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Legislation for being absent for a term

(18 Posts)
lesshaste Sat 11-Jun-16 10:19:22

Does anyone know what the legal situation around taking a child out of school for a term is? This is for a normal community state school.

Essentially I would just like to know if the decision to keep the school place is in the school's discretion.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sat 11-Jun-16 10:31:19

The reason will be critical as to whether the child can be legally removed from the register.

Some reasons are considered allowable and therefore, whilst the school wouldn't be impressed, they wouldn't be able to remove the child. Some would not be considered allowable, and the school are then able to remove them after following specific procedures.

If you don't intend to tell the school of the reason, there's a framework for that, too.

spanieleyes Sat 11-Jun-16 10:33:13

www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/lateness-authorised-and-unauthorised-absence-school

says it is at the Head's discretion. I think it would depend on whether the school has a waiting list.

lesshaste Sat 11-Jun-16 14:28:09

spanieleyes Thanks but I don't see the part that might relate to taking child out for a term.

Our reasons are because I have a work opportunity abroad for a few months if that makes any difference.

lesshaste Sat 11-Jun-16 14:29:12

AnchorDownDeepBreath Our reasons are because I have a work opportunity abroad for a few months. My main concern is that DD has a place at the school when we get back.

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-16 16:37:21

It is up to the school but it is unlikely they will hold the place open for a full term. If someone else applies for a place (or there is a waiting list) any attempt by the school to hold your daughter's place open could be overruled by an appeal panel. If the school does promise to hold the place open make sure you get that in writing as you might need it.

lesshaste Sat 11-Jun-16 18:28:41

* prh47bridge* Thank you that is good advice. Do you know what legislation gives the school the final discretion? I can only find statements like "The amendments make it clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, which came into force on 1st September 2013." which seem to imply the head does not have discretion.

teacherwith2kids Sat 11-Jun-16 20:34:25

My understanding is that it is something that heads have the discretion to promise, but no ability to deliver, if the school is a LA school with the LA as the admission authority.

If the head says 'oh yes, we'll keep that place' [I have heard heads say e.g. 'Oh yes, we favour children who have been in the pre-school' when there is NOTHING in the admission criteria to support that] then if someone applies to the school for the vacant place, and the school is e.g. under 30 in an infant class, or under PAN elsewhere, the school has to admit the other person. You would then have to appeal on return, on the basis of what the head said, and you might or might not win.

Yiou might be lucky, and no-one else might apply. You might already be in an infant class of over 30, in which the school might be able to refuse admission of another child on the Infant Size Regs but you might [and that is a very big MIGHT] be able to appeal on the grounds that the class when you returned would be no bigger than when you left, and the school might offer no resistance.

Or someone else might apply, and it's a KS2 place, and the school might be prepared to take the other child to make up 30, and you at 31 on appeal on your return.

But my understanding is that they can't GUARANTEE you your place back - even if the class is well under 30, if 2 sets of twins applied, the places are their, not yours.

teacherwith2kids Sat 11-Jun-16 20:41:48

if your child remains on the school register, then i suppose that the school could keep the place open - BUT such a long period of absence would obviously have an impact on the school's overall attendance.

DfE stuff relevant to attendance

I suspect that the child would have to be regarded as 'having ceased to attend the school - as the absence is more than 20 days - so would have to be deleted from the register?

moreshitandnofuckingredemption Sat 11-Jun-16 20:43:23

Why don't you talk to the school and ask them?

superram Sat 11-Jun-16 20:44:48

We would take you off roll.

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-16 22:42:55

The excerpt you quote refers to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. As the words quoted show, the head teacher DOES have discretion to grant leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. However, a full term is unlikely to be granted. It would adversely impact the school's attendance statistics, which Ofsted wouldn't like, and could cause problems if other people applying for the school appeal. You need to talk to the school but it is unlikely that they will agree. If they do make sure you get it in writing as you may need it for evidence.

slowandfrumpy Sun 12-Jun-16 08:07:49

My friend was given a term out for her son at primary a year ago asnshebhadnwork abroad. The headteacher said it was ok. He had no discretion to promise anything but seems to have somehow kept it quiet that the class was one short... This is a very highly sort after school with a 0.2 catchment area so I'm not sure how that worked (no other kid joined the class). Another friend has been told by a head at another local school that he can't promise a place but he would for example support a ks2 appeal for a place on her daughters return (equally oversubscribed school). So the head does seem to have some influence but can't make guarantees.

tiggytape Sun 12-Jun-16 10:38:29

He had no discretion to promise anything but seems to have somehow kept it quiet that the class was one short...
I suppose the key issue in that instance was that nobody else asked for or appealed for a place in that year group at that particular time so there was no reason for anyone to officially find out about and then challenge the empty vacancy.
If someone had appealed, it could have come to light and the appeal panel could potentially have granted an apepal even against the Head's wishes.

Equally, if a school has plenty of vacancies in every year group, it is going to be much easier to leave for a term and then return with or without the Head's consent.

If a school has many people actively waiting and appealing for places, the school could not 'hide' an absent pupil and would potentially be much less able to justify reserving a place in this way. And as prh says, the absence issue is one that Heads now have to consider more and more.

CruCru Sun 12-Jun-16 11:19:11

A friend's school has a three week rule. However, this was brought in because so many of their kids were disappearing off to Pakistan for one or two month stretches. She said it caused quite a lot of unpleasantness when it was first brought in because the parents hadn't believed that the head / governors really would take the place away.

slowandfrumpy Sun 12-Jun-16 20:42:26

actually, tiggytape, this school has a very long waiting list and is famous for pushy mums (racially and socially mixed area, and this is the white middle class school). i'm still amazed that no one heard of it and appealed.

Hersetta427 Mon 13-Jun-16 09:07:55

A girl in my daughters class was absent visiting her father in the US for a whole half term (6 weeks). When she didn't return the day after half term her place was given away and a new pupil started the next day. I very much doubt a school would hold a place for a whole term.

lesshaste Mon 13-Jun-16 12:47:32

Thanks all. This all seems quite confusing to me. I was really hoping there was some reference-able law that says whose discretion it is at least.

Fingers crossed.

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