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What are the exceptional circumstances in which absence will be authorised?

(124 Posts)
Suddengeekgirl Wed 12-Feb-14 13:47:15

Have just been told that ds' aunt's wedding will not be an authorised absence. We may/ may not be fined.

What are the circumstances where absence is authorised?

School receptionist said only court dates and family death! Is that it?

MumbleJumbles Wed 12-Feb-14 13:51:56

I though, at teachers discretion, if absence is less than 3 days, then fines unlikely....could just be our school though?

prh47bridge Wed 12-Feb-14 13:52:43

It is up to the head to decide what classes as exceptional circumstances. There is no universal rule. But very few heads (if any) would class a term time wedding as exceptional circumstances.

If it is only one day and your son's attendance is otherwise good it is very unlikely you would be fined. Your LA will have a policy that lays down when fines can be levied. In most cases a pattern of absence which fails to improve after a written warning is needed before any fines are imposed.

MumbleJumbles Wed 12-Feb-14 13:55:02

at HEAD teachers discretion, not teachers!
Also, it'll still be unauthorised, but potentially not fined....

I find the whole thing ridiculous, plenty of parents still taking their kids out of our school in term and just paying the fine because it is still cheaper than holidaying during school hols. It has completely ruined it for genuine family events eg weddings etc. Go chat to your head (if you can get past the secretary!), she may be more sympathetic to your request, face to face.

MumbleJumbles Wed 12-Feb-14 13:56:33

PLus, what does the fine actually go towards? If back into the same school it originated from eg to buy new books etc, then great. If into the general coffers of the LEA, then i'm angry

Chocotrekkie Wed 12-Feb-14 13:57:38

I was refused 2 days off for the kids to be bridesmaids at my sisters wedding 400 miles away.

This was years ago so before the fines etc came in.

The only thing in our school is if the kids need to travel with you to attend a funeral.

Hospital appointments even need proof !

frogwatcher42 Wed 12-Feb-14 13:58:10

Check your local authority website. Ours only fines after 5 days absence.

Even then the schools are being great and giving parents a day or two, and then parents just take the hit on the fine if they want more.

Suddengeekgirl Wed 12-Feb-14 14:03:31

I couldn't find any information on the LEA website that was particularly clear. And I know another parent has phoned them about term time absence and she was told 3 different things by 3 different people.

It just seems like a shame that a family celebration doesn't count, only deaths or court appearances! confused

We need 2 days as wedding is at the pposite end of the country.

Will wait and see if we get fined - might start saving now as SIL's wedding is costing enough as it is!

QueenBoudicea Wed 12-Feb-14 14:03:36

Check your schools attendance policy. This should make it pretty clear what will and what won't be authorised.

Gladvent Wed 12-Feb-14 14:07:36

Court appearances?! It might be cheaper to rack up some speeding offences near SIL that require a trip to court, than to get fined by the school... Hmmm....

Suddengeekgirl Wed 12-Feb-14 14:25:25

gladvent - yes, I wonder if a court date for appealing the fine would count? wink

poshfrock Wed 12-Feb-14 14:31:55

Well so far this term we have had a request to attend an open morning at our preferred secondary school ( DD in Y5) rejected as well as an application for time off to attend a music exam. Later in the term DD is due to sing in a local music festival ( requires half day from school) which always runs Mon-Thurs during term time in school hours. Hundreds of local children take part every year, although I'm guessing that will change this year. I think I already know what the answer will be.
So in answer to the OP , no I have no idea what counts as exceptional circumstances. Apparently nothing.

fluffycarpets Wed 12-Feb-14 14:32:20

Hijack: If i am taking a child out of school for an afternoon to visit another school (to see if it's suitable) and to meet the head, should that be an authorised absence? It means missing half a day/one session. Obviously, there is no other time that this meeting can be done.
Could a headteacher NOT authorise this and be within their discretionary right?

fluffycarpets Wed 12-Feb-14 14:33:05

poshfrock: i really can't see the point of not authorising those.

tiggytape Wed 12-Feb-14 14:42:54

It is at the Head's discretion but as a rule of thumb it will be something that is important, possibly a one-off event and that is impossible to schedule outside school hours.

Two days for a wedding may well not be deemed to qualify under all those criteria but you are unlikely to be fined for 2 days as long as it is a one-off.

I find the whole thing ridiculous, plenty of parents still taking their kids out of our school in term and just paying the fine because it is still cheaper than holidaying during school hols.

Well that might work once or twice but the fines are issued because taking a child out of school without permission (or illness) is a criminal offence.
It is the same kind of fine that you get if you're caught speeding. It isn't a fine from the school and the fines don't go into schools funds. I don't think all parents realise that this isn't just a school policy, it is the law that parents need permission.

crazymum53 Wed 12-Feb-14 15:58:23

We did have Exceptional circumstances authorised for attending my child's grandfathers funeral last year. 2 days absence (funeral was 300 miles away).
poshfrock there is an absence code V or E (?) for approved educational activity our of school that can be used for activities such as Music Exams and festivals so this should not count as unauthorised absence if sufficient notice is given. HTH

hels71 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:04:31

I found this info on Wiltshire's website:

Penalty Notices
Certain cases of unauthorised absence can be dealt with by way of a Penalty Notice.

A Penalty Notice will only be issued to a parent/carer if the pupil has at least 10 sessions (5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence recorded within the previous six months.

In most circumstances, you should first receive a formal warning letter informing you that unless there is an improvement in your child’s attendance, a Penalty Notice will be issued.

The Education Welfare Service receives requests to issue Penalty Notices from schools/colleges in Wiltshire, the Wiltshire Constabulary and neighbouring Local Authorities. These will require the parent of a child of compulsory school age whose attendance has been unsatisfactory, to pay a fine of currently £60.00 (if paid within 21 days) or £120.00 (if paid within 28 days).

Penalty Notices may be issued to both parents for each child.

MumbleJumbles Wed 12-Feb-14 16:04:59

tiggytape - i personally find the whole thing ridiculous because parents are not allowed to take their kids out of school for a relatives wedding, yet teachers are perfectly happy to stamp their foot like toddlers and strike for an entire day when they don't like the terms of their job. Yet this isnt deemed to 'harm' the childrens education, but a day or two out for a wedding apparently does.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I detest striking angry

insanityscatching Wed 12-Feb-14 16:05:27

Our HT is still authorising holidays, on dd's holiday form I wrote that we require a holiday out of season because her autistic brother doesn't cope well with people. It was authorised but had checked beforehand and was told that as dd's attendance was 100% he had no problem with authorising a holiday anyway.

RestingActress Wed 12-Feb-14 16:11:51

We have had leave authorised for competitive sport (comp over a weekend but needed to leave on the Friday afternoon to get there in time) and a royal visit to DS' sailing club.

Friend took her DCs to a religious retreat and this was authorised, and another friend takes her DC out half a morning a week to do a tennis lesson.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Feb-14 16:14:38

Deaths and court appearances are forced upon you by someone else; weddings can be scheduled for everyone's convenience...

Adikia Wed 12-Feb-14 16:17:09

At DS's school 'exceptional circumstances' means a funeral, court, the birth of a new brother or sister, attending something like a festival/tournament the child's taking part in or dance/music/martial arts exams. They wouldn't give permission for a wedding unless it was one of the child's parents getting married and AFAIK no one has ever got permission for a holiday.

shebird Wed 12-Feb-14 16:27:24

It depends on the school but most will only authorise one day at the most for an important family event.

What really annoys me is the fine is per parent per child, it's like a being penalised for being a couple. As others have said those who have always taken their children out of school for family holidays are continuing to do so undeterred by the fine. Even with the fine taking a holiday in school time is still so much cheaper. It is those who need a short time off for a family event that are being penalised because they cannot justify the fee for the sake of a few days.

peppermintsticks Wed 12-Feb-14 16:54:00

Mumblesjumbles

What a strange thing to say. Funnily enough teachers are NOT "perfectly happy" to lose a day's pay because the changing terms are making it a miserable and impossible job. I don't like strikes either but I don't think people who strike are behaving like "toddlers" when they stand up against things that are wrong.

Teachers have NO say in the fines. Why are you blaming teachers?

It's a fair point to say that one day away from school won't hurt the children and many people might agree with you but you've expressed it in a very rude way.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Feb-14 16:58:26

it's like being penalised for being a couple. Hardly; the fines are imposed whether you and your partner are together or not.

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