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school closure in term -time?

(68 Posts)
vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 09:54:11

my son's primary school has announced that the schooll will be closed in October term time.This is because there have been new classrooms built and the staff need a week to get organised. it has overrun and was meant to be complteed for September.

It has been tagged on to the autimn half term so two weeks instead of one. Firstly I am upset that my son who has an IEP will miss awhole week of school. If you were to book a holiday you would be frowned on
Secondly we both work and it will cause massive inconvenience, my DH is Self employed and can take the week off with lost earnings

I do realise the school is not there for free childcare and I value my son'e edcuation greatly. but I plan our lives in maticulous detail booking childcare months in advance (because you have to )etc and something unexpected like this is just rubbish. thre are no holiday clubs open becuase it is not in the scheduled school hols. Are you just supposed to magic out of thin air.

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 10:03:59

I am actually surprised this is even allowed

PatriciaHolm Thu 09-Jun-16 10:17:00

Well, it's unfortunate, but having just lived through a major building project at my DC's school, these things do have a tendency to overrun. They are giving you 4 months notice. I don't suppose they are thrilled either.

If lots of classes are changing rooms, that's a lot of organisation and work, especially in setting up new classrooms for the younger years.

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Jun-16 10:35:14

Yeah, it's very unfortunate, but what else can they do?
If the class rooms aren't ready, there are no place for children to be educated.

BitOutOfPractice Thu 09-Jun-16 10:37:05

God that is a total pain in the butt but it's unavoidable I guess.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 10:46:31

What a pain for you all!

Have they moved the missing 5 days to elsewhere in the calendar? My understanding - I may be wrong - is that the school still has to offer the same number of days in school over the year (190 for children, 195 for teachers), but may choose to set holiday, INSET and half term dates flexibly. For standard LA schools, the LA usually sets overall term dates (but the school can set INSET days), while for academies, there is freedom to set term dates as they wish. For someething like this, even an LA school may well have flexibility.

If a school is prevented from opening for reasons beyond their control (e.g. flood; failure of water or heating) it can be 'deemed' to have been open in order to make up the 190 days. However in your case this is known so far in advance that they would, AFAIK, be required to put the extra 5 days in elsewhere (perhaps by not having any other INSET days, or whatever), so your child would not actually miss out on any days of school.

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 10:57:29

they are building new classroomas a wrap around to the exisitng school and the children are using the original part of the building during the works - it is simply to set up resources in the new build area from the old area. I could stomach two / three days but a whole week - i think the are taking the p*

The letter dos not say that the days are in lieu of INSET or that they will be made up elswhere - it appears to be in addition. It is a toally planned event due to the number of new homes they have built in the area and a rise in school numbers. The LEA have forced the school to expand

it is a small village school and an affluent area where most of the Mums stay at home so I appear to be in a minority who find it inconvenient. in fact it is seen as more time to spend with their kids.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:03:17

I think you could reasonably ask the school where those 5 days are going. You may find that at least some are absorbed by INSET. As INSET is often announced after main term dates are publicised, there might be no change in the actual number of scghool days your child will attend in the year. Count up using the calendar - if there are still 190, your child is not missing out on any school.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:04:51

If most of the other mums are SAHM, could you arrange for a series of playdates / informal childminding arrangements to reduce the pressure on you / your DH that week? I was a SAHM when DS first started school, and often looked after other children during e.g. INSET days, a few days of half term etc.

noramum Thu 09-Jun-16 11:10:10

I think giving parents 4 months warning is all they can do. I agree, it can be a mess if parents work, I plan holiday cover as soon as the school year starts, there is nothing you can do.

Speak to work, could you offer to add 1 hour a week and take off the time in lieu? Split it with your DH and see if your DS can spend a day with a friend, swap children? Relatives?

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:12:29

Teacher - that would be a great idea but my son is in the process of an asbergers assessment - any change to routine etc he can't copee with and is really difficult to manage. He has few friends anyeay becuase of his social difficulties and never gets invited anywhere - it breaks my heart as he cannot understand why he has no real friends.
The letter clearly states that is is an extra closure - I know it is 4 months notice but when you have no family support and no access to hol clubs what do they expect you to do?

As a LA school would it be worth contacting school services?

MigGril Thu 09-Jun-16 11:18:54

This happened at our school when they overran building the new extension. Only it was tagged into the summer term.

What they did and I think you'll find your school has done similar is use all the school incest days for that extra week. Therefore we've had very extra few days this year. Which will be where they have got the extra days from as they can take these at any time.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:20:20

Vicki, I completely understand - been there, got that T-shirt (DS now, at 15, presents as NT ... but at 5 / 6 there was discussion about whether he would be able to remain in mainstream schooling due to ASD type behaviours).

Hmmm. What childcare do you use over the summer holidays? Is it worth approaching staff at e.g. holiday clubs he is familiar with to see if any would be available to do 1:1 care for that extra week? Or if your school has wrap-around care in term time, would any of the staff there be equally miffed by having no work that week and thus be able to look after your DS?

ApostrophesMatter Thu 09-Jun-16 11:28:51

Schools are allowed to close when it's unavoidable - a fire, for example.

4 months notice isn't unreasonable. There is no one to teach as the teachers have duties elsewhere, so what can they do? What happens if your child is ill?

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:29:07

We use Team Active which is a sports club - it is held in another local primary school so it will not be on as the school will be full of term time children. He has been going there for years and is used to the staff and they are used to him and actually like him despite his odd behaviour. He gets on better with grown ups than other kids and is really quite intelligent depite his difficulties with reading and writing.
It is just a complete mess. I was actually considering moving schools as I don't think they support him enough with his difficulties. I guess this would solve the problem.! He is seeing the Ed-Psyc next week but only becuse I got this via his GP and not because the school have requested it - I get the impression it is seen as I big incovenience. It is a middle class area with outstanding OFSTED and Kids like my son SKew the SATs results don' they? (CYNICAL) when there is only 15 in his year group

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:31:03

If he is ill I take unpaid leave but that is necessary, this I feel can be avoided if it was managed better and though about properly. Just for moving resources into new rooms?

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:32:26

It wouldnt really make any difference if we had 4 years notice we would stillhave the same problem as we have no options available to us other than my DH to take unpaid time off

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:36:06


I allow 3-5 days of every summer holiday to set up my classroom - and that is where the main resources are already in there and I already know where everything is. I choose to do this in my own holiday time, as there is no opportunity within the 'directed' time allowed by the school. In this case, the head wishes to 'direct' their staff to set up the new classrooms - furniture, resources, displays, hooks, books, desks, storage etc etc - as they cannot 'demand' that all members of staff do that in their own time e.g. over the existing half term. The staff obviously cannot do it in term time - they are teaching, planning, marking, assessing as usual. So the time has to come from somewhere.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:39:08

Who staffs Team Active? Are they all staff from the other primary? (Unlikely, IME). I know it won't be as good as if he is in the totally familiar environment, but would having a familiar member of their staff to look after him in another familiar environment, e.g. your home, going to local park or sorts centre etc be an option?

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:39:32

Why couldn't they get the kids to help organise the new classrooms, I know they already do this to a certain extent - I know my Ds would like doing somrthing like this?

NapQueen Thu 09-Jun-16 11:39:38

You could take a weeks parental leave? I understand that too is unpaid but you could choose the parent who earns the least in a week to take the time off to minimise loss of income.

Are you able to take any annual leave from work? It's quite a lot of notice and with it not being the half term week would probably be an easy week to take.

vickibee Thu 09-Jun-16 11:44:05

Don't think you can take parental leave it is not considered an emergency is it?
As for hols I have few left after INSET, Hospital appts, Ed Psyc etc My employer is not in the least bit flexible. I am on holiday today as DS begged me to attend sports day. |I have eight days booked in summer and have to save three for xmas Think I have three left out of my 20

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:45:27

I do genuinely wonder what you mean about 'managed better'?

The school staff need to sort all resources between old and new classrooms, then both the old and new classrooms will need to be re-set up for continued use.

It can't be done in the summer holidays, because the work has over-run.

It can't be done in main term time, because the staff are teaching and the rooms from which the resources are being moved are in use when the children are present.

It can't be done 'piecemeal', because that would make teaching very unsatisfactory for a longer period of time as resources are spread across both parts of the school, in packing boxes etc.

It can't be done in half term, because that is holiday, for which staff are not paid and thus the head has no power to direct them to work.

This method is in fact much less likely to upset your DS - his classroom will be as normal up to the point when the holiday starts, then if he is in a new classroom, that will be completely sorted when he comes back. A longer 'piecemeal' move would certainly have upset my DS much, much more than a single 'all in one' move.

teacherwith2kids Thu 09-Jun-16 11:47:13

Yes, children could be used to e.g. ferry boxes of pencils ... but that is a tiny proportion of what actually needs to be done, and keeping 30 children safe and occupied throughout the days of the move would be a real challenge and potentially a) very upsetting for your DS and b) dangerous.

irvineoneohone Thu 09-Jun-16 11:49:08

At my ds's school, when they built extensions to accommodate bulge class, they asked the parents to volunteer to help move furniture etc. around on Friday after school and Saturday, and finished in two days.
Obviously school stuff came to work on days off as well.

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