm having a meeting with the head this week.

jennycrofter Sun 30-Sep-12 18:33:11

The head's probably just following the letter of the policy to be honest. DCs schools had a specific bit that said that time with visiting family could not be approved, yours may well have the same.

It probably doesn't mean that the head doesn't personally see the value, just that the rules say it can't be approved. Unauthorised absence is just that. Don't worry, and have a lovely French speaking day.

auntpetunia Sun 30-Sep-12 18:46:29

is it thursday you are asking for? only wondering as thursday is census day and bums on seats that day is quite important for funding etc, I know him being off won't affect the number of kids on the register but it does show up on their absence figures. But as everyone says if your little one isn't 5 yet just keep him off and send him in with a note saying met up with family

BackforGood Sun 30-Sep-12 18:59:28

So the family are only here for the 6hours he's going to be at school ? Seems a long way to come for a day trip.

BlueberryHill Sun 30-Sep-12 19:08:48

I don't think its a good enough reason, my view is that children should go to school and learn that it is important to do so.

MerylStrop Sun 30-Sep-12 19:33:00

Thing is, if the head is to be consistent in their decisions, authorising your DS's day off to be with visiting family opens the floodgates for anyone whose auntie is coming over.

Things are all a bit over-strict re attendance at the moment, especially in infants - I wouldn't be surprised if the head wasn't massively impressed with the idea that you may want to take your DS out of school fairly regularly for this reason.

tiggytape Sun 30-Sep-12 20:13:32

Head Teachers often don;t have as much discretion as they once did - many LA's have a zero tolerance approach now for term time holiday.

And although the child is not yet 5, if he is enrolled at school, he is expected to abide by the attendance rules. You either send them at 5 or you defer - you cannot send them and then spend the time until their 5th Birthday viewing the whole thing as a bit optional. The school will view it the same way - if he is enrolled as a pupil, he cannot have term time holiday.

That said, I am sure the Head will see the value and nothing bad will happen if you take him out of school as a one-off. You won't however be able to do this as a regular thing (well you can lie and say he's ill but he's bound to let slip the next day)

expansivegirth Sun 30-Sep-12 20:17:52

If he's not yet five, take him out. And don't feel guilty about it. It will benefit your son and making absolutely no difference to anyone else... the school doesn't even need to report his non-attendance to the LEA as he is under compulsory school age.

noramum Sun 30-Sep-12 21:37:22

DD is bi-lingual but and quite reluctant to speak German. But unless there is a family emergency I wouldn't think about taking her out of school just because there is a visit.

blueberryboybait Sun 30-Sep-12 21:43:36

Luke - DD1 has just started reception and like you we are a bilingual family, when DD started we wrote to the head and chair of governors to let them know that DD would not be at school for the whole of January as we are taking her home to my home country for cultural reasons. They came back to us, thanking us for letting them know and letting us know that until she is 5 DD1's absences will not be counted in their official absence numbers. We have also taken her out for a day last week and will take her out in 3 weeks time for a day too as we have my family coming over for the day and one night, at just 4 she needs all the practice to speak both languages confidently and with children her own age too.

dikkertjedap Sun 30-Sep-12 21:54:45

If you have family over for the week then there will be plenty of opportunity for him to speak French, eg before and after school and during the weekend.

Unless you can come to an agreement with the Head, I would not keep him home.

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 21:57:55

What's wrong with the 4 hours after school each day? confused

Ragwort Sun 30-Sep-12 21:58:55

Totally flimsy reason, do you really think the adults are going to talk to a young child all day hmm - surely they will be there after school?

Unless you really want to start off with a difficult and awkward relationship with the Head and the school I would certainly send him in.

Lukethe3 Mon 01-Oct-12 17:25:29

My thinking was that it is better for him to speak French with kids his own age for 12 hours a day rather than only 4 after school. He doesn't get this opportunity very often so I wanted to make the most of it. Sounds like some heads are more accommodating than others.

Hopeforever Mon 01-Oct-12 17:32:30

You might be better asking if he can come out of school at lunch time, then he only misses 3 hours of French time.

IF this is the only time he misses school this term, then there is no problem, but what if he has lots of colds etc, then he will miss more days.

Head might think that it's too early in the term to miss out on a day for a non vital reason

Whatever you decide, there will be worse situations the Head will deal with this term!

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