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Taking children out of school....

 Poster: A snowHead
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I have just gone ahead and booked flights for next year but to get them affordable I have inadvertently (cough) booked Monday of Feb halfterm until Monday first day back at school.

So what do I do - do I apply for permission (which won't be granted but should be safe as under the threshold for reporting to local authority) or do I phone in and claim they are ill?
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@NickyJ, apply for permission and if refused tell the school you are taking them out anyway. why lie if there is no real penalty?
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Quote:

why lie if there is no real penalty?

agreed - I'm strongly opposed to lying in this situation. But I wouldn't ask for permission, either, as you will then be "in the wrong" and will put the school in an awkward position. They might not want to be stroppy but can't legitimately give you permission, either.

I'd just write (but not yet, perhaps) and inform the school that the children will not be back till the tuesday after half term, because of a family holiday.
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and don't talk about it in front of the kids. If they ask, just explain without drama, when you are going, that they'll miss the Monday because you'll only be flying home, then. Then they won't be required to tell any lies, either, and can happily chat about their holiday.
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@pam w, much better advice!
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Lying doesn't feel right and I don't feel comfortable about it, but same score worried it may cause issues later if I don't. However my understanding is they are unlikely to report me (and I my understanding is they aren't obliged to for less than 5days).

anybody had any issues with doing so?
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Just email the school on the Monday morning and tell them the kids were sick overnight, and so in accordance with school policy will not be in for 24hrs. Or just tell them your flight is delayed and so they won't be back until Tuesday morning.

We had a problem this year when oski was due to travel back overnight with a friend, but said friend broke his arm so couldn't drive! I managed to get him back 12hrs later, and explained this to school but they still put the day down as unauthorised absence - even though we tried our best to make sure he was back.
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Quote:

they still put the day down as unauthorised absence

a day's unauthorised absence really isn't a problem, but telling kids that it's OK to tell lies to get out of trouble really is. I just don't see why people would do this and it puts a very unfair pressure on the kids. Nice teacher, or one who suspects foul play, asks child if they are feeling better, whether siblings were sick too, etc etc. What are the poor little sods supposed to do - look down, shuffle their feet and mutter something? Most school teachers can tell a mile off when kids are lying - especially nice, well brought up kids who have been taught that lying is wrong. Until it suddenly isn't. rolling eyes

Make sure you know your LEA's policy on unauthorised absence really well - there's a lot of confusion about this and some schools seem to be taking their own line. Sometimes (usually) rather more pragmatic and sensible but othertimes very hawkish. No harm letting the hawkish ones know that you are very well aware of the rules - and I think it's true to say that schools cannot on their own take any action on unauthorised absence - even for much longer times.
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Taking children out of school to ski?

Just Do It!

We did for years. (Having said that, ours are now 19 and 22, times may have changed....still would take them out though)
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@sequoiaboard, I am definitelY doing it I deliberated for about a week (and paid £30 extra for taking that time). I was just wondering if I would cause any issues for my children by having a 1 day unauthorised absence on their records.

So far this school year my daughter is on 100% attendance and last year she had a half day absence (Over the whole year) as she didn't start school until 9:15 One day due to a 9am doctors appointment.
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I'm quite sure that one day off school isn't going to harm your kids chances of getting a job so don't stress over it. Is there a prize for 100% attendance? No? Then don't worry.
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@homers double, not but they do get certificates for 100% in eldest school (youngest school certificate threshold is 95%).

More concerned with secondary school admittance policies? Than anything else? As next year she will be yr 5 so the following year we will be applying for secondary schools.
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@NickyJ, Definately with @pam w, on this one. How old are your kids?
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NickyJ wrote:
@homers double, not but they do get certificates for 100% in eldest school (youngest school certificate threshold is 95%).

More concerned with secondary school admittance policies? Than anything else? As next year she will be yr 5 so the following year we will be applying for secondary schools.


Really? Not having kids myself is this what our society has come to....? Education is no doubt important but "you MUST have your child in school ALL of the time, otherwise they will FAIL AT LIFE" give me a break....
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@Levi215,this is all new to every one really as they issued the policy from September and are reissuing (in Hampshire a change next September), I am probably just getting fearful but data like this once collected is often used for other things in my experience. So before I stick to my own personal standards I want to make sure in this instance it isn't being used for anything more.

Age of my girls for the week I am talking about they will be 6 (yr 1) and 9 (yr 5).
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@NickyJ, I really can't believe, especially now that the Dreadful Gove has gone, that missing a day's school will effect which secondary school a child can go to, years later.

However, parents need to get involved in this, not just moan. Issues such as selection criteria for secondary schools (and so much more) are vital aspects of local politics. I think it was Brighton where they simply had a lottery - paying absolutely no attention to where people lived in the area - and there's probably something to be said for that, compared to the distortions caused by middle class parents paying for schools on the "right side of the road".

The crippling anxiety about education which seem to kick in when kids are about 4 months old is one of the scourges of modern life.

My parents took me out of school for holidays (not skiing, they could never have afforded a ski holiday) and I took my kids out, in turn. It IS different now because of the rules but I am astonished how many parents just seem to have capitulated - or have accepted, without significant qualms, that you just tell lies and get the kids to tell lies.

There was another dreadful report today about an atheist Bangladeshi blogger being murdered. Have British parents lost the courage even to tell the truth about a day off school for a family holiday? If they honestly think their kids are going to be "victimised" for this they should be out there in force, protesting about it and engaging with LEAs, school governors etc.

Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Quote:

a day's unauthorised absence really isn't a problem, but telling kids that it's OK to tell lies to get out of trouble really is. I just don't see why people would do this and it puts a very unfair pressure on the kids


This. When we do this (actually its usually leaving school early on the last Friday of (half) term) we just inform the school the day before that the children will be absent. IF they query why we would tell them. We are very clear with the kids that it is between us and the school - if teachers ask them then they are to refer them to us. We haven't had any issues but our kids do have very good attendance records and exemplary behaviour* so the school has other fish to fry.

*that sounds very pompous but our boy actually got an award for that last year. Sometimes difficult to reconcile with his bouts of stroppiness at home Very Happy
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Quote:

that sounds very pompous but our boy actually got an award for that last year. Sometimes difficult to reconcile with his bouts of stroppiness at home

Laughing heard about a lad like that yesterday - my sister in law had lunch with me. One of her grandchildren has constant awards for being supremely well behaved at school and a general little goody goody but he's in an almost constant state of stroppiness at home.
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It keeps happening to us: twice this year by the time they have returned at the end of the summer break.
We find that the school don't require much of an explanation: " couldn't get back in time", "Couldn't get back from France due to the snow" "Stuck in France, should be on our way tomorrow" are all explanations we have used, and never been challenged.
That said, given that the school closes given the the first flurry of white stuff, I was always prepared for, if not hoping for, something of a challenge. Toofy Grin

Ours are all at High School, and I am quite sure that it would not be appropriate to pull them out for longer than a couple of days per year. The loss of (mediocre) High School teaching is more than compensated by some Private tuition which is neccesary to clear the confused and diluted teaching of our "Outstanding" High School.
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@NickyJ, have you booked accommodation?
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@Frosty the Snowman, will be staying into parents apartment they won't be going out next season so have free weeks to use Happy.
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When do you normally have to notify the school office if they are off school?
I can't remember the procedure when mine were at primary school (and it may have changed anyway Confused ), but I do remember that we had to email the school on the day (or before) if they were absent when at secondary school - or they would phone us to check.

On that basis, I wouldn't have bothered to tell the primary school beforehand, and just emailed in on the Tuesday morning before they returned to school.
If they have to be informed, then drop them an email either the weekend before you go or the Monday morning before you travel home. I wouldn't want to give them any more notice than is strictly necessary as it only gives them time to make more of an issue of it.
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Its a different system up here, with no element of 'punishment' I'm aware of. We've had to take the kids out of school for various reasons over the years, not usually holidays, more family weddings etc. The only time I can remember something more 'frivolous' was taking the eldest son out for 2 days for his boys football team trip to Manchester. Even then, on letting them know, we got a reply from the Secondary School along the lines of "Thanks for letting us know. We'll need to put the time down as 'unauthorised absence' but we hope he enjoys the trip".

Earlier this year my wife, who is a teacher with the same local authority (Aberdeenshire) was told by a colleague that apparently the authority has a policy that allows children to be taken out of school during term time to go skiing. We've never been informed officially of that, or seen it written down anywhere I could find though. Unfortunately for us, the policy does not extend to the teachers so we're stuck with going during school holidays (or weekends locally i.e. Glenshee, Lecht).
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@NickyJ, this season just gone, I sent an email to the school before Christmas stating Sideways_Jnr would be absent Tues 6th-Fri 9th Jan and I accepted that this would go down as an authorised absence on his record, I didn't ask for permission just stated fact. The headteacher acknowledged it verbally and said just be careful for the rest of the year - of the 190 days in school, these 4 days off would give him an attendance rate of 97.8% which is above the school target anyway. I know of one mum with whose pfb son has had more than that days sick in the first 2 terms from minor snivels so I don't feel guilty! Even though he's in Reception, he was 5 by the time we went away so fell into their absence stats. And he will do next winter too , fortunately Sideways_Jnr2 is summer born so he doesn't "have to" be in school til after the season finishes anyway, excellent inadvertent planning there on our parts! Very Happy
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Just say they're on strike, if its ok for the teachers its ok for the pupils in my mind.

got a similar problem for my wedding next year, my sister is refusing to come because the head of her kids school says they arnt allowed even an afternoon off. The kids 5! Just what is he going to miss thats so important?
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Quote:

my sister is refusing to come because the head of her kids school says they arnt allowed even an afternoon off.

that's a great shame - and also rather ridiculous, I reckon. I would simply politely inform the school that the lad is going to his uncle's wedding. Sounds like she's just looking for an excuse. wink

@Ray Zorro, everything's different these days. You are expected to inform the school beforehand if a child is going to be absent - so whilst mopping up the vomit with one hand, you're trying to find the phone number for the school with the other. rolling eyes They are also hugely controlling about picking kids up. Not just the baby classes are not allowed out without a known adult there to pick them up. I feel it's all gone a bit far, really. Even the kids who live really near the school don't seem to walk there on their own, these days.
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@pam w,

(a bit off topic)

There was an interesting segment on the BBC R4 PM programme yesterday about freedom for kids in the US. There was a horrific example of child protection officials turning up on someone's doorstep with the choice for the parents of signing a detailed child care plan (or some such term) on the spot or having the child removed there and then: all for the 'crime' of having allowed the child (I forget exactly how old, 11 or so I think) to walk a few blocks from school, alone. And a similar case where the child was picked off the street and the parents weren't informed until well after dark. There's an organised movement to fight back, with a couple of people pointing out that most US cities are safer in every regard for children than a generation ago, and that children cannot develop any degree of street wisdom is they're not allowed out by themselves or in groups. I think I would have been clapped in irons: our girls were allowed to roam the countryside from an early age - provided they took our intimidating dog with them. wink

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tl3jr

I would say the segment was about 45 mins through if you're interested.
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Quote:

the segment was about 45 mins through if you're interested.


I'm not sure I could bear to listen - it would be bad for my blood pressure and I'd probably end up shouting at the radio.
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laundryman wrote:
@pam w,

(a bit off topic)

There was an interesting segment on the BBC R4 PM programme yesterday about freedom for kids in the US. There was a horrific example of child protection officials turning up on someone's doorstep with the choice for the parents of signing a detailed child care plan (or some such term) on the spot or having the child removed there and then: all for the 'crime' of having allowed the child (I forget exactly how old, 11 or so I think) to walk a few blocks from school, alone. And a similar case where the child was picked off the street and the parents weren't informed until well after dark. There's an organised movement to fight back, with a couple of people pointing out that most US cities are safer in every regard for children than a generation ago, and that children cannot develop any degree of street wisdom is they're not allowed out by themselves or in groups. I think I would have been clapped in irons: our girls were allowed to roam the countryside from an early age - provided they took our intimidating dog with them. wink

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tl3jr

I would say the segment was about 45 mins through if you're interested.


they have a funny attitude to walking in the US though, we were walking as a group of about 8 back to our hotel which was maybe half a mile away. Several cars stopped and they were realy concerned we were ok, they though we'd crashed the car or something but simply could not understand we'd chosen to walk home. I saw a preogramme where there was a bloke who drove down his drive to get the post and then drove back up it again.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

my sister is refusing to come because the head of her kids school says they arnt allowed even an afternoon off.

that's a great shame - and also rather ridiculous, I reckon. I would simply politely inform the school that the lad is going to his uncle's wedding. Sounds like she's just looking for an excuse. wink
.


yep, I think shes just trying to get us to plan it for a different date realy, theres no way she will actually miss my wedding. She is terrified of crossing school head though but it just seems ridiculous to me that there are such strikt controlls on a 5 year old. Missing 1 day of colouring and lego is hardly going to mean he cant become Prime Minister
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Family had a similar problem with a wedding last year. Head was told that 3 of the children would be absent to be bridesmaids. Head refused permission and it was an unauthorised absence. Apparently it was not an 'exceptional circumstance'. The school concerned is next to the church and the infants all came out of lessons to throw confetti at their classroom assistant. rolling eyes
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Quote:

Family had a similar problem with a wedding last year. Head was told that 3 of the children would be absent to be bridesmaids. Head refused permission and it was an unauthorised absence. Apparently it was not an 'exceptional circumstance'. The school concerned is next to the church and the infants all came out of lessons to throw confetti at their classroom assistant. rolling eyes

Have I got this right - the teaching assistant, a paid position, was given leave to go to the wedding, but the pupils were refused.
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@johnE, She's part-time and was still on maternity leave.
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Quote:

Missing 1 day of colouring and lego is hardly going to mean he cant become Prime Minister

I thought Eton had a more enlightened attitude to absences.
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However, the head of the secondary school that the 4th bridesmaid attended was happy to give permission.
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Try this.

Dear Headteacher,

On February 19th? next year my children, Bill and Ben, will be accompanying us on an educational visit to the French Alps. They will be undertaking the following learning activities:

Languages Speaking French and experiencing French culture
Science Learning about friction, air resistance, gravity, vectors, moments and stopping distances. In additional, studying the effects of insulation. All in the Physics National Curriculum.
Geography Studying a mountainous region, glaciation, weather phenomena and economic development in an environmentally sensitive area.
History Studying boundary changes in the Alpine region
Physical Education Improving technique, balance, stamina in the sport of skiing
Food Technology Studying the use of high rainfall areas to produce high fat cheeses to create highly calorific diets to meet then needs of a cold climate and high levels of physical exercise.
Business studies. Learning about maximising revenues whilst onboard a short haul airline and maximising profit margins in businesses that operate for only a percentage of year in inaccessible locations
Social,Moral, Spiritual and Cultural visiting some of the most awe inspiring scenery on earth whilst engaging socially in a different culture.

I am aware that, under the Ofsted Framework 2014, schools should monitor the education provision for any education that takes place off site or from another provider. Therefore, I am quite happy, upon their return, to write a brief synopsis of the attainment of Bill and Ben with regard to the above learning objectives.

I am very grateful for the hours that your staff have invested in taking my children on some of your educational visits such as ........... These trips very much benefitted their 'whole' education immensely and it is very pleasing to see that you encourage learning outside the classroom. These visits were marked as 'approved educational activity' on the school register. I'm sure this trip will be marked in the same way on Bill and Ben's attendance record.

Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation with this matter.

Yours........
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@cameronphillips2000, I do like that letter Happy
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@NickyJ, its for one day? Just fill out the normal holiday form. It will be marked as unauthorised but that is all. Our local authority states 10 sessions (5 days) in two consecutive terms could result in a fine. My girls just missed 4 days when we went to Florida over Easter. Primary School just said "it wont be authorised but enjoy your hols", secondary school sent a letter stating I could receive a fine (which was naughty of them but it didnt worry me as I knew the LEA's rules). We got back on 23/4 and so far have heard nothing further and I doubt I will.

I believe in just following the normal procedure and stating it is a holiday as I dont agree with the changes to the law and I want the school and the LEA to know it.
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Send the letter. I used to be the person authorising school holidays. I think a ski holiday is a most worthwhile educational activity. Far more than trip to Eurodisney or Alton Towers, which many schools do in school time.
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Quote:

I used to be the person authorising school holidays

Schools are now not allowed to authorise holiday absence of this kind. No problem though - as @Shimmy Alcott describes. People just have to get used to the idea that a couple of days of "unauthorised absence" is not the End of the World. If it's lots of days and if all concerned decide to jump through the various hoops there might be a modest fine. Still not the End of the World, really. Even in our world, which so often makes a huge fuss about nothing.
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