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Unauthorised Absence Due To Strike Action

(14 Posts)
sabab172 Thu 30-Jun-11 07:00:57

My two teenage sons are at the local secondary school which is affected by today's strike action. The school is open to Year 10 and 12 only which 60% of the teachers for those years will not be available to teach. A letter has been sent that students will be given supervised study with computers. So upshot will be most of year 10 will be doing nothing but surfing the net today. As you can imagine what most 14 year olds will be looking at Facebook and not anything too educational. My other son who is Year 9 has been told to stay at home. This has brought arguments beyond belief in this house as why my 14 year old has to go in and not my 13 year old. I have decided this morning that my 14 year old can stay at home and I realise this will be marked as an unauthorised absence. However if the school is not providing a full days education, can this unauthorised absence really be valid?

mummytime Thu 30-Jun-11 07:41:00

YABU - most schools have Facebook etc. banned, and I'm sure they will be even more hot on this. There are a lot of good computer systems they can be using in school. There will be teachers around, who could help especially with catching up on coursework etc.
My Dcs school only has year 12 going in. But if year 10 were then that DC would, if 60% of staf are on strike, that means there are 40% ready to help/work with the rest of the students, which is quite a lot. Also year 10s need to be beginning to grow up and realise their education is in their hands.
If you give him the day off, then you have to take the consequences.

cory Thu 30-Jun-11 07:45:52

mummytime is right: unlikely that he will get to see anything very inappropriate on a school computer and very likely that he will be given actual work to do

from a more parental pov I would be worried about getting myself into a situation where I was so anxious not to upset a 13yo that he had to have exactly the same as his brother; I've told my 14yo she has to go in and ignore the fact that her friends and her brother are getting the day off- some other time, it will be her that gets an easier deal

otoh one day probably won't make much difference educationally, so if you think this conciliation of your teen is likely to be a one-off, you'll just have to take the consequences of unauthorised absence

sabab172 Thu 30-Jun-11 08:10:52

Thanks for your view points - this is not a decision I've taken lightly and I am one of many responsible parents thinking the along the same line. They have finished GCSE testing and exams, otherwise I would of made him go in. The school "hopes" to provide 40% schooling and cannot guarantee their usual teachers, which was worded in the letter.

mumeeee Thu 30-Jun-11 09:51:22

YABU. Schools ban Facebook. They will mist likely be using educational programmes on the computer.

Pantene Thu 30-Jun-11 09:55:12

well i see your point sabab. If the school is only partly open and a full days education is not on the cards as there are not sufficient teachers to provide this, then i don't see why the children have to be in school, as it seems as they are only providing a childminding service.


prosopon Thu 30-Jun-11 09:58:19

agree that most school ban facebook but there are plenty of other things students can access that are not desirable, schools are very poor at keeping up with teenage internet behaviour. If I was home I might keep them with me to ensure proper supervision but I wouldn't keep one home because the other had to go in. If not at home I'd make sure that the one at home had so much to do they would rather be at school smile - with penalties for not doing it.

Pantene Thu 30-Jun-11 10:00:49

They would certainly get a better education at home on a day such as this, if the parent were there to supervise.

Kez100 Thu 30-Jun-11 12:34:53

I would send my child in but I can understand why some might not, if the curriculum has been disbanded for the day. I still suspect year 10 will be working on target work not surfing. It is difficult to surf in a school now, so much of the net is unaccessible.

I'd just accept the unauthorised absence - it doesn't count toward a childs reference anyway does it? It's the schools problem if they get a high unauthorised absence rate. I know we had a problem at our school when they kept it open in the snow and had a low turnout. OFSTED accepted an adjusted % rate to comment on because they appreciated the school had caused itself a statistical problem whilst having done the best for the children.

I also agree the child would likely get a better provision at home today if the parent was able to supervise (or the child trustworthy). My two are both off and have homework to do and one has GCSE study to be getting on with and the other music practice for a grade being sat next week. I've said, once lunchtime comes, if it is all done they can go out with their mates.

sabab172 Thu 30-Jun-11 13:46:12

Well I think my judgement has been correct - apparently all sorts of problems have arisen today. Only 40% of pupils have turned up. They were sent to the ICT suite to "get on with it" and no lessons have been given to them and no instructions for what they are studying. 30 pupils have walked out at lunchtime and the school have rang the parents saying they must be returned to school or face detention. It sounds a bit of a farce going on so glad now I have kept them off. My boys have done some homework today and now have free time.

blueemerald Thu 30-Jun-11 23:04:04

I work in a secondary school and facebook/hotmail/youtube etc are not blocked. They barred them for a bit but even the lowest ability students were able to get around the "ban" within a week. (Google "how to access facebook from school if blocked") just for starters

sabab172 Fri 01-Jul-11 06:12:05

Well I didn't think I was being unreasonable in my comment over Facebook as I know for a fact that they watch these sites at school. Only 50 pupils turned up out of 200 and told to go to the ICT suite where they were left with one member of staff who was reading the paper. Not one lesson was given to these pupils. The pupils spent the morning surfing on the internet, and on Facebook because I saw their comments myself, complaining that they were just dumped in this classroom. The only reason in my opinion that they asked the Year 10's to come in is the fact that they could be left barely supervised. You wouldn't be able to leave the Year 7's for example in the same situation. I have written to the school as to why my son did not go in. I will also be following up the unauthorised absence because if no education was given yesterday and my son was available to be taught, I cannot see how this can be given.

cory Fri 01-Jul-11 08:37:21

from the sounds of it you made a reasonable estimation of how things were likely to be at your school, which is the best you can do: I didn't agree with keeping big brother happy as an argument, but I can absolutely see your pov if school is not a suitable environment on a strike day

it seems as if internet supervision varies from place to place, and presumably other supervision too

toutlemonde Fri 01-Jul-11 20:06:23

I kept my DS off school even though his class were meant to be in. I'm quite happy for him to have one 'unauthorised absense' marked in his record (his only absence for any reason in the school year) in support of the striking teachers. This aside, the information you had from the school led you to believe he was unlikely to get a proper day's education, so fair enough that you didn't want to send him in. Given the plea by the education secretary to keep schools open at all costs, even by pulling in random parents off the street to supervise, I'm suprised more parents didn't do the same (or perhaps they did!)

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