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Extended leave of absence... without loosing a school place

(8 Posts)
Marionlam Tue 26-Jan-16 14:41:25

Hi all,

I'm looking for a bit of advice with applying for a 6-weeks leave of absence for my 2 kids. Hubby is being posted in Bermuda from November this year until July next year and although we do plan to visit during the holidays, I would like to join him for a 4 to 6 weeks at some point. I think it would be a great experience for the kids, and I also believe in spending time together as much as possible.

I'm totally prepared to home school the boys during that period, however the school is saying that they will lose their place if I do that....

I have come across some guidance for schools which I'm hoping I can use....
www3.hants.gov.uk/guidance-for-schools-requests-for-extended-leave-of-absence-final.pdf

The head teacher is notoriously unhelpful (I tried to talk to her and hit a brick wall)....

Has anyone has any experience of this kind of request, especially since the rules have changed ?

Suggestions welcome....
Thanks!

KohINoorPencil Tue 26-Jan-16 18:08:59

Did you read the link you posted?

There is no legal definition of what constitutes an exceptional circumstance; it is up to the headteacher to decide. There are no rules on this as circumstances vary from school to school and family to family.

If the school have already made it clear that you will lose the place, I would not expect them to readily change their mind.

willconcern Tue 26-Jan-16 18:19:54

Is your school over subscribed? If it is, then your DCs will be missing half a term and there are other children who would use that space.

Why not go for 3 weeks at Xmas, & miss 1 week, then 2 weeks at Easter & half term, and then go for the whole if the summer holidays - by which time DH will be finished & have time off?

admission Tue 26-Jan-16 23:01:48

6 weeks is a long time and you will almost for sure incur the wrath of having unauthorised absence and therefore a potentially expensive fine, no matter what you do.
I would send a letter to the head teacher explaining exactly what you are proposing and stating that you wish to retain the school place. The relevant legislation is I believe Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, though there is a guidance paper out now to change this. What this document does say is that the place cannot be withdrawn until the pupil has been absent with out authority for at least 20 school days, which is 4 weeks. So maybe a request for 4 weeks holiday will be received more favourably.

Marionlam Wed 27-Jan-16 09:53:44

Thanks everyone, various useful tips in there :-)

KohINoorPencil , I realise it is down to the school to authorise this or not, (which doesn't make it right, but that's a different debate...). I'm just looking for advice on how best to approach this and how to make sense of the law / guidelines so I stand the best chance of it working out for everyone.

admission, do you know anyone who's ever taken 4 weeks off since the change of regulation ? The headteacher told me this week that she would issue a penalty notice after 10 sessions, ie one week, and that if the kids didn't go back to school after that I was liable to go to court with the maximum penalty being £2500 fine and 3-month imprisonment... hmm !

I really want to keep within the law, but I also can't believe that there is no provision to allow kids to benefit from what I think is a vastly educational opportunity to discover the world, whilst spending time with their dad....?!?

admission Wed 27-Jan-16 11:38:26

Different LAs have very different views on the level of any fine and just exactly what they would do afterwards.
Most LAs are working on 10 sessions of unauthorised absence leading to a fine. The head teacher is correct that the maximum fine is £2500 and 3 months imprisonment but this is really for when the parent /pupil are deliberately ignoring school, rather than your circumstances.
The rules on unauthorised and authorised absences say that whilst holidays will not normally be allowed to be authorised in term time if there are exceptional circumstances that they can be authorised. Of course if you happened to live in Wales then a recent pronouncement by the first minister for education has somewhat thrown open the whole issue of holidays in term time.
My inclination would be to formally write to the head teacher saying that this is exceptional circumstances because ..... Please therefore grant this 4 weeks as authorised absence. Put the ball firmly in her hands to make a decision in writing over this. Of course if the head continues to say no and fine and etc, then for you to go as unauthorised absence is going to set up a situation where the LA may want to throw the book at you.

Marionlam Wed 27-Jan-16 11:50:33

Ok, thanks, that clarifies it quite nicely. Wish me luck....and thanks for your help.

titchy Wed 27-Jan-16 12:48:16

There is provision - de-register your kids from school to home ed. them, then apply for places once you're back. You (understandably) want to have your cake and eat it though!

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