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Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
foxtrotzulu


To follow on from Boris's post we have just come back from 2 weeks France they were off the last Friday of term as unauthorised, that one day allowed us to go to Nimes for the day and also spend a couple of hours in Besencon.
Can you explain how one day in school is of more educational benefit than a day going round the Nimes arena ( Roman amphitheatre ) and the Roman baths as all the teachers at our childrens schools agree it is impossible to gain the knowledge and experience from one day like this, other than the head at one who disagrees and won't comment.

On our summer holiday we always do educational trips out be it to places like Barcelona, Provins, Carcassonne etc etc.

I believe this is the way forward show you are not just sat on a beach or at the side of a pool or just going down a slope all day show they are being immersed in a new culture seeing things and learning about places that the school would easily organise a school trip to if they were within range of a day but are not. Even those with highly stressful or demanding jobs could still take a day a week out to do something educational.
I would also say that if you are going skiing for a week and flying out this would limit the chances for educational activity's but this could be gained through the year by day/weekend trips.


I do not think it is a right to take kids out of school but that the guidelines should stipulate education/cultural benefits are required and must be shown along with good attendance levels for future holidays, to be granted during term time excluding exam periods.
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foxtrotzulu, there are plenty of events taking place organised by others which aren't listed officially, there is also a small matter of travelling to deal with. I do see it as exceptional circumstances, school doesn't, although the kids teachers do!
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speed098, I totally agree with you about the superior educational/cultural benefit of a day in Nimes. I'm not quite clear why you couldn't have done it as part of the two weeks holiday and specifically needed that Friday, but let's not quibble over that. The problem is how you implement rules. For example, somebody doing 75mph on a dry, bright, empty motorway poses a negligible risk to himself or anyone else, but as it is impractical to take every circumstance into account when setting the rules we all tend to get lumped with the same speed limit. The previous, and more flexible, system regarding school time absences was, in many ways, far more sensible. The problem was that people were taking the p**s with the old system and that people were routinely taking holidays during term-time and missing the start/end of term because it was more convenient/cheaper etc. If you want to get cross with anyone, get cross with those people who ruined what was a more flexible system.
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speed098, I absolutely agree that parents should be the judge of what is best for their kids - and parents who make such too terrible a fist of those judgements should ultimately have their children taken into care. However, it would be unreasonable, in my view, to expect schools to allow the wishes of some parents (who take their kids to the TdF or to Nimes) and not others (who take their kids to the dogs, to a religious festival, a talent show or a baton-twirling contest. Nothing and nobody is stopping you taking your kids out of school when you think there are special enough circumstances and accepting that the absence will be regarded as unauthorised by the school.

The most unworthy, weaselly, "setting a bad example" way of dealing with this is to lie about the kids having been ill and urge the kids to keep up the pretence. That's despicable; any educational benefit the kids might have got from the day off would be undermined by the lesson that when you want something it's OK to lie and cheat to get it. MTFU and take it on the chin, if you are sure of your judgement that what you plan is better for the kids than a day at school.
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Quote:

The problem was that people were taking the p**s with the old system


How? They asked, the school said yes. If the school didn't think it was suitable, they could have said no and implimented any appropriate action if the parents went in any case.

Me - I shall take the p*ss with the new system, I've tried arguing my case, I've outlined the educational benefits, I've pointed out that all the kids have 99% attendance, I've reminded them that they have all given up weekends and evening to compete for the school in sporting events, all to no avail.
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Quote:

Nothing and nobody is stopping you taking your kids out of school when you think there are special enough circumstances and accepting that the absence will be regarded as unauthorised by the school.


Which is what we shall do as and when. I've read the guidelines and I am 99.9% confident that I cannot be fined for the odd days as I am not breaching the LEAs guidelines. I seriously hope all other parents do the same and once the unauthorised absence figures sky-rocket the rules will be changed!
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Boris, yes, that's what I'd do too.
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Must admit I'd teach my kids that ridiculous and despotic rules generate lies
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T Bar, if you disagree with a rule you should stand up and be counted - certainly explain to the kids why you are disobeying the rule. But if you just lie, you are doing absolutely nothing to do away with the "ridiculous and despotic rules" - you are just saving your own neck. Evil or Very Mad As Boris says, schools hate unauthorised absence - that's the way to go.
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pam w,
Quote:

you are just saving your own neck

Absolutely and I only have one of them and wish to preserve it thank you.

Some people are celebrating St Georges day today, as far as I can see he was a rather unnecessary martyr he could quite easily of renounced his religion publicly and carried on worshiping in private had he so desired.
Petty bureaucracies just grind you down if you fight them, easier to lie.
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Quote:

I only have one of them and wish to preserve it thank you.

my expression was not meant to be taken literally - you are hardly likely to be burnt at the stake for taking a few days unauthorised absence from school (though you could be forgiven for thinking the sanctions much tougher, to hear some parents moaning and frothing). You are not even all that likely to be fined. rolling eyes

If someone were prepared to teach their kids to lie about something so very trivial, where would they draw the line?
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pam w,
Quote:

If someone were prepared to teach their kids to lie about something so very trivial, where would they draw the line?

It's an individual thing I guess, I would never say that someones bum didn't look big if it did. However most people are prepared to lie about most things if the incentive is right.
I have no problem lying over petty silly rules where my action hurts no one else.
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pam w,
Quote:
If someone were prepared to teach their kids to lie about something so very trivial, where would they draw the line?

+1


Boris,
Quote:


Quote:
"The problem was that people were taking the p**s with the old system"


How? They asked, the school said yes. If the school didn't think it was suitable, they could have said no and implimented any appropriate action if the parents went in any case.

Boris, from what I have read the schools often felt unable to enforce the rules as they were intended for fear of damaging the school/parent relationship. I grant you that may be daft, but the parent/school relationship has changed so dramatically over the last 30+ years that many heads feel pretty powerless against the entrenched attitudes of some parents.

If we look at this dispassionately we would probably agree that the previous situation where parents were taking term-time holidays was far too casual. You may be right that the current crackdown is too draconian. The question is how we stop term-time holidays in all but the most exceptional circumstances while still allowing the odd day here or there for days of genuine benefit that absolutely cannot be taken during the holidays.
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Quote:

he could quite easily HAVE renounced his religion publicly


shouldn't have taken so many absences from school...
Toofy Grin


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Wed 23-04-14 10:24; edited 1 time in total
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T Bar,
Quote:

I have no problem lying over petty silly rules where my action hurts no one else.

But this is the point. As teachers have endlessly pointed out term-time absence is hugely disruptive to the teacher and the rest of the class let alone the fact that that a child who were to miss the 10 days 'allowed' under the old regime is losing 5% of their schooling.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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pam w and foxtrotzulu

We used to have the support of all staff just this head now has changed and got a lot worse we have had our kids do projects on the places in the past which they could then take into school and discuss in the relevant class. Doing things like this help's the school explain why those children had time off during term time.

foxtrotzulu

we could not do Nimes during the holiday as it was just over a 3 hr drive from were we stayed so 6 hr round trip kids would be too tired to take it in so we stopped just outside Nimes on the way down then had about 6hrs there. We do not like them coming home the day before they start school now as we found they were still tired from being in the car for so long and did not engage at school that first day. Also our kids have taken school work when needed on holiday with them.

I know some abused the old system but then again many are doing the same with the new one and more are willing to do so because the more you tighten the grip on people the more will slip through. So fines are not the way and especially criminal records show just how pathetic this has become politicians and council education dept should be ashamed of themselves but they won't.

Let parents take children out but make sure that if they do not do anything beneficial that next year they can not and yes fine them if they do so that year, but if they do stuff then they gain points for the following year, with computers systems this is so easy to set up ie day at museum 2-4 points trip to two, or one further away a few points more trip to Disney first time 1 point trip to Provins for the day 8 points watch the show etc could increase it to 12-15 points and you need a min of 30 points for a week and more for a second week.


After all how many kids have gone to places like Paris then to Disney or even ski holidays on a school trip during school time this could be argued very strongly as dual standards and blatant discrimination or should all these term time trips by schools stop as well ? If they go ahead fine the head and education dept maybe ?

All most parents want is common sense to prevail and to work with the school so encourage that and deal with those abusing the system don't stigmatise and threaten to punish and for some even punish those who show their kids that taking time off in term time has to be justified. The system at present can be abused by not just parents but authorities wanting to make a bit of extra cash or heads flexing their muscles ( I know most would not ).
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pam w wrote:




If someone were prepared to teach their kids to lie about something so very trivial, where would they draw the line?


Perhaps my children are unusual but I didn't have to teach them to lie.......they worked that one out for themselves very early on wink
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foxtrotzulu,
Quote:

But this is the point. As teachers have endlessly pointed out term-time absence is hugely disruptive to the teacher and the rest of the class let alone the fact that that a child who were to miss the 10 days 'allowed' under the old regime is losing 5% of their schooling.


As my childrens absence were previously with the full encouragement of the headmaster and indeed other teachers I knew at the school, I think it unlikely that their absences were disruptive.
If teachers are unable to control a class thanks to the absence of my children they have a problem to address s they will not be there for the rest of their lives.
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boardiac wrote:
Quote:

he could quite easily HAVE renounced his religion publicly


shouldn't have taken so many absences from school...
Toofy Grin




Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
Alas you have probably mistaken the cause as I can recall few times when I was absent from school. I was at school at a time when grammar was not considered respectable and my written English has suffered ever since.
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snowlamb, Laughing I expressed that badly - I should have said "teaching their kids that it's OK to lie to keep out of trouble"
Quote:

The system at present can be abused by not just parents but authorities wanting to make a bit of extra cash

it would cost the authorities a good deal to take cases to court - part of the trouble with the high truancy rates is that many of the posts which used to deal with truants have been cut. I can't believe there is any way that fining parents could become a cash cow for education authorities.

Quote:

shouldn't have taken so many absences from school...

boardiac, wink There are some other choice examples in posts arguing that time off school does kids no harm but it would be churlish to cite them all.
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pam w,
Quote:

it would cost the authorities a good deal to take cases to court - part of the trouble with the high truancy rates is that many of the posts which used to deal with truants have been cut. I can't believe there is any way that fining parents could become a cash cow for education authorities.


This is where I disagree , schools do not have to take someone to court they can issue a fixed penalty notice, the courts only become involved if you fail to pay the fixed penalty notice. Cash strapped local authorities frequently decide on where and when to enforce things like parking restrictions on the income they raise rather than the problem they create.
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I can't believe a few £60 penalty notices are going to generate THAT much revenue for any council.
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pam w

Bedroom tax is costing more to administer and costing more money due to empty properties but that has not stopped the authorities. Some councils are great one near to me un-named is such, but another haven't got the brains to work their way out of a soggy paper bag, and would think it good value spending thousands to save a few hundred they do not see the cost only the saving.

The old system was not the best and neither is this new one, something in-between is needed, but that would mean the use of common sense which for many making policy and rules is sorely absent.
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When my boys first started Primary School the head of key stage 1 devised a method for stopping them disrupting the rest of the class. The teacher would tell the class what to do, then send whichever of my sons it was, to do an errand whist she further explained to the class what to do. My son would happily carry out the errand, get back into class and carry out the set task better than the rest of the class. If they stayed in the class to listen to repeats of instructions they became a nuisance. All through Primary School my boys were always the ones taken out to 'do' things because their needs were different to the majority. I was very lucky they were at a super Primary school and the head always approved our odd requests for time off. My boys benefited from the knowledge and information they absorbed outside of school and it complemented their academic education.

It hurt my boys not one jot to miss school, nor did class teachers ever have to work extra to make sure they caught up. The school and us as parents worked together to maximise every ones learning and minimise teachers workload! That is how it should be and I am very glad my boys were at school during the time that was recognised!
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feef wrote:
I can't believe a few £60 penalty notices are going to generate THAT much revenue for any council.



200-300 would generate enough revenue to pay a salary a large school with a couple thousand pupils could have this number in a year if a council imposed it on all absence cases never mind all the other schools within that authority.
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feef, don't forget it is £60 per child per parent - so for me with 3 kids it would be a potential £360 fine
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Quote:

People had come to regard it as normal to take term-time holidays

foxtrotzulu, do you know many people who used to do this? I have quite a lot of friends and can only think of one who does this each year.
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Quote:

Must admit I'd teach my kids that ridiculous and despotic rules generate lies


Totally with T Bar on this one, sometimes it is easier to play the game.
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speed098, Apologies for being a grammar Nazi, but a little more punctuation in your posts would really make them much easier to read and understand.

I strongly suspect that the revenue raising potential from the fixed penalty notices would be minimal. The cost of issuing them is not insignificant and even a small percentage of non-payment (and the subsequent recovery actions) would immediately eradicate any potential profit. There are far, far easier ways for a council to increase revenue.



T Bar,
Quote:

I think it unlikely that their absences were disruptive.
If teachers are unable to control a class thanks to the absence of my children they have a problem to address s they will not be there for the rest of their lives.
You missed my point. The disruption is caused by the fact that the teacher then has to find a way for those children to catch up on any work missed. Do it in class and that's less teaching time available for the rest, do it outside of class and that's disruptive to the teacher. Some class work e.g. team projects, chemistry experiments etc. are almost impossible for the absentee to cover outside of class.


speed098,
Quote:

we could not do Nimes during the holiday as it was just over a 3 hr drive from were we stayed so 6 hr round trip kids would be too tired to take it in so we stopped just outside Nimes on the way down then had about 6hrs there.
That still doesn't really explain why you didn't just depart a day later and then stop there on the way down?


Quote:

We used to have the support of all staff just this head now has changed and got a lot worse we have had our kids do projects on the places in the past which they could then take into school and discuss in the relevant class
That's great, but that's precisely what the holidays are for. Nobody is arguing that trips to Nimes or the Tour de France don't have some educational value but the whole point is that you are meant to do them during the holidays.
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Quote:

The disruption is caused by the fact that the teacher then has to find a way for those children to catch up on any work missed. Do it in class and that's less teaching time available for the rest, do it outside of class and that's disruptive to the teacher. Some class work e.g. team projects, chemistry experiments etc. are almost impossible for the absentee to cover outside of class.


Which is why it would be much better to have a system where you can have a sensible dialogue with the school as to what absences may or may not cause disruption.

I do not pretend that large absences can always happen without disruption but common sense, experience and previous dialogues with teachers suggest that there are many occasions when school absences can be wholly non disruptive ,helpful to the child and family life.
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[/quote]
I do not pretend that large absences can always happen without disruption but common sense, experience and previous dialogues with teachers suggest that there are many occasions when school absences can be wholly non disruptive ,helpful to the child and family life.[/quote]

I could not agree more!
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Of course some events, such as TdF don't always fall within school holidays

Quote:

Which is why it would be much better to have a system where you can have a sensible dialogue with the school as to what absences may or may not cause disruption.


+1 - particularly in cases when the child is well ahead of the class! Gives them time to catch up
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I hope some of these well-rehearsed arguments are being employed in places where they might have more impact than on Snowheads. It's at the centre that this policy was made, and that is where objections need to be addressed. The most effective way of undermining the new rules would be - as stated already more than once - for the level of unauthorised absence to rise.

A good deal of commonsense seems to be being applied already (including in my only recent personal experience, when two of my grandchildren took days off for a long weekend skiing) and talk of "petty bureaucracies" and education authorities gleefully taking advantage of a new revenue stream are way wide of the mark. AFAIK no snowheads with kids with good attendance records have yet been fined for taking a few extra days off, let alone taken to court for non-payment.

I caught the tail end of a radio discussion a few hours ago, featuring a woman who is leading a campaign to stop holiday operators charging higher prices in the school holidays. rolling eyes
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Quote:

I caught the tail end of a radio discussion a few hours ago, featuring a woman who is leading a campaign to stop holiday operators charging higher prices in the school holidays.


Do you think she was on an unauthorised term-time holiday when her school taught basic economics principles like supply and demand?
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So foxtrotzulu please explain the educational benefit of going to Disneyland Paris?

Honestly all I see is dual standards and the typical do as we say not as we do mentality this country is every more rapidly embrassing. Children need to understand it is their right to question rules after all last time I checked we are not a dictatorship.

We had to drive well over a thousand miles I can not sit in the car for long periods ( need to get out and stretch due to knee ). Wed do not use motorways in France that often ( partly you do not see much of the country speeding along at best part of 70 miles an hour or more and not as easy to stop and explore interesting places).

So our journey takes a lot longer than it would for most. If we had set off the day after we would not have been able to call at Nimes as we stopped about 30 miles north and it was gone midnight French time. We went to Nimes and left around 3.00pm, reaching our destination just before 7pm. If you take out the overall extra milage of going to Nimes ( approx. 50 miles we would have reached our destination about 3am the morning after we should have arrived and unable to get to get in.

We do not take our kids out of school lightly and we try and do it for the minimum time possible if we have to. We are not in a position we can go away in the actual summer hols so Easter and May holidays are our only real option along with the Oct half term ( not great for either skiing or summer hols).

Our holiday including Ferry but not fuel for two weeks for 4 in the south of France under £500 in the summer that same holiday would be approx. £3000 we could not afford that at all so what is the solution ? Oh! sorry you are not super wealthy therefore you have no right to have a holiday ? ( sorry not trying to have a go at anyone there but in reality that is what it comes across as for those who financially can not afford the horrendous rates that are charged in the summer ).

Friends have no issue spending £3000 even £5000 for one week and spending thousands while away and yes we discuss the merits of both but respect each others choices though they are amazed at how good a value our holidays are. One year we got the mother all all Hoover type deals ( everyone remember that one wink ) and did ten days at Disney for under £100 for 5 of us plus the cost of the Disney tickets. We bought the season pass for a little bit more than the 3 day pass and went back the following May for a week on the same Pass.
Our kids at the time attended primary school we had 2 days additional off school but did not take it for granted. We went to the head and said we know it is not educational and accept you do not have to grant the two days ( this was when you could have upto the ten days ) but is there any chance they could have these days off and take work with them. If the head had said no we would not have gone and booked but the head said yes. In the end it was more educational than we intended as we stayed not far from Compiegne so went to the armistice clearing and also many of the world war one venues plus a day in Paris.
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I was chatting to somebody about this very topic at work, he said he thought that belguim had legislated to limit the price differences bing charged for school holidays. Is there any truth to that?
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I heard on the news today that Center Parcs, one of the worst offenders for price hikes during school holidays, are in trouble for an advertisement for special deals with an image of school-age children and a caveat that the deals are not available during school holidays therefore tacitly encouraging parents to bunk their kids off school...
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speed098,
Quote:

So foxtrotzulu please explain the educational benefit of going to Disneyland Paris?

I can't think of any real educational benefits at all. What makes you think I can?


speed098, I'm still struggling to understand your point about Nimes. As I understand it you booked a two week holiday in France and chose to drive down a day early and incorporate Nimes. What I can't understand from your posts is why it was compulsory for you to arrive at your holiday destination on the day you did, as opposed to a day later having visited Nimes en route?
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Quote:

compulsory for you to arrive at your holiday destination on the day you did,


As a wild guess - that was changeover day and the day people are around to get keys, bedding whatever from. Sure some places would accomodate a next day arrival, but many smaller places may not
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Boris, I assumed that was changeover day too, but in my experience there has never been an issue as long as you give them a bit of warning. Everywhere I have ever been accepts that people get delayed and have some arrangement to cater for this. I'd be a little surprised if that was the main issue. Of course, that wouldn't necessarily preclude leaving a day early at the other end of the trip.
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