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Unauthorised absence and removal of child from school roll

(109 Posts)
wickedfairy Sat 12-Oct-13 16:34:33

We have a family event (Wedding) on the other side of the world and have been refused authorisation to remove the children from school. We have asked for 16 days, which I know is a lot but we have to fly our family so far away, that we cannot make it a short trip. Basically, the children would be off school for one month, with half term in the middle (hence the 16 days).

It costs so much to go there, that we thought it could be a trip of a lifetime and we would be making sure the children would benefit from the trip – experiencing local culture and visiting historical places during the trip. I have proposed that the record the trip and what they do in a diary to share once back at school and also that we would happily take schoolwork away so that the children would not fall behind. One child is in Yr2, the other is younger – wedding is near the beginning of the year, not SATS time.

The standard letter we were sent says that we will most likely be fined, which we would accept. The very worrying thing is that it also says that the children could have their names removed from the school roll and lose their places. They both have excellent attendance (96%). Can they really do this? I am so worried and the flights are already booked….. I will request a meeting with the head teacher, but I am not sure she will accept/it will make no difference.

Any advice please? I am totally stressing that we will get back and the children will have lost their school places. They have never missed school before....

lljkk Wed 16-Oct-13 21:23:03

What the Fig do you all do to get over Jetlag in 36 hours? shock
Please give me your magic potion or formula?
I have only ever met one person in real life who can do it (my dad). We all think it's extremely strange.

keepsmiling12345 Tue 15-Oct-13 21:29:14

And caused by parents taking the piss and suggesting they really really need to take their DC's out of school for 16 days for a wedding!

MerylStrop Tue 15-Oct-13 20:34:04

It doesn't really matter whether the trip is "educational" or not. (sorry but pmsl at indigenous flora and fauna) It is the missing of school that matters. 16 days off is @8% of the school year, taking you to 92% even before possible days off for sickness. How could any head teacher possibly authorise that under current rules?

I think you have to shorten the trip and budget for a fine. At least you know you will keep your school places.

The other issue though is that people taking their kids out for weeks on end affects the whole school attendance averages that means other children are more likely to be refused the odd day for funerals etc. All a ridiculous mess caused by draconian school inspections and targets.

lborolass Tue 15-Oct-13 20:14:29

Slightly off topic but makemineaginandtonic - if you're a governor and you only just found this out last week I'd be asking some serious questions about communication in your school and if you're a parent governor I'd be very worried. Most schools informed parents about the changes months ago.

makemineaginandtonic Tue 15-Oct-13 19:53:27

There are new rules now which state that Headteachers are NOT permitted to authorise holiday leave during school time. I heard this at a governor's meeting last week.

DumDum32 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:30:20

oh blush thanks for that info tiggytape in that case I can understand y the school would object as 3 weeks is missing quite a bit of school but the again it's not like they are doing a degree smile BUT I would not want my kidsto loose a place. as I said write one more time to HT & then make ur mind up.

RVPisnomore Tue 15-Oct-13 17:47:48

Sorry but you should've have booked the flights until you had approval, furthermore I think that a month away for a wedding is excessive.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Tue 15-Oct-13 11:12:01

Even two days off can be an issue to be honest, if a child misses the start of a topic then they will not know the stuff they need to do the later work and will have to have 1:1 to do the work when they come back. Children will be ill but other absence can, and should be avoided in my opinion but it's your choice as they are your children! If the risk of losing a place is acceptable then go, if it's not don't. I doubt many heads would do it though.

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 09:26:06

My post was responding to nennypops who said not to worry about losing your place because you can always go to judicial review and get it back again - as if this was something you could do really easily and wasn't an enormously big deal.

I am glad you have got the meeting with the Head and hopefully it will be resolved.

wickedfairy Tue 15-Oct-13 09:17:49

I have no intention of starting a big legal battle!! We have an appointment to speak to the head and gave already explained our reasons in 2 letters.

I would not go if there was any chance of losing school places. Will see what comes of our appointment

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 08:37:22

At the very least take the holiday as unauthorised leave, accept and pay the fine if you get one but make sure you get the Head to at least agree not to give the places away whilst you are gone. If you cannot get that agreement then you'd be mad to do it. Yes you could embark on some big legal battle to challenge any decision you disagree with but the time that would take alone should be enough to make you think twice.

tiggytape Tue 15-Oct-13 08:20:12

Half term is only 1 week DumDum32 (except at private schools where some of the half terms are a fortnight).

Therefore OP wants 3 weeks off school spaced over one month.

DumDum32 Tue 15-Oct-13 02:16:25

OP - have u taken ur children out of school like this before?

is this trip likely to be the only time u can do it (I.e is it once In a lifetime kinda event)

u get 2 weeks for half term right & ur asking for an additional 2 weeks (meaning 10 days).

if u know ur children will not experience this kind of trip again then I would just take them but at the same try shortening the trip to meet school half way (whatever that might be I.e 3 weeks rather than four)

just taking the kids ignoring & paying the fine etc is just bad parenting - sorry.

like some others have said try writing back to the .HT & really explaining the children's function I.e meeting family for first time (if it is) & so on.

wish u luck - smile

nennypops Tue 15-Oct-13 01:44:22

OP, it might also be worth pointing out to you that if the school did take the draconian decision to de-register your child and bring somebody else in instead, then you need to apply for the place again.

You don't have to apply for the place again. As was pointed out upthread, they can't de-register your children if they know where they are. If they tried to do so, you could take judicial review proceedings in your children's names to have the places reinstated, and you'd get legal aid for it. I think you need to quote the sections referred to previously and tell the head that you really don't want to fall out about this, but the law clearly states that he will not be legally entitled to take the children off the roll and you expect the school to comply with the law. If he doesn't agree, suggest that he takes legal advice and mention that you will take judicial review proceedings if you have to. If nothing else works, maybe the prospect of being on the wrong end of an order to pay court costs will make him think again.

wickedfairy Mon 14-Oct-13 21:32:17

Thanks again for all the points of view! I suppose we did not fully realise possible implications of our request but I do genuinely think the trip will be educational. We enjoy the type of trip where we travel around and see lots of the natural habitat, beach life is not really our thing.

The main point of the trip is the wedding, but it is a one-off opportunity to see a country and it's indigenous fauna and people.

We will have to have a think about it all and weigh up all the pros and cons, some of which we had not previously considered.

Thanks again!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 20:24:23


Behind what? A curriculum they don't use, teaching they don't experience. I think we will have to agree to differ on this one.


My point was not that the OP or anybody else having time away from school should justify the educational value, but a trip like this could easily boast educational value.

Scarynuff Mon 14-Oct-13 16:36:53

I don't think your dc would miss any education even if you kept them off school for 6 months

They would miss a lot. You could HE but if you taught them nothing and they rejoined the class after 6 months, they would be behind, no doubt about it.

coldwinter Mon 14-Oct-13 16:09:42

smile Probably

tiggytape Mon 14-Oct-13 15:25:05

That's probably a PSHE topic coldwinter wink

coldwinter Mon 14-Oct-13 15:10:44

Educational experience reminds me of what the school used to say about school trips to France. In reality the only cross cultural learning going on, was snogging French boys.

RaisinBoys Mon 14-Oct-13 15:03:05

Nothing lacking with my imagination morethanpotatoprints.

In my experience people resort to insulting others when they are insecure or their argument is not up to robust scrutiny.

Sound familiar?

tiggytape Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:58

If you're going to ask parents to justify their holidays in terms of educational merit and nc levels you will be opening the flood gates. EVERYBODY would say their 2 week jolly is a great learning experience to get an authorised absence. And how would this be policed - daily planning submitted for teacher approval perhaps, a written proposal for the Head to wade through?

Laying on a beach in Spain would become 14 full days immersed in a MFL including listening and responding to a nc level 2

Camping in France would become a great feat of geographical learning banging in the guy ropes and predicting when rain showers will hit. MFL practice could be added to the list and even some dispute resolution and ethical studies from the R.E curriculum perhaps (from sharing a cramped space all week and deciding not to kill each other).

Going away is hugely disruptive to the child, to the class left behind when the teacher helps the missing child catch up (and all the children going on holiday may be bright but they’re not pysic they will still need to be shown what they’ve missed) and to schools especially in Year 2 where assessments are going to take place perhaps over 2 terms

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 14:20:14

I do know its a life enhancing opportunity
There are many educational values to it as well. The dc will learn so much just through conversation and meeting friends and family. Learning about other cultures, climates, folk lore for example are all beneficial. If I thought hard enough I could even place its value in relation to the nc, as this seems so important to people whose dc attend school.
Raisin Just because you fail to see the educational value of such an opportunity through lack of imagination, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


I have every respect for teachers, I was one myself. It is bureaucracy I have no time for tbh. I also think that systems should be challenged so we can improve and move with the times.
My dd has lots of teachers I haven't noticed any disrespect yet and would soon step in if I did.

RaisinBoys Mon 14-Oct-13 13:58:40

It's a wedding morethanpotatoprints. A jolly, a party. You have no idea whether it's a "life enhancing opportunity".

Parents always say that as though it is some kind of justification for removing children from school for long periods. It's not.

And they never record the experience or whatever else they promise to do. If you're lucky you get a few photos or a video of a wedding and a couple of landmarks. Nothing better than can be got off the web or from a travel brochure.

Parents are within their rights to remove their children from school. They should just not expect schools to bend over backwards to support their decisions and should be prepared to face any consequences of their actions. Something that we are always telling our children.

We do not, and will never agree on this one.

Over and out!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 14-Oct-13 13:36:44


I don't see how it has to be a problem if dc are not in school for a few weeks. It is only because of Ofsted that schools are forced into making the decision not to allow any time off.
It is wrong as every child is different and the chance for these children to experience this life enhancing opportunity will be denied because all of a sudden absences are to count towards a schools ofsted grade. Its ridiculous and not in the best interests of the child.

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