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Missing school during first few weeks of reception?

(27 Posts)
moojie Wed 31-Oct-12 22:06:21

FIL has a big birthday next September and wants to spend it with all the immediate family together in Australia. DH's brothers and niece/ nephew are live out there and we have not been since having the dc's although they have been over here a few times.

Sounds great so far (especially as they are paying!) however ds1 starts school next year. I have worked out that he would be there a week or possibly even two before we would then be away for 2 weeks. The schools setting in process means that he would arrive back just as all of reception start full time.

I am so torn and my first thought was an absolute no but although ds won't really miss out on all the family being together everyone (including us) will, especially as DH's nan is also going to come out.

Is this a really bad idea? I'm happy to be told it is and we will not go as I don't want to jeopardise him starting school.

Only other point to say is that he goes to a pre school where quite a few will be going onto the infants school so he will know people already.

ManifestingMingeHooHoosAgain Wed 31-Oct-12 22:10:29

You could accept the place then defer until the first half term. So he starts about this time next year? I would consider doing that rather than take a big holiday right at the beginning, and it wouldn't be 'absence' as such.

admission Wed 31-Oct-12 23:00:46

I agree with above poster, you have a ready made excuse in deferring entry till Christmas or before. The problem is that they may miss out on formative weeks when friendships are being formed etc and he might find it difficult to adjust to school life having missed those first few weeks. The positive is that if he already has friends who will be going to the school, then they should slot in without too much problem, but you never know.
You should accept the place at the school and then talk to the school after confirming the place. You need to be firm with the school and say that you do not think that your son will be ready for school and that you wish to defer entry till January. I think that you would need to keep your son off school till January, because if you put him earlier he will almost certainly spill the beans on the big holiday, he has been on. When he starts drawing kangaroos that just might be a give away!
The alternative is to be honest with the school and tell them as earlier as possible that you have a major family gathering in Australia and that it was all agreed before you realised how early in September he would be starting in school. Hopefully they will have sympathy and accept that it be taken as authorised absence, but it does rather depend on the attitude of school to absence. You can still take the time off as unauthorised absence, it just means that the school will not be happy about it and you risk getting a fixed penalty fine.

paneer Wed 31-Oct-12 23:15:09

When is his birthday? If they are young you can defer anyway. And if not, I dont think your should hide it but get sign-off from school as I think it is an important family event. They are likely to say yes.

You said it's likely that other children he knows will be there. It should be fine. Just talk to the school, I really dont think you should start school on a negative footing. Its a genuine reason. be honest with them.

5madthings Wed 31-Oct-12 23:22:20

i wouldnt worry about it. my ds4 started school this sept. he was at school for two weeks then had a week off as we had a holiday booked, it was fine we just filled in a holuday request form. smile he settled back in fine as well.

moojie Wed 31-Oct-12 23:25:17

Thanks. I really don't want to delay him starting school until half term or Christmas. He will be a young 4 ( July birthday) so I want him to be able to settle in well at school. I think missing out in a whole term for a 2 week holiday would be crazy.

I will definitely be honest with the school and I'm aware that they will probably not be able to officially authorise it but I don't want them to think that we are not supportive of his education. We certainly would not normally even think of taking any days off school but in this situation it will be a long time before we would be able to fund any kind of trip ourselves and seeing all the family together will be wonderful.

The problem is that we need to book it soonish as the in laws have lots of flights to pay for understandably they want to get the early bird discount. As ds is a young 4 would we still get fined?

It's such a tricky decision to make.

moojie Wed 31-Oct-12 23:26:32

Oh 5madthings that's great to hear! Were the school ok with it?

Flojo1979 Wed 31-Oct-12 23:29:20

The first term is only 5 weeks anyway

moojie Wed 31-Oct-12 23:34:31

It's 7 weeks. Ds would do a week and a bit at a push then be away for 2 weeks then back for 4 weeks before half term.

5madthings Wed 31-Oct-12 23:34:33

the first term isnt only five weeks! deoends when oct half and it was almost 8wks from when they started in sept to the oct half term this year!

the school were fine with it. you can ask for up to ten days authorised absence and it sounds like you have 'exceptional circumstances' its a one off, visiting family etc and he is only four years old. my kids primary would be fine with it, tho they say the discourage term time holidays they always authorise them. it will depend on the school, its at the discretion if the heas teacher.

BackforGood Wed 31-Oct-12 23:36:43

I personally thin that if it is a school where all the children start in September (as opposed to some starting after Christmas, or even later), then they really would miss out on so much if they miss a lot of that first half term. If you were talking about going in May or even March of Reception, I'd say "Go", but I think most schools put a lot in place in the first 1/2 term to help the children settle in, before picking up the pace after the whole class has been in for a while, and I think it could be quite overwhelming to join, missing that settling in period.
Of course, if he's a confident little chap, and if he knows the building and the staff and some of the children, then he may well be fine, it's just difficult to know in advance.
Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear.

5madthings Wed 31-Oct-12 23:37:04

tbh as the term was so long this year i think it helped ds4 to have the week off, he started full time straight away and was shattered. his teacher was fine and asked him about his holiday when he got back, he could show photos etc. honestly it was fine smile

moojie Wed 31-Oct-12 23:40:55

Thanks. It's crazy because we haven't even submitted an application yet but we are well within catchment to this infant school so will definitely get a place. I think I might speak to someone at the school early next week. The head teacher seemed really welcoming and lovely when we met her. Also her children when to he same private pre school that Ds goes to (many years ago though) so she said she always has a soft spot for those children! Fingers crossed smile

piprabbit Wed 31-Oct-12 23:46:34

You might also want to check exactly when the reception children start school. Different schools have different approaches to staggering the start of school for the new intake.
For example, Y1-Y6 returned to school on 4th Sept this year, but DS started in reception on the 12th Sept.

midseasonsale Thu 01-Nov-12 17:07:30

Legally in the uk, a child doesn't have to start school till the term after their 5th birthday. In your shoes I would take the place and let school know in writing ASAP that you have a big oz celebration and on which dates. You could also ask the school if they would prefer that he started before or after the holiday.

mrz Thu 01-Nov-12 17:09:51

I would normally say that missing any of the first term should be avoided but it's a very special occasion just explain to the school and enjoy.

UniS Fri 02-Nov-12 22:29:50

2nding Talk to the school. be honest about it. BUT apply as normal, don't put off doing that or you may have no place at all.

It CAN all work out OK. A local school to me "officially" had 31 children in YR at start of this term. it worked as one of those 31 was moving out of area with in the first few weeks but family had not known that when they applied. The 31st child ( who lived almost next door to school) spent a few weeks at the school then left for parts foreign and as child 30 was already in the class there was no scrabble for the space.

simpson Fri 02-Nov-12 23:19:53

DS is now in yr3 but when he was in reception I took him out to go away ( family reasons for 10 days) it just so happened that it was just when he went full time, he spent 3 weeks going part time before then and there was no problems tbh....

DS does have an aug birthday though so I did not have to get the snotty letter from the school!!

expansivegirth Sat 03-Nov-12 00:25:48

you could offer school a choice: you could say you would prefer to start in september if the school can grant permission to let your son out for the holiday. OR, if it is an option for you, you could start him in january and defer entry. you might find they prefer the first option as the second one will probably affect their funding for the year (funding set by attendance date in October). But at least you are then giving the school some sense of having an input into your decision. Definitely don't tell anyone of your plans until you have the place, but then inform them asap.
it won't actually make any substantive difference to the school ie through attendance statistics as your son sons absence does not need to be reported to the LEA until he is 5.

stopthinkingsomuch Sat 03-Nov-12 07:44:23

We moved countries and little one missed first few weeks of school. Started 1 week before half term. To be honest it was a huge relief that I didn't have to do all the messing about. No long term problems!!!!

CecilyP Sat 03-Nov-12 09:46:25

I would go on the holiday and agree with expansive about informing the school and giving them the choice.

I wouldn't worry about settling in; some schools even do staggered entry in the first few weeks - or used to. Also, friendship groups are very fluid at this age, so that is not something to worry about.

Karoleann Sat 03-Nov-12 21:41:52

I'd be quite careful, my son's previous state school reserved the right to remove a school place if the child was absent for more than two weeks, unless the absence was authorised. They wouldn't authorise any holiday absence at all. Just check the LA and school criteria before booking, I wouldn't worry on academic grounds, they don't do anything their the first few weeks at all!

mrz Sun 04-Nov-12 13:06:24

Karoleann if it is a state school that would be ilegal

Karoleann Sun 04-Nov-12 13:09:07

mrz No, I don't think so, you can check on the camden website. I know a couple of schools in the borough also have the same policy.

Northernlurker Sun 04-Nov-12 13:24:23

I would defer till January. Your son is too young for school at 4 and 2 months imo.

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