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Holiday in term time - a sort of WWYD inspired by something a teacher said to me

(25 Posts)
Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 08:46:30

We are going away for half term, but we are leaving next Thursday so DTs (who are at different schools) will miss 2 days of school. They are in Yr1.

We took them out for half a day at Easter. One school gave permission but told us that they wouldn't for any further holiday. The other school refused.

I know we won't get permission if we ask, so was going to write a letter simply saying that DTs were not going to be in school on x days as we are going on holiday.

However, DTS1's teacher has said to me that I should just phone up and tell them that he's off sick, as its not fair that he should be penalised.

Whilst the temptation is there, I won't do that because I don't want the DTs to have to fib when someone asks when they went on holiday. DTS2 would definitely blab.

What would you do?

clam Mon 15-Oct-12 08:50:38

How is your dts going to "be penalised?" It won't affect him in the slightest. If anyone's going to be penalised it'd be you, and I wouldn't care about that.
Don't lie. If you're happy about taking them out of school, then have the courage of your convictions and be straight about it.

difficultpickle Mon 15-Oct-12 08:51:52

I assume that if your dc is marked off sick then it doesn't go on the unauthorised absent record so it is better for the school. Personally I wouldn't be encouraging my dc to lie, which is what you would be doing if you called in saying they were sick.

NickyNackyNooNoo Mon 15-Oct-12 08:57:30

I would write a letter stating they will be away from school - I wouldn't ask I'd tell. They are year 1 missing 2 days at the end of term, hardly going to disrupt their education.
I'm taking my year 2 & 3 children out didn't ask just told, nicely, in a letter, I also said if they were missing anything really important to let me know, they're not wink

Chopstheduck Mon 15-Oct-12 09:00:18

I've lied before. But then my dts can be relied upon not to blab!

I took the kids out for a photo-shoot where they got to go visit Santa's Grotto with penguins and then go ice skating with the penguins, and father christmas. It was something that was a very unique experience, money can't buy type thing, but they had to be there at 8am on a school day.

So the three boys had a 'tummy bug'. I know I shouldn't encourage them to lie, but the clampdown on time off during school has made things really difficult for parents these days, and it doesn't leave parents with a lot of options.

Had I been able to ask, i would have had them back in school by 11! But I couldn't take that risk.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 15-Oct-12 09:02:31

Planting the idea that one can lie about being ill to get out of things could come back to bite you.

How are they going to be penalised? That sounds unlikely or badly explained.

Interesting that the schools would refuse permission. Did they explain their reasons for this? Do you reject those reasons? How have you explained this to your DTs? Or do you think they will be unaware that there's any issue? Encouraging the idea that one can ignore well founded requests by people in authority when it's convenient to do so could come back to bite you too.

clam Mon 15-Oct-12 09:13:00

"Interesting that the schools would refuse permission. Did they explain their reasons for this?"

They don't need to explain their reasons. The default position these days is that children are required to be in school unless they are too unwell to attend and therefore term-time holiday requests are refused. Only if there are extreme personal circumstances (death in the family/religious or cultural reasons and so on) can exceptions be made.

Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 09:17:02

NickyNackyNooNoo - That's what I'm intending to do. I mean, they can hardly stop me. DTS2 has been learning spanish this term and we are going to the Canaries where he can practice. A lot more educating than being in school for 2 days

I'm assuming that being marked off sick, it wouldn't go down as an unauthorised absence. In theory, I can be fined for taking them out, although I very much doubt that I would be.

DH was very much phone up and say they are ill, until I pointed out that it would encourage DTs to think its ok to lie and make up being ill. And that it was likely to backfire. I think its wrong, but the system is ridiculous really and that's what drives people to do it.

Both schools are rated outstanding by OFSTED. I suspect part of the problem is that they are desperate to keep their attendance figures above 95% because otherwise they won't maintain that rating. DTS1's school said at Easter that it has a blanket policy and refuses everyone. I thought they would have some leeway for half a day's absence, for a child that is never ill. So was a bit confused about the decision. DTS2's school authorised before because he was in reception. He had just turned 5 so only just statutory school age.

NickyNackyNooNoo Mon 15-Oct-12 10:12:54

Before mine were at school I was anti taking them out at term time - this year mine will have been taken out for about 8 days blush

It's always a couple of days before or after they break up, we do holiday diaries so it's not as if we are sitting on a beach doing sweet FA for 2 weeks. Family holidays are often an education in themselves...

Mine realise it's a privilege to be allowed absence from school in fact unbeknown to me my eldest actually thanked his headmistress & did a thank you card blush blush

clam Mon 15-Oct-12 11:53:42

So should a child who has had the misfortune to have been ill not be given leeway for half a day's absence then? What has good health got to do with being granted holiday leave?

lilackaty Mon 15-Oct-12 11:57:04

They probably wouldn't have to lie though - I always ask if children are feeling better when they've been off but if it's the day before half term, it probably won't be mentioned. I do agree that it's not great to encourage lying but your children don't need to know that you're lying.

Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 12:08:58

No clam - I agree it shouldn't matter because then it would penalise children who have chronic illnesses. But both schools ask on their forms that you state how many days school a child has missed (through illness or otherwise). So clearly they look at it when trying to decide whether to allow leave and then ignore it completely It all comes back to this 95% attendance rate...

Durab Mon 15-Oct-12 12:17:24

I would submit the form anyway. It might be that a couple of days as they wind down is viewed differently to a week'd holiday in any case, but even if not, you've followed procedure and then you take the decision (as you already have) to take an unauthorised absence as necessary.

I wouldn't put the children in a position where they're expected to lie.

Durab Mon 15-Oct-12 12:19:07

FWIW 2 days' sickness is still unauthorised absence, so it won't have any effect on your DTs or the school's attendance figures.

EnjoyVampirebloodResponsibly Mon 15-Oct-12 12:26:58

Don't lie then.

If you're going to go the phone route, simply call and say they will not be at school that day.

EnjoyVampirebloodResponsibly Mon 15-Oct-12 12:28:19

But then I'm superstitious - if I were to say a DC were ill and it was a lie, you could count on an actual illness appearing almost straight away.

littleducks Mon 15-Oct-12 12:35:03

Would they know you had lied? I'm beginning to think that my dd is unusual for being so away with the fairies!!

If she had a day off before half term by the time she got back she wouldn't even realise she had missed a day off school blush. I don't think school would ask her either but assume she went away in the holiday.

Mine may miss a day after half term, we will be travelling back on the Monday night teacher training day) and if they are tired and grumpy I will phone up and say they are tired and out of sorts

MrsMelons Mon 15-Oct-12 13:03:45

Our school doesn't authorise any holidays at all but you won't be fined until you have missed 10 sessions (5 days). It will just say unauthorised absense on the register no big deal really.

I don't even bother to put reasons on the holiday form if its for a day or 2 as I know it will be unauthorised regardless!

Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 13:39:18

Really Durab? So if you are ill, that's unauthorised absence? That wasn't what I was led to believe. What about hospital/drs appts where you have warned the school in advance.

Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 13:40:54

Littleducks - DTS2 would definitely know we were lying. He knows exactly what day we are going on holiday and will tell anyone within hearing distance

clam Mon 15-Oct-12 13:46:33

Illness is not unauthorised. Who told you that?

BreconBeBuggered Mon 15-Oct-12 13:47:21

Being sick is authorised absence. But it counts towards the school's overall absenteeism statistics. Unauthorised absence will be a percentage of the total. Schools need to make sure both figures are low to keep those lovely Ofsted grades.

Loueytb3 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:42:26

Glad I wasn't going mad! If attendance falls below a certain level (think its around 85%) then you are summoned by the welfare officer hmm

admission Mon 15-Oct-12 17:41:20

Attendance ends up on what is called SIMs, which is a spread sheet of all attendance at school. If the absence is for being ill then it goes down as one letter (I) as authorised absence.If they have a medical / dentist appointment they go down as another letter (M), counted as authorised absence.
If however the school is not told the reason for the absence then it goes now as unauthorised absence, with another letter (G). Holidays in term time that are authorised are given the letter H, whereas if you apply for approval for holidays and it is not approved or you just go anyway then it is unauthorised and will be letter G.
If you sit down and work it out taking 10 days holiday is 10 out of 190 so means attendance is going to be 93.7% assuming you have no more time off for illness etc.
Most schools with pupils below 95% attendance are now getting very tight on allowing any time off.

clam Mon 15-Oct-12 18:46:03

My daughter's attendance fell to 76% last year, due to a chronic post-viral fatigue-type illness. We kept the school informed at all times and forwarded copies of her consultant's diagnoses and we therefore never had any hassle from welfare officers.

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