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Authorised time off during term time

(30 Posts)
naptime Fri 26-Oct-12 16:03:47

I have just had my DS's request refused!! It is for 2 days over my husband's 40th, a Friday and Monday for a gathering we booked over a year ago and are hosting, a considerable distance from where we live - hence the time off. Now in dilemma - do I just take the time off? Or do I ring in and report him sick on those days? DS is in reception, turned 5 at the start of this term, I don't know if that makes a difference.
Any advice greatly appreciated!

Elibean Fri 26-Oct-12 16:07:11

Personally, I would just take the time off. Our Head has been told quite clearly by local authority, and backed by governors, not to grant time off: so he doesn't. You simply have to make your own judgement, and take responsibility for it smile

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Fri 26-Oct-12 16:09:07

I would take him off. It will be registered as an unauthorised absence, that's all.

At reception age, 2 days off isn't worth worrying about.

radicalsubstitution Fri 26-Oct-12 16:14:07

Just take the time off.

I think it would be a really bad idea to lie about illness when you've already asked for that time off.

naptime Fri 26-Oct-12 16:32:54

Thanks everyone for advice. Do you think it will be followed up by school if I just take him off? Will we get a telling off? Feels a bit like being back at school myself and breaking the rules!
Feel a bit annoyed about it. The letter said 'only for exceptional circumstances.' For us it is an exceptional family/ friends get together you only turn 40 once! DS has 100 % attendance, and rarely missed any days at nursery. Grrrr.

lljkk Fri 26-Oct-12 16:54:33

Most people would just ring him in sick.

Hassled Fri 26-Oct-12 16:56:38

Pointless ringing in sick - the school will have filed the declined absence request form and so will know you're lying.

If you have 2 day's unauthorised over a year there won't be any repercussions.

izzywizzyisbizzy Fri 26-Oct-12 16:58:37

My ds school has a zero holiday policy - I have booked 2. At this age (reception), I believe family time is very important - and it's a lot more fun in the sun.

It's ridiculous - when I was in school travel was encouraged.

givemeaclue Fri 26-Oct-12 17:10:21

Just travel after school on the Fri come back Sunday

naptime Fri 26-Oct-12 18:07:50

Yeah it is ridiculous. I work in a school, and I know the head is more flexible. Seems that some schools are more flexible than others.
My DH saying we definately still going - givemeaclue - the distance is too far to travel jsut for Fri to Sunday. If we cancel it now we will lose alot of money and annoy alot of family and friends! If my DS turned 5 the day before his first day at school is he legally required to be in school this term anyway?

teacherwith2kids Fri 26-Oct-12 18:52:13

naptime,

Heads have very little discretion in most cases - 'no authorised holiday absence' is an LEA polcy and can't be varied by a head.

Take the 2 days unauthorised. If that is your only absence for the year, there will be no repercussions. My LEA escalates VERY quickly through fines to imprisonment for repeat offenders, but 2 days over the whole school year is not going to cause a problem.

DON'T call in sick - the school will know you are lying, and it will cast a black cloud of unjustified suspicion over every future sickness absence from now to the end of Year 6!

ChristinaF Fri 26-Oct-12 18:55:49

I think schools have tightened up on this. My brother got married last month and my request to take DD3 aged 4 (in Reception) out of school for the day was turned down. We went anyway - it was my brother's wedding and she was only staying for half days at that point anyway! There have been no repercussions.

naptime Fri 26-Oct-12 19:07:53

Thanks everyone I feel less stressed about it now. I was imagining DS might loose his school place if we go or we get a horrific fine. We will take the 2 days as unauthorised and won't be planning any family events in term time again!!

clam Fri 26-Oct-12 19:16:36

"Only turning 40 once" is not reason enough for absence to be granted.

That said, I'd just go anyway.

RiversideMum Fri 26-Oct-12 20:43:21

In our LA, the fine is £50 per child per session (ie £100 a day) when the child has had more than 10 consecutive sessions off. It's not worth lying - or expecting your child to. Just write to the HT and explain what will be happening and say that you understand this is not authorised etc.

sunnyday123 Sat 27-Oct-12 23:37:03

Wow so annoying! Go anyway! We are lucky as our head will grant 2 weeks with no questions asked (as long as attendance ok). We are going to Lapland the last week of school in dec and dds in yr and y2 will miss 3 days. I booked in may but only told them last week - they granted it but frankly I was going anyway!

I took them out 2 days last year too (end of July). Some of their friends are off sick all the time whereas mine attend every day so I don't worry about it. Go and enjoy!

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 28-Oct-12 00:20:22

I thought legally that children had to be in school the term after their 5th birthday.

If your DC is only just 5 I can't see how this would be a problem. They can't fine you.

I say this as a teacher but a couple of odd days won't make a difference- especially not at this age.

narmada Sun 28-Oct-12 09:19:17

sorry to hijacked but i also wondered about whether children under statutory school age - eg who are in reception and aged 4 - need to observe the absence rules....

MrsMiniversCharlady Sun 28-Oct-12 09:27:57

If it's for this term then you didn't even need permission because he's not yet legal school age.

clam Sun 28-Oct-12 10:54:38

"We are lucky as our head will grant 2 weeks with no questions asked"

Not for much longer. It's been pretty patchy until now, and our Head was quite liberal in granting time off. But as of this term she's had to get tough, as the sanctions from above are non-negotiable, so a letter has gone out to parents from the Governors setting out that fines are forthcoming.

"Some of their friends are off sick all the time." Not exactly a jolly then. Why does that mean they can't have time off for Lapland? Some might argue they're in more need of a treat, if they've been unfortunate enough to have suffered ill-health whilst yours have been well.

sunnyday123 Sun 28-Oct-12 11:06:30

Clam

I just meant that those kids off sick don't generally miss much (mine haven't on the odd occasion they've been sick) so therefore I don't worry about 3 days. I have several friends who a teachers/heads who admit the rules are mostly to do with attendance figures. ( of course being off for a week or more can cause problems with catching up, friend issues etc). Our school is large (500 kids) not sure if this means the holiday figures are less obvious when averaging?

The letter I got back accepting the leave was a photocopy standard letter- not even signed! I hope it stays the way, although most parents at this school don't abuse it, rather than taking a few weeks off, people tend to add days around the holidays so they can miss the peak travel times.

clam Sun 28-Oct-12 11:25:17

I'm torn on this one.

This whole 'holidays in term-time' palava is the government (this one and the last) trying to make a political point by appearing to raise standards. The real problem with term-time absence is from persistent truants from families who cannot control their kids' whereabouts or behaviour, or who don't value school highly enough to ensure they get there everyday.

However, that's far too hard a nut to crack, so in order to reduce absence figures across the board, they're gunning for the generally law-abiding types who follow the rules, send their kids to school as they should, but once in a while like to take advantage of a deal or family occasion that happens to fall in term time. And they can make a fast buck or two by fining them for the privilege while they're at it.

tiggytape Sun 28-Oct-12 11:39:44

It generally isn't up to the Heads anymore so try not to take it personally - they have to refuse you. They are told they must refuse all requests unless it is exceptional (as in very important and completely unavoidable not as in a holiday no matter how special). A few councils aren't quite as strict yet so will still allow Head Teachers some discretion but most are now totally inflexible on this issue.

That said, you can just go. As long as you don't do it too often it is unlikely to have any come back. The very worst that would happen is a fine.

As an aside - linking time off to attendance is not acceptable. Many children in mainstream school have a half day off every month or more frequently in order to attend hospital for check-ups related to disability / chronic illness. This is not their fault and cannot be avoided (consultants don't work weekends for routine clinics). It would be unfair and unlawful to discriminate against disabled children and not allow them family time if children without disabilities were granted it. As it happens though the move is much more towards a blanket ban for all term time holidays and the schools that still allow it probably won't be able to for much longer regardless of how good a child's attendance is.

The trouble is that all the time some schools do still allow it, parents in other areas feel it is a personal decision against them whereas it is the LA not the Head who directs these things.

RiversideMum Mon 29-Oct-12 08:27:56

But there is evidence to show that lots of time off affects achievement. Whether that be for holidays or because parents are OTT about "illness" - children who miss lots of school don't do as well as they could. Lots of people on this thread seem to have the attitude "it's only reception" but as a teacher of that age group, I think missing a lot of time is very damaging. Children in reception make progress on a daily basis and learning moves on very quickly, often based on experiences the children have shared. In many way, it's easier for a child to catch up from a couple of days missed when they are further up the school.

By the way, there are several categories to mark why a child is absent from school, so discriminating against children who have hospital appointments is not an issue.

qo Mon 29-Oct-12 08:33:39

My ds's school said they couldn't authorise a week( we were going to new york) I actually told the head when she rang that I'd be taking him anyway. Nothing ever happened, in fact most of the teachers were excited to hear all about it and see his holiday snaps.

If it's a one-off incident they aren't likely to waste resources following it up.

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