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Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thornyhill, and if those were the circumstance the school wouldn't have approved the leave request in the past. So back to my question - why the change?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

So back to my question - why the change?


to take the matter out of the hands of head teachers? Just up Mr Gove's street, I'd say. It's clear from some of the contributions to this and other threads on the subject that some head teachers HAVE approved holiday absence in term time.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I just rang my kids school to make sure he doesn't have any exams in January and asked would it be ok to take them both (they are yr 8 &10) on a skiing trip. The head of year even rang the examining board to check this. I offered to take work away and she said this could be arranged no problem. She never once mentioned about the legislation changing - this was yesterday (my son goes to an academy)
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Megamum wrote:
Elizabeth B, I'm a school governor so I know a little about things like this. I have never seen much of a strategic reason behind inset days.


I can't comment on your school but I know that locally they are chosen for specific reasons. IIRC some are set centrally, so that city wide training can take place, and others are timed dependent on the content. To have them attached to the summer holidays means that examination classes get more teaching, as the inset days are after they have finished. Believe me, 5 days can make a big difference as to whether you complete an AS syllabus or not.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

So back to my question - why the change?


to take the matter out of the hands of head teachers? Just up Mr Gove's street, I'd say. It's clear from some of the contributions to this and other threads on the subject that some head teachers HAVE approved holiday absence in term time.


But it doesn't take it away from Head Teachers, all it does is remove the reference to holidays and replaces it with a vague "in exceptional circumstances" without defining what these are.

So again why the change?

Seems to me that we are replacing a well understood system with a confusing one? Typical government then!
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Quote:


Seems to me that we are replacing a well understood system with a confusing one?



I'm afraid that is standard practice where education is concerned. But then again, if you wait around long enough it will change back again. That's also what usually happens in education. rolling eyes
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Teachers at my daughters' schools were happy enough for them to lose a day's education last year whilst they went on strike and they were planning more strike days beyond that so were in principle content for her to lose half a school week to strike. Add on to that the last day before end of terms where they do little teaching and play games, well that's a week skiing right there. On that basis alone I had no problem taking my kids in term time from a moral stance. By the time I had considered the life experience they gain from a quality time with Mum and Dad all skiing together it was a no brainer. The loss of two weeks school over the past two years has not affected my kids one jot and they cherish those holidays enormously, experiences they would never have had otherwise as I could not afford to take them at half term. And in context with the thread even if I had then been fined £50 per child for an unauthorised absence it would still have been way cheaper than booking in half term. Our head teacher had no hesitation in authorising absence it's simple common sense.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just to put some context on to how one sided this is, and I can see it from both sides as I am a school governor as well, my daughter would need to apply for a day off and we too have been told that NO abscence for holidays will be 'authorised' But its ok for the shool to organise thier ski trip during the term time!! now thats the sort of thing that really causes friction with parents!!! (and far be it for the cynic in me to suggest that not only will the teachers get a 'freebie' but it also will not impinge into their holiday entitlement!!!) Evil or Very Mad
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And don't get me started on how quick and happy the school is to close at the sight of snow Evil or Very Mad
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iskar,
Quote:

(and far be it for the cynic in me to suggest that not only will the teachers get a 'freebie' but it also will not impinge into their holiday entitlement!!!)




Hmmm, I do have to say that as an ex-teacher who has been on many a residential trip (although admittedly not of the skiing variety) with teenagers, it isn't much of a 'freebie' in the sense that it is bloody hard work, and you certainly don't get much sleep. Teenagers have endlessly inventive ways of getting themselves into trouble, (bless'em) and patrolling corridors in the wee small hours of the morning fielding 'lost' teens, isn't a great deal of fun, I can assure you!

It is also the case that if teachers weren't prepared to put on residentials, there are many kids who would never actually have a chance to do stuff like skiing, because their parents wouldn't take them. I must admit, I've never heard of it taking place during term time though, (unless it's some kind of competition, and kids are representing the school), that does seem rather bizarre!
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We got the bad news a week or so ago. The headmistress is annoyed as she is usually happy for the kids to take an educational week away, but now her hands are tied. Mrs M has written to Mr Gove.
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We've always taken the kids out of school for "winter sports training". But never for a holiday.

As it is training, the school put it down as educational, not as an absence.

Next year it might be a little difference, as eldest will now be in a different school, and we may have to educate the head teacher.
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I don't have a problem with taking the odd day off, as above, we had to do this one year when we had 2 kids in different schools and one was across a county line and the Feb half term was different. The absence was not authorised, I was summoned to see the head when I calmly explained why my 8 year old would be away (because his 12 year old sister's holiday fell another week which was cheaper!) she said she would be reporting me, I said Ok fine, and when we got his stats at the end of the year school had recorded it as authorised after all.
But there are 2-3 weeks holidays at Christmas (having Christmas away can be logistically complex but it's lovely to do something different and get out of the "your family or mine" rut... and the same at Easter. Half term is so crowded! This year 2014 my son's Easter hols start on 29 March and I shall be off to France then. They ski all through April anyway, there will be snow, and the weather's usually good. snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
RobW, I like your style!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
My policy for my teenage kids is to find out when the school ski trip is on (normally end of Jan) and book my skiing that week. TBH in Wales we also have a slightly more flexible system where common sense appears to prevail!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I'm taking the kids out of school for a couple of days so that they (& me of course) can go to Glastonbury.
While I get that many may not feel that Glastonbury is as 'educational' as a ski trip, I have the view that taking them somewhere so different from our very suburban little life is a great way to make them realise that there is more than one kind of person / life style / perspective out there (and I'm NOT talking about the taking of anything dodgy).
My kids almost always get their 100% attendance certificate each term and it does make me mad having to either grovel and explain my reasoning for wanting to take my children away with me (for an event that I cannot change the date of) or having to lie - which I do feel sets a very bad precedent.
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Homey, the changes come in 1st Sept so for now you're fine - may get a different response next year
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Boris wrote:
Homey, the changes come in 1st Sept so for now you're fine - may get a different response next year


I expect we will get the same 'No' response. If they will be any more active in pursuing us through the courts for 2 days off I guess I will have to wait and see. If they don't enforce it, it makes entire system even more farcical.

I may have to throw in a January ski trip to really tick them off! (I hasten to add that the kids are both doing very well at school and I do feel that education is very important. I just don't happen to believe that school is the only place that kids learn things!)
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Thornyhill, completely agree. That is exactly what our school said when asked if I omit the "your historical abuse of the low season prices" bit from what you say (which they didnt mention). They also did say that they "preferred" one week out to one day, probably because looks less like a random couldnt be bothered day.

I also had a sabbatical back in 2008 and took the kids out from the May half term (not an exam year obviously) so 5 or 6 weeks of school missed and no ramifications..
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My younger son has just texted me to say he's 'off' next Thursday due to strike.....
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Anniepen wrote:
My younger son has just texted me to say he's 'off' next Thursday due to strike.....


For once, I hope our lot are on strike too! Thursday would be very handy Laughing
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I really don't get what the fuss is about. School wants to meddle in family life and refuses authorisation; take them out anyway. What are they going to do? If the kids make up the work and are doing reasonably well/have good attendance otherwise, the answer is absolutely nothing. It happens all the time, no education authority is going to waste the money to take you to court for going on holiday a couple of days early, unless there are other real problems going on too.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
chrisJersey wrote:
Thornyhill, completely agree. That is exactly what our school said when asked if I omit the "your historical abuse of the low season prices" bit from what you say (which they didnt mention).



Head of Junior school is also kids French teacher and a keen skiier. When we go to France they speak French. (Mine is a bit tourist, but OH is fluent) Both kids are always top of her class. She also called me a jammy b4st4rd. I can guess that your school left that bit out as well. Smile
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NickyJ wrote:
Thornyhill, and if those were the circumstance the school wouldn't have approved the leave request in the past. So back to my question - why the change?


regulation for the sake of regulation seems like the only answer...... you have to remember that all politicians are people who couldn't get a proper job Laughing
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clarky999,

I think you get like a "fixed penalty" of £60 per kid. It doubles if you refuse to pay it, then presumably if you end up in court it can get very expensive.
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The chance of the school making a big fuss over a week unauthorised absence for a child who otherwise has good attendance is pretty remote. We are taking two of our grandchildren (7 and 9) sking for the first time next season. Our daughter spoke to the class teacher about it - her response - "aren't they lucky, that's an opportunity they can't missbsolutely no suggestion of any problem. Daughter has no intention of asking the Headteacher for permission, but she will notify the class teacher that they will be absent.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
It's not about children, it's about schools records and ofsted reports.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
RobinS, they can certainly make a fuss (rightly or wrongly) and probably more so at secondary. Good attendance/behaviour/grades has no impact on the decision at our local and hasn't for the last six years. Make hay while the sun shines Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
musher wrote:
clarky999,

I think you get like a "fixed penalty" of £60 per kid. It doubles if you refuse to pay it, then presumably if you end up in court it can get very expensive.


Even if you have 5 kids, it's still a mega saving on what the holiday cost would have been if you'd have gone in the ripoff weeks! Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
There's a lot of unnecessary alarm and despondency in this thread. See here http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/education-and-careers/pupil-welfare-and-support/school-attendance-penalty-notices/

No penalty notice will be issued unless a minimum of 5 whole school days have been missed. You get formal notice of the intention to issue a notice and then have 15 days to improve the child's attendance.

So all this talk of having to pay fines and "ending up in Court" is really a bit OTT. Middle class angst. wink

Just do what you think is in the best interest of your child, and then man up and tell the truth about it.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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pam w, Id rather work with my school and within their rules - where as before there was a compromise, this has now been removed for those not in Academies. This new change means that people are more likely to be taking their children out of school without authorisation; regardless of consequences, Id rather be able to set a better example to my kids. Sure, I can say to the kids, its a silly rule - but does that not then lead them to think that if they think a rule is silly they can disregard it?

At work a couple of weeks ago the Hygienist said that her school had said that they were going to fine parents who took their kids out of school for holidays. I hadnt heard about this change then. The school has obviously decided to use this change to come down hard and threaten parents (the school overall attendance does need improving though her own kids attendance is great).
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(BTW - both my kids are in Academies, so I dont think this applies)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Shimmy Alcott, I agree entirely, and I'm sure the school would prefer that too, but this has been taken out of the hands of schools (like so much else in Mr Gove's peculiar universe). As kids grow up though there will be more instances of conflicts between different sets of "rules" - most seriously when there are very different ideas about religion, more trivially when some families have strict rules that you eat everything on your plate, etc etc. We used to take our kids out of school for ski holidays in early January - always with permission.

I am not advocating that people should take their kids out of school - but I am advocating that if they decide to do so they shouldn't tell lies, and require the children to tell lies, about it.

We were just talking about education - my son in law, a teacher, just noted that in Finland, which has one of the best educational attainment rates in Europe (and one of the shorter school days/years) a decision of principle was taken some years ago that education should be completely outside the political realm. Governments come and go but none of them have anything to do with it.

Sounds like a terribly good idea to me.....
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Quote:

Sure, I can say to the kids, its a silly rule - but does that not then lead them to think that if they think a rule is silly they can disregard it?


I'm not sure that's such a bad thing for them to learn, stupid rules should be stood up to/changed - like whoever it was who recently posted on here about his work banning employees from talking about politics/etc online.
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Quote:

Sure, I can say to the kids, its a silly rule - but does that not then lead them to think that if they think a rule is silly they can disregard it?


I'm not sure that's such a bad thing for them to learn, stupid rules should be stood up to/changed - like whoever it was who recently posted on here about his work banning employees from talking about politics/etc online, or a government banning political protests.
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I would phone the headmaster for a quiet discussion about the matter. With the previous regulations lots of pupils from the school I teach in went on skiing holidays - during term time. I do no know of the request being turned down (in my school) - unless of course the pupil has a poor attendance and/or disciplinary record. A boy I teach (whom ski races) had about 6 weeks out last year. I cannot tell you what will happen next year. Lots of schools take their INSET days at the beginning of Half-term breaks and other holidays - for obvious reasons. If you just need the Friday then say the travel is already booked - when you request the absence.
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clarky999, yes, but you are thinking as a rational adult; surely kids think practically every rule is stupid eg why cant I play my Nintendo at the table, why cant I dye my hair three different colours, why do I have to go to bed at 9pm, why do I have to clean my teeth etc etc we know the reasons why - but to kids its all just a PITA TBH
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I took mine out once, a week before half term. Never crossed my mind until we were in resort that the kids were on holiday the following week and I had no holidays left. panicked until I got hold of my parents who agreed to visit for a week. Not doing that again, ski at NY and Easter instead, way cheaper.
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Quote:

you are thinking as a rational adult


Shimmy Alcott, first time I've been called one of those Laughing
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i alway take out two out, although they are young at 7 & 5.......but my view is they will learn more about life experience than what they miss at school.

Schools organise and run whole week ski trips so if they deem it educational then...or is it just a free weeks jolly for the teachers ?? LOL
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