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Time off in reception during term-time

(16 Posts)
Rebecca41 Thu 01-Apr-10 20:44:37

Can I have your thoughts on this?

DS1 is an August baby, so he is the youngest in reception.

He likes school, but finds it totally exhausting. His behaviour has been appalling at home since starting school in January, because he's so tired at the end of the day. He's been on Easter holidays for a week now, and I've got my lovely little boy back again!

Anyway, I'm a working single parent, and I work with other parents of school-age children. Consequently we have to take turns having annual leave in school holidays. This means that for most of DS's holidays I'll be working, and for some of my holidays he'll be at school.

I have a week of annual leave in May, and I want to take DS out of school for a week. I have no concerns about him missing anything (he's bright, and let's face it, it's only reception), but I'm not sure that school will see it that way.

I don't have a trip away planned, just some chill-out time and some day-trips.

Is this unreasonable?

I'm not sure whether to formally ask for the time off from the head, and risk being refused. Or whether to pretend he's ill - which could be tricky because it's a tiny village school and he'd be spotted in the village. He's still only 4, so legally he doesn't have to be at school at all. Does this mean they can't turn me down? I've heard on the parent grapevine that term-time absence is only allowed for "family holidays abroad"! I can't manage this - I'm on my own, and I have a baby too - a foreign holiday would be too hard!!

niftyfifty Thu 01-Apr-10 21:11:13

I think you can take up to 10 days holiday per year as long as it is authorised. If his attendance is good, I can't see any reason why they would turn you down and you don't have to say where you are (or aren't!) going. Better to get it authorised than to say he's ill and then spend the week trying to not be seen by anyone from school grin

Mousesmummy Thu 01-Apr-10 21:18:32

That's a toughie! Personally I'd be inclined to speak directly to the Head. Our head is VERY strict abut this sort of thing and we recently had letters home to say the '10 days' thing is rubbish? However I suspect your Head would be sympathetic given the crcumstances and as log as you dn't appear to be making a habit of it throughout later years. Good luck and enjoy the time with your son if approved!! xx

EvilTwins Thu 01-Apr-10 21:25:50

Two things - 1. Your DS isn't yet 5, so he does not LEGALLY have to be at school yet. 2. All children are allowed 10 days for "family holiday" (whether abroad or not) so the head cannot refuse permission. I know that schools don't like it, as it goes down as authorised absence which brings down their attendance figures, but the school will not be allowed to refuse permission. You are entitled to take him out.

Do speak to the head though - fill in the holiday form and have it authorised. Not worth being underhand or lying about it, IMO.

Littlefish Thu 01-Apr-10 22:02:47

Eviltwins - A head can refuse to give authorisation for time off school during termtime. It is then up the parents whether they still wish to go. If they do, the absence is marked as "unauthorised".

This is the guidance from the "directgov" website:

You should not normally take your child on holiday in term time as it can be disruptive both to your child's education and to the school.

Holidays in term time can only be agreed by the headteacher or someone with appropriate authority. Schools can use their discretion to grant up to 10 days’ authorised absence in a school year if both:

the parent the child normally lives with applies to the school in advance of the holiday
there are special reasons for the holiday

Schools can only agree to more than 10 school days’ absence in any school year in exceptional circumstances.

Schools must judge each holiday request on a case by case basis. They can take into consideration:

the time of year for the proposed trip
if it's near any exam dates
your child's overall attendance pattern
any holidays already taken in the school year
the age and stage of education of your child
your wishes
the ability of your child to catch up the work that they have missed
the reason why you are taking the time off during term time

Schools should not take into consideration:

availability of cheap holidays
availability of desired accommodation
poor weather experienced in school holiday periods
overlap with the beginning or end of term

EvilTwins Thu 01-Apr-10 22:23:18

Ooo, I didn't know that. Thought it was just that people could take 2 weeks but no more than that. Thanks.

What about the under 5 thing though? A friend of mine with an August baby said told me recently that she wishes now that she had put her DD in school Mon- Thurs only when she was reception age as she was so tired from a full week. Would she have been able to do that?

MintHumbug Thu 01-Apr-10 22:24:37

EvilTwins - parents don't have a right to take children out for 10 days a year. They have a right to request it and it can be refused (I know several people who've had holiday requests refused so it definitely does happen)

Saying that though one of the reasonable grounds to make a request is if the parent cannot get annual leave in school holidays so is forced to take time off in term time (I guess they may ask for proof) so I am sure the Head would understand if that is the case.

TrowelAndError Thu 01-Apr-10 22:35:34

I suspect that the under-five thing is a red herring. Someone may come along later and correct me, but I think the point here is that a child does not legally have to be enrolled in school until they are 5 but once parents enrol their child in school, whether or not they are 5, they are expected to send them regularly and can't then opt in and out. And as has been mentioned, the 10 days' off in a year is not an entitlement - it's something that parents can request and schools can refuse. Our LEA is coming down hard on term time holidays at the moment and fewer requests are being granted.

mrz Fri 02-Apr-10 08:12:07

If a child is under the age of 5 the school can't take action for unauthorised absence- so can't send the EWO round or issue fines etc

brassband Fri 02-Apr-10 12:02:13

they have a different code for recording absence of under5s, so it isn't marked as unauthorised absence.

ommmward Fri 02-Apr-10 14:53:28

until the term after your child's 5th birthday, they do not have to be in full time education at school or otherwise (there is no legal requirement for any child to be in school ). Until that point, school is simply something you avail yourself of as little or as much as suits your child. And if they have "a cold" every thursday, then that's your business. Follow what the child needs, not the convenience of some register taker

gingernutlover Fri 02-Apr-10 15:42:43

YANBU to request the time - and even if the head will not authorise it, you can still keep him off, stating that you understand it is unauthorised and will be on his attendance record.

Doesn't matter where you are going on the holiday.

He will miss a weeks worth of school work though, and whilst you say "it's only reception" he will still miss out on a week's worth of stuff that everyone else will get to do. That doesnt matter whether he is in reception or in another year IMO.

ShoshanaBlue Mon 05-Apr-10 22:50:53

Our school will routinely allow holidays of up to 2 weeks if attendance is usually good. However, I do know of a school where a month's holiday was authorised for a reception child!

peteneras Sat 20-Oct-12 10:58:38

Is anyone any clearer about the law regarding the under 5's absence from school during term time? My take is that, like someone already said, a child is not legally required to be at school when under 5 years old. Therefore, it reasons to say nursery kids and reception kids can just disappear from school for as long as they like, doesn't matter where they go or for how long. But of course, it's only courteous to inform the head for the absence. Any education lawyers out ther please correct me.

midseasonsale Sat 20-Oct-12 19:41:22

There is no legal obligation to attend school up until the term after the 5th birthday. So next September for you boy. The educational social workers (ESW's) wouldn't be interested in his non attendance up to this date.

mrz Sat 20-Oct-12 19:56:54

Sorry that isn't true midseasonsale

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