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Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
uktrailmonster, how old will your daughter be? If still 4 then, they don't legally need to be in school until the term AFTER they turn 5.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
NickyJ, She'll be 5 in September.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Boris wrote:
uktrailmonster, is a suggested trigger - but I suspect that mitigating factors of good attendence etc may mean nothing is done.

While they may well say no - would still be worth writing a letter to school to outline your plans.


Yes, we will. Actually wrote one this year when she was at the school nursery (same school she will be attending). Received no reply to the letter, although the teachers did comment on how much more confident she was on her return. I guess a month in BC in March is a bit more stimulating for the young mind than winter nursery in Towcester Smile
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uktrailmonster, Towcester is a thriving metropolis compared to the ghost town which is Brackley!!!!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Have you ever drunk in in the working mens club....
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ansta1, nope

To be fair, with 3 kids I rarely go into town apart! That in itself part of the problem as a lot of folk are in similar position,
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Was speaking to a Mum at school last week and she has been given an authorised absence for her two kids for the last two days of this term as she is going abroad to get married. Im going to tell the head today that Izzie will be missing her last day of school as we are off on holiday - dont expect him to authorise it, though I will say that it is the only week we can take off in the Summer (our nurses and hygienist are all Mums of childbearing age and they need to take annual leave in the Summer hols at it would be too expensive for childcare). Two of them dont even have a holiday booked, they just need to take the time then for childcare reasons.
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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 the kids out on Friday to get to Le Tour - I haven't been arrested or fined - yet
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http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-couple-criminal-record-taking-7398782
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Private school kids have shorter terms the state schools. Lock 'em all up I say.
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Shimmy Alcott, read that - as with all the stories it is light on facts and background

They missed over 13 days - which is above teh 10-day threshold which most LEAs seem to have. We don't know their attendence record prior to this - was it good or crap? Not clear if they advised the school of the circumstances for holiday, or just went.

Again the criminal record is for non payment of the fine and not for taking the kids out of school. They could have paid the fine and been done with it.

The fine was for £240 - dare I say a couple who can go to Oz for 3-weeks may be able to afford that?

As Pam has pointed out several times - there is an awful lot of rubbish and one-sidedness being printed in the papers in true tabloid alarmist fashion. I admit to being guilty of believing it earlier in this thread.

Checking the regs for Northants CC - I would be confident taking my kids out for at least a week without fear of any fine.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The chief of Humberside Police has written to head teachers requesting that term-time holidays be permitted

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-28226694


Also, I'd be interested to know what 'exceptional circumstances' were quoted by the parents of the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon.

another consideration, is how it might affect the tourism industry. Some seem to think there will be knock on effects:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10949870/School-holiday-rules-damaging-British-tourism.html
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Boris, bringing the discussion back to its rightful thread.....

The Taylor review said 'That changes are made to the pupil registration regulations to strengthen the rules on term time holidays. While head teachers should continue to have discretion, holidays in term time should be the exception rather than the rule.'. By my reckoning, changing the rules to say 'exceptional circumstances' instead of 'special circumstances' is no more than tightening the rules and not a complete change. AFAIK head teachers do still have discretion, but are expected to comply with the 'exceptional' clause.

As to the 85% issue, surely the point is that 10 days holiday and an average amount of absence due to illness and so on would take you below that anyway? Nobody ever said that 85% was a target to aspire to, or that it was a perfectly acceptable figure, just that 85% is the level at which action us taken.

Obviously I will not be commenting upon this again, under any circumstances, at all ....... Until someone responds Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boris, its just a shame that kids who persistently truant aren't being dealt with. They are the ones who will leave school with little education and likely end up as a burden on society as they dont know routine and responsibility. Id rather my kids have a once in a lifetime type trip to Australia, even if it did cost them a grade at GCSE, there is more to life than continual pressure on the children who do well at school to attain more and more just so as those in Government can feel even more smug about themselves. I think these parents did a brave thing in standing up for what they believe was the right thing for their family. They could have easily paid the fine and the new rules would go unchallenged - Im glad they are standing up for what they believe in, at a huge personal cost to themselves (criminal record). The Government have made an easy target of decent people as its far easier than trying to sort out the mess of the persistent truants who will be the real drain on our society.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Shimmy Alcott wrote:
Boris, its just a shame that kids who persistently truant aren't being dealt with. They are the ones who will leave school with little education and likely end up as a burden on society as they dont know routine and responsibility. Id rather my kids have a once in a lifetime type trip to Australia, even if it did cost them a grade at GCSE, there is more to life than continual pressure on the children who do well at school to attain more and more just so as those in Government can feel even more smug about themselves. I think these parents did a brave thing in standing up for what they believe was the right thing for their family. They could have easily paid the fine and the new rules would go unchallenged - Im glad they are standing up for what they believe in, at a huge personal cost to themselves (criminal record). The Government have made an easy target of decent people as its far easier than trying to sort out the mess of the persistent truants who will be the real drain on our society.


If you look at OECD results for various countries in the world,

Finland is consistently a high performer, where formal education starts at 7, has hardly any homework and pretty much just one exam at the end of the highschool system, and they have 15 minute breaks between each lesson.

One of the other high performers is China which has high expectations and starts their kids at 4 (same as England) and also has suicide as the primary cause of death in 18-35yr olds, with education pressures being cited as a prime cause.

I know which country I'd rather emulate...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
feef, I'm certainly not advocating the Chinese hothouse system, but your facts above are a little misleading. Suicide is also the #1 cause of death for that age group in the UK and although I cannot find comparable data for Finland I do know that it has a higher suicide rate than China or the UK for the 15-64 age group.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
15-64 is a pretty large age range. And in the uk and Finland, is academic pressure cited as the primary cause?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
feef, 15-64 is indeed a pretty large age range, and my point was that comparable data is hard to find. However, what little data there is seems to point away from your argument rather than towards it.
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Gove is no longer in charge of Education, so what happens now?
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Hells Bells, One of two things - they'll revert back to the old system and claim they are responding to the demands of the people or nothing

I'm going to go with nothing at moment

However I stand by a much earlier comment that this will probably get changed quietly at later date - but that said with election next year maybe they will make a big song and dance about it!
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The story of that Coventry family reads rather oddly. The mother said they needed the holiday to give the kids some relief from the "emotional" pressure of having a terminally ill grandmother living with them. So rather than pay the rather modest fine (modest in the context of a three week family holiday in Oz and a lot less than some of the scare stories which have been bandied round on this thread and elsewhere) they go through the entire business of refusing demands to pay and eventually forcing the LEA to take them to court, getting a criminal record and paying a good deal more money. Those months must have been emotionally calming and reassuring for the kids. rolling eyes I bet that the "other side of the story" would be illuminating.
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pam w, I agree - why not pay the £240 fine and be done with it. They are either very determined to prove a point or very badly advised by someone - I'd go with the later.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Quote:

They are either very determined to prove a point

this. If we all just accept the fines with no complaint then it will not make news and no change will be made.

As was I when I filled out the absence form for my daughter last week. Could have easily called in sick on her behalf and saved an "unauthorised absence" on her attendance record.

Just speaking to one of the girls that works for me. Her friend and her family were booked to go to a relatives wedding in Germany - by ferry as they cant afford the air fare. School refused to authorise the absence (as per guidelines). most people dont understand the system, dont understand to look online to see what will happen as a result of this absence. The child otherwise had 100% attendance and was working a level above what was expected at her age. Family all in tears all worried. Mum goes to school to beg to be allowed to go and school still says no - they dont say "go, you wont get fined". A teacher took the Mum aside later and said not to worry, to just go, as they wouldnt be fined.
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Quote:

most people dont understand the system, dont understand to look online to see what will happen as a result of this absence.


This!

As pam w, has pointed out many times here, people need to check their authorities guidelines and act accordingly, too many people just being sucked in by Daily Mail headlines. Not saying you Shimmy Alcott, - but I will plead guilty myself back when this thread started!
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Quote:

but I will plead guilty myself back when this thread started!

yup, and most people probably dont go on internet forums, if I didnt then I would be paranoid about how the new rules would be applied. Personally I would have just gone to the head and asked him to clarify the rules and he would have told me whatever he wanted and I would have accepted it. At my daughters school there is no attendance problem so the head is reasonably relaxed about the rules (eg I know a Mum who is taking her kids away from school for a week to get married abroad and this has been approved. There is no reason why they need to go abroad in term time, they are having two weeks away, one of which is term time and the second week is the first week of the school summer hols. When they get back they have four days at home before they go on a second holiday (another two weeks to a VERY exclusive holiday park in North Wales). Money is not an issue, time is not an issue...but it has been approved). The friend of the girl who works for me lives in the next town (pretty poor town) there will be issues with absence and so that head is not approving the holiday despite the childs otherwise 100% attendance...I doubt they will get a fine, but that is not the point...they are scared they will as they really cant afford the additional expense and the headmaster wanted to hold the threat over them instead of clarifying the position. you might say that they should go and read the LEA website - but really they should be entitled to think that they can trust their head is being open, honest and transparent; so if hes making noises htat they are going to get fined then that is what they will believe.
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Shimmy Alcott, you must realise that all this puts Heads, and teachers, into a very difficult situation. If I were a Head I'd have sent every parent in the school a print out of the LEA guidelines. They have been forced to implement all kinds of rules and changes that they weren't consulted on, and don't believe in. This is just one of them. If they openly say to parents "go and take your one week holiday, no action will be taken, your child has brilliant attendance" they would be for the chop. A teacher who will quietly take a parent aside and say the same thing is being both helpful and quite courageous - if some stroppy parent writes to the local paper and rants on about transparency that teacher could be in big trouble.

Obviously some parents don't have the wit to be able to find out the rules for themselves - but everybody capable of posting a coherent contribution to a thread on snowheads should do! Some people have spent a lot more time and energy moaning about their (inaccurate) understanding of the rules than it would have taken them to look them up.

PTAs could easily have played a constructive role in this - for example by encouraging schools to circulate parents with a full copy of the local LEA's guidance.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
and I bet all these poor families who have been trying to arrange holidays have spent more than enough time on the internet to have looked up the rules for themselves. Evil or Very Mad
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pam w, here are "the rules" for my Council - it implies that any unauthorised absence can result in the school advising the issue of a fine...


https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/schools/parents/education_welfare_service/school_attendance.aspx
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Shimmy Alcott, I don't read it that way. It seems to set a minimum of 10 sessions (5 days) unauthorised absence before any Penalty Notice (PN) would be issued. And there are a good number of other conditions which need to be met before that would happen (e.g. the school producing all the relevant paperwork).

In practice, if you read it carefully, schools appear to have some discretion in that they may request the issue of a PN for 5 days unauthorised absence they are only expected to do so if this has happened twice in consecutive half terms (two lots of 5 days in consecutive half terms is the trigger point for the possibility of a PN for non-holiday absences, for which different procedures apply).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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pam w, apologies, I thought I had linked into the "Taking Children on Holiday During Term Time" PDF which would seem most relevant for the query and it doesnt mention the minimum 10 sessions threshold

file:///home/chronos/user/Downloads/Taking-children-on-holiday-during-term-time%20(1).pdf
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Shimmy Alcott, that's a link to a local file on your computer.. have you a link to it elsewhere?
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feef,

https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/schools/parents/education_welfare_service/school_attendance.aspx

top selection "Taking children on holiday during term time" PDF

hope Ive got it right this time lol
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Shimmy Alcott, the key document is "Code of Conduct Education Fixed Penalty Notices Irregular Attendance" one of the PDFs linked to from the page you posted.

The ten days is not a minimum threshold for holidays. 5 days is a minimum threshold but 10 days in two consecutive half terms is the point at which the LEA expects schools to request a PN. But there are still quite a few hoops which need to be jumped through. The canny parent reading the Code of Conduct and planning a two week holiday would not tell the school what the absence was for - there are then far MORE hoops to be jumped through including the issuing of a warning letter, after which, if attendance improves, no PN will be issued. wink
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pam w, to you the key document might be that, maybe as you have relatives in education or because you have lots of time to reserch these things - but for most people they would expect the "Taking Children on Holiday during term time" PDF to give them the full information or to link them to further information.
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
pam w, to you the key document might be that, maybe as you have relatives in education or because you have lots of time to reserch these things - but for most people they would expect the "Taking Children on Holiday during term time" PDF to give them the full information or to link them to further information.


ph are you posting as Shimmy Alcott Puzzled

Too much logic for the female perspective shirley Toofy Grin
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Shimmy Alcott, No need to have relatives in education or loads of time. If you google " local education authority guidance on issuing penalty notices" you will get loads of relevant hits. If you google "holidays in term time" you are likely to get links to a lot of Shock Horror Daily Mail articles.

The page you linked to in your post included, very clearly, a link to the guidance and I have suggested more than once on this thread, over the months, that parents who want chapter and verse should consult the Code of Conduct for the relevant LEA rather than the tabloids. You can take a horse to water........
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pam w, its not about me or you its about what the general public do. Personally I think that googling "Cheshire East term time holidays" and finding a PDF entitled "Taking Children out of School During Term Time" at the top of that page would basically inform me of all the relevant information I needed to know regarding taking children out of school during term time. If all the available info was not contained in that page then I would expect the Council to link to other relevant pages as they do with other information all over their website. It suited you to go and look all over other web pages to find the information that suited your argument; that is what we, as forum users are used to doing. For my friends and others I have spoken to it is not normal behaviour - they listen to what the school tells them. This is fact, whether it suits your argument or not.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
and please, stop with the condescending tone that parents only react to Daily Mail articles in a hysterical fashion - parents are reacting to what their head teachers are telling them - while not disclosing the full information. Sad world where Heads need to manipulate parents to conform to government targets - doesnt make for great relations.
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Quote:

This is fact, whether it suits your argument or not.


It probably is fact but I suspect it is also "fact" that many of the parents you mention spend more time on Facebook each week than it would take them to glance at the documents referred to on that very same web page you linked to at 20.20.

You're on the PTA for your school, aren't you? It would be a great thing for the PTA to do to give all parents a link to that guidance and to offer printed copies for those without internet access. And if your education authority is, as you suggest, issuing misleading guidance which is upsetting parents unnecessarily, it should be challenged.

Incidentally, at first sight it seems unreasonable to threaten more severe sanctions for "holidays" than for other unauthorised absence and this might be the basis for a public law challenge to the Codes of Conduct of some LEAs. The code of Conduct for Hampshire is different and says:

Quote:
Hampshire County Council will normally only issue a Penalty Notice in circumstances of more that 20 half day sessions of unauthorised absence for a family holiday, during any 10 week period, where the child is otherwise attending regularly, with the restriction that only one period of such unauthorised absence in an academic year should be exempt.
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Sad world where Heads need to manipulate parents to conform to government targets

Possibly so - but Heads and other teachers are living full-time with the distortions created by trying to tick boxes - this is just one in a very long list of such issues, from their point of view. Of course all parents are not going to take the time to read all the guidance - but aren't PTAs (and school governors) there to be a bit better informed than the average, and take a lead?
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