Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Taking kids out of school - just check the rules first

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sorry if I came across pretty blunt re Disney foxtrotzulu my point was schools do take kids away on school trips and incorporate trips to places like Disney for a day or more in term time. Yes some do it at half term etc and some have a day or two off school and rest during a holiday period.
They do it as a way to tempt more kids onto the trip but the reason is no more valid than parents taking children out of school for similar trips.

If it is not right for parents to do so then it is not right for schools to do so either yet we do not see schools etc being fined so this raises the issue of dual standards.

Anyone with any intelligence who has worked for a council ( is that the ultimate oxymoron ? ) Confused ( what does that say for me Shocked rolling eyes ) will know that common sense can be sorely lacking in those who make decisions within local gov and unfortunately common sense it what is needed here.

Correct Boris it was a changeover day.

Also foxtrotzulu we did not choose to drive down it was the only option for us and also we needed the car down there because of location.

One year at Provins we watched the show "La Légende des chevaliers " "sword fighting" etc and here in the UK sorry to say a guy/gal with a clipboard from health and safety would have stopped most of what they did so they can not gain that experience here in the UK.

The new system be it by design or even just bad interpretation does not allow the same flexibility / discretion to allow for such visits that are of great educational and cultural advantage, not just for the kids going but potentially for the whole class.
ie in History while studying Roman History having a pupil who has been to many Roman ruins and can talk about them first hand when the teacher themselves have not been to these places, the passion and knowledge that child can add to the class is invaluable and a great teaching aid for the teacher.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
pam w,
Quote:

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.

There seem to be several who have been told they cant take their kids out of school and have been denied the opportunity to sensibly discuss when the optimum times are or whether their education would suffer at time x or y.
It really encourages lying rather than cooperation.
latest report
 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?
Quote:

denied the opportunity to sensibly discuss when the optimum times are or whether their education would suffer at time x or y.

the rules make no provision for that, so the "denial" of such opportunities is hardly surprising. Personally, I wouldn't "ask". I'd explain when the children were going to be absent, say that I would speak to their teacher about vital work we should arrange to cover as necessary, and then leave it up to the school to decide what to do next. If you ask, you are likely to be told "No", so I'd favour leaving the ball in the school's court and not making a song and dance about it. The more song and dance, the less likely that the school will take the course of least resistance and say no more. If pushed into a corner by gobby middle class parents they might be tempted to dig their heels in. Most education authorities have published policies making it clear that penalty notices will not be issued until there is a specific level of unauthorised absence.
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
pam w, I have no objection to you taking such action it is just not the action I would take. If the school cannot/will not discuss it I cannot/will not tell them. Just take em out of school and pretend they were ill. Not ideal but silly rules beget silly results.
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We have never asked school if we can take then kids out of school to go skiing. Rather we have told them that the kids will be out of school on those specific dates due to them going skiing and have left it up to the school to decide whether they classify it as "authorised" or "unauthorised" - it makes no difference to us which they do. We do explain why we are taking them out for those dates and why this is exceptional: if they do not agree then we consider that is their problem and not ours.

On the one occasion that (primary) school did class it as unauthorised, the affected child wasn't even legally required to be in school at that point! There has never been any comeback.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Ive started asking for peoples experience on my fb account. One Mum has responded that her friends are just ringing in sick. Another anonymous (ive asked for shares and gone public) is from a teaching assistant - called in sick for her daughter for two days, last two days of term and saved £1000 on their family holiday.
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

from a teaching assistant - called in sick for her daughter for two days, last two days of term and saved £1000 on their family holiday

both mother and daughter got sick simultaneously?
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
pam w wrote:
Quote:

from a teaching assistant - called in sick for her daughter for two days, last two days of term and saved £1000 on their family holiday

both mother and daughter got sick simultaneously?


Depending on age, if daughter is sick one parent needs to take leave to look after them.
snow conditions
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
pam w, not in the same school. But to be fair, Mums and kids can get sick at the same time. Remember when Eve, me then ph came down like a pack of card within a couple of hours of each other. That was the only time I ever thought it made sense to have five bathrooms Shocked Shocked Laughing

Both last year and this year my eldest daughter will finish two days before my youngest for Summer. Last year all the cousins went off for a hol to Derby with my Sis, all the others had finished except for my youngest. I just told school she woudnt be in, but that was before the new regs, at age six I know what was more important Wink.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quite - not so long ago we had 2 kids and Mrs B down with a stomach bug at same time. Perfectly believable to me to have a house with young kids all go down at the same time
snow conditions
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I am still uncertain as to the actual legal basis for the penalty notices. Is it a national or local authority issue? (sorry for being rather dim)
I have 'googled' the Surrey CC website and the 'code of conduct for the use of Penalty Notices in Cases of Non- Attendance at School' still seems rather confusing and not really in line with the schools policy (which seems much harsher) - unless there is a different code for 'holiday' absence or this code has been superseded; couple of excerpts from this code
(This code is dated 01/09/2013 so I assume it is the most up todate?)

pdf 'PN Code of Conduct 01.09.2013' at the bottom of the page
http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/learning/schools/parents-school-advice-and-support/legal-processes-used-to-enforce-school-attendance

Circumstances where a Penalty Notice May be Issued
3.1 A Penalty Notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence and consideration should be given as to whether issue is likely to secure an improvement in attendance.

3.4 The issuing of a Penaly Notice may be considered appropriate in the following circumstances...

3.4.3 Unauthorised Leave of Absence in term time (5 days/10 sessions or more)...

3.5 To ensure consistent delivery of Penalty Notices the following criteria will apply, in conjunction with Paragraphs...

3.5.1 At least 10 sessions lost to unauthorised absence by the pupil in any six week period (not including school holidays), and where there are further unauthorised absences following the issue of the formal warning letter.

Appologies if I have picked up on some PDF that is not relevant to the specifics of 'holiday leave', I clearly have no legal training / understanding... However, if this is up to date, simply taking the kids out during an 'INSET' day week may avoid the fines and hassle?

Most of the posters here seem to have kids with otherwise very good attendance records, so issuing penalties is unlikely to improve attendance levels that would still be over 95% even after 5 days / 10 sessions away.
ski holidays
 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.
Homey, that's similar to Northants - although harsher - we could get away with 10-days in a 6-month period

My reading of above is you'd get away with a week and only get a letter - only fined if you took more time than a week in 6-week period
snow report
 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
Centre Parcs advert has been banned for advertising Family Holiday special offer breaks that only apply in the week and in term time, the ad featured school aged children.
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Shimmy Alcott, I think that was the discussion I caught the tail-end of yesterday - I missed the name of the firm. Homey, you're not being dim, you have done what most people have failed to do before they panicked, and looked up the relevant document. I've been suggesting for months that people concerned with this issue look up the policy for their particular education authority (I believe they are all required to produce one).

But some people prefer to huff and puff and talk about "little Hitlers" and unforgiveable interference with family life. wink

It would actually be very interesting to see the legal arguments if a case against parents of children with a good attendance record, good behaviour and good attendance, went to court when a good many persistent cases of truanting never get that far.
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
pam w,
Quote:

But some people prefer to huff and puff and talk about "little Hitlers" and unforgiveable interference with family life.

Agreed. I also suspect that there is more flexibility allowed under the phrase 'exceptional circumstances' than we may have realised. Once the culture of term-time holidays has been eradicated (and I think that is the main goal) I can't really see much of a problem with the odd day here or there for the TdF or similar. I do, unlike many others, think that term-time holidays are an issue that needs tackling.
latest report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pam w wrote:

It would actually be very interesting to see the legal arguments if a case against parents of children with a good attendance record, good behaviour and good attendance, went to court when a good many persistent cases of truanting never get that far.

Watch this case: http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-couple-ready-fight-court-7018410
latest report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
RobW I reckon they should have just paid the £260! Thats peanuts compared to the Oz trip.
latest report
 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?
[quote="pam w"]Shimmy Alcott,
But some people prefer to huff and puff and talk about "little Hitlers" and unforgiveable interference with family life. wink


Agreed.

However, the impression the school gives is that taking a holiday in term time will simply result in a penalty notice (all the parents I have spoken to seem to have understood it this way).

I actually think they are very close to overstepping the mark here as there is a big difference between making parents aware of policy and bordering on 'misinforming' parents by the slant and emphasis of the information they have provided coupled with the information / procedure they have chosen NOT to provide.

Think the school may not be taking the wisest position here - I do feel that parents should have confidence that the school will always provide the 'whole truth' and a complete picture of events in all situations...
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Homey, sounds like a job for the school governors - ask the school to ensure that their guidance properly reflects the education authority policy.

RobW, I think that's the case that was reported in the Daily Fail and discussed some time ago. It seemed there was a lot more going on than meets the eye - a family which had created a fair few problems, other than the Oz trip.
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd go with £60 penalty over the difference in cost for a holiday at half term
Smile
snow report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Homey wrote:
Circumstances where a Penalty Notice May be Issued
3.1 A Penalty Notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence and consideration should be given as to whether issue is likely to secure an improvement in attendance.


Well surely that's a great get out. Just say that getting a notice will not change your decision in future years to remove your kids.

Waiting for a notice to drop through the letterbox, at that point I'll start examining our local authorities policies docs in detail.
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
waynos wrote:
Homey wrote:
Circumstances where a Penalty Notice May be Issued
3.1 A Penalty Notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence and consideration should be given as to whether issue is likely to secure an improvement in attendance.


Well surely that's a great get out. Just say that getting a notice will not change your decision in future years to remove your kids.

Waiting for a notice to drop through the letterbox, at that point I'll start examining our local authorities policies docs in detail.



With hindsight, perhaps I was a bit over enthusiastic in my interpretation... if they don't consider attendance will improve perhaps you just get sent straight to jail (or at least court) - do no pass Go, do not save £££s on your holiday
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

With hindsight, perhaps I was a bit over enthusiastic in my interpretation... if they don't consider attendance will improve perhaps you just get sent straight to jail (or at least court)

I doubt it, despite all the "little Hitler" accusations. Laughing
latest report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Well was parents evening this eve. After checking all was well, and noting they are currently on 99% attendance, I informed their form tutors about the TdF trip. All were fine with it and said good experience for them, one wanted to come with us! Said couldn't officially approve but agreed with us and welcomed the honesty.
snow conditions
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Boris, Pleased to hear you had a good outcome with the TdF and I strongly believe that honesty was the right policy.
snow conditions
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
feef wrote:
I'd go with £60 penalty over the difference in cost for a holiday at half term
Smile


Ive seen someone say that it goes up to thousands at the second incident?
snow report
 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.
Quote:

Ive seen someone say that it goes up to thousands at the second incident?


I've seen people say all sorts of daft things about this but at the risk of spoiling the fun of the huffingf and puffing, let's look at the evidence rather than what's trending on Twitter.

I'm in Hampshire and the local education authority code on issuing Penalty notices says (inter alia)

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.


That says to me that no action will be taken for absences of up to 20 half day sessions (ie two whole school weeks) in a single academic year.

It also notes that if a Penalty Notice is issued and the fine not paid, any subsequent prosecution is NOT for the non-payment of the fine, it is for the original "offence". The payment of the fine completely "clears the slate" on the offence and there is no provision for massively bigger fines for any subsequent offence.

Other LEAs might have differences in their codes, of course.
latest report
 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
pam w, I'm confused by that last paragraph of yours. You mention non-payment, but then refer to the fact that payment of the fine clears the slate. So if the fine is NOT paid, what happens next? Court action to recover the fine etc. I assume?

I'm also confused by the LEA code. If no action will be taken for absences of up to 20 sessions then surely there is zero difference from the old regime, except that the absence is now classified as unauthorised as opposed to authorised. Correct?
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
foxtrotzulu, Basically I think you are correct - if your child is generally a goody goody no one is going to take the slightest bit of notice if you slope off for a weeks skiing (no pun intended).

pam w, is perfectly correct that there is a lot of nonsense being talked and huffing and puffing, and I plead guilty to having done my fair share of that! Once you check the guidelines then the chances of a fine are minimal. All the cases I am aware of, where parents have been fined, closer reading has shown they are already well over the number of days suggested. All teh court cases are as a result of non payment of fines.

Would encourage all SHs to go and have a look at your Education Authorities statements - for Northants it is:

Quote:
The issue of a penalty notice should be balanced proportionally against the option of a further warning notice dependant upon the amount of unauthorised absences. Where the volume of absences is low the Education Entitlement Service may use their discretion as to which action is required but the issue of a penalty notice must be proportionate. Officers may only issue a penalty notice when there are 10 cumulative days of absence over a given period where the issue of the notice and the payment period fits within the six month rule for bringing proceedings should the notice remain unpaid. The key considerations are:

Whether, given the facts of the case the investigating officer believes that the issuing of a penalty notice will be effective in helping to ensure that the parent secures the regular attendance of the child at a place of education.
The parent is judged capable of securing their child’s regular attendance at school but is not taking responsibility for doing so, for example failing to engage in voluntary or supportive measures.
That the notice has been issued only for an offence that the local authority is willing and able to prosecute.
The action is proportionate to the level of absence and the six month rule


According to this there is a big fat zero chance I will be fined for the 2-days I have had so far, don't believe they would do anything if we took a week either. Should they do so - I would not pay the fine and go to court to ask for an explanation as to how I breached the guidelines.

For complete clarity - I have taken the kids out skiing for a week under the old rules when they were in Primary School. I have no intention of doing so now they are at Secondary, but I will almost certainly have the odd day when I feel it is justified.
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

So if the fine is NOT paid, what happens next? Court action to recover the fine etc. I assume?

I'm also confused by the LEA code. If no action will be taken for absences of up to 20 sessions then surely there is zero difference from the old regime, except that the absence is now classified as unauthorised as opposed to authorised. Correct?


If the fine is not paid then the LEA will consider the arguments for prosecution for the original offence. Not to "recover the fine" though I imagine that a further, and possibly bigger, fine is amongst the sanctions available to the court. So, if you decline to pay the penalty AND the LEA decides not to prosecute, nothing happens...... Or at least, that's my understanding of the Code set out by my LEA. It would take a couple of minutes for anyone concerned to look up their own LEA's guidelines.

Yes, you are correct, that there is, for most of the people faffing here about the iniquities of the system, SFA difference between the "old rules" (which generally allowed a fortnight's family holiday) and the new ones.

Doesn't stop the Fail and the Twitterers from getting knickers in a twist though.
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Boris,
Quote:

For complete clarity - I have taken the kids out skiing for a week under the old rules when they were in Primary School. I have no intention of doing so now they are at Secondary, but I will almost certainly have the odd day when I feel it is justified.

My reading of the situation is that, if others follow your example, then the new 'regime' will have achieved much of its aim. i.e. to deter people from taking week-long holidays in term time for non-exceptional reasons.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
foxtrotzulu, Incorrect - I am not taking them now they are in Secondary school as boys are now into GCSE work and therefore I feel they need to be there. If they were still all in Primary school I would have no hesitation in taking them. It is purely the stage of schooling influencing me not the new rules.
snow conditions
 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?
These rules are not down to unreasonable head teachers. They are the rules layed down to the the head teachers by the government. The head teachers are no longer allowed to give permission at their discretion for children to be absent for holidays. I don't want my children to lie so a good idea is not to tell them the correct date of departure & just tell them the night before the actual departure that "the holiday dates have been altered by the holiday company & we are leaving in the morning". Then do the lying on the school answerfone saying that they are ill. It's a shame that this is what we have to do, but some families take their children out of school for 2 or 3 weeks twice a year on a regular basis so the government has to do something.
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Quote:

Then do the lying on the school answerfone saying that they are ill.

... and when the kids get back from their holiday they are sworn to secrecy and can't tell their friends?

Totally unnecessary. Just tell the truth, tell the school that you are going, point out the kids good attendance record (if they have a poor attendance record you might want to think twice about their missing even more school) and note that you understand that the absence is likely to be "unauthorised". No problem, no lies.
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

They are the rules layed down to the the head teachers by the government. The head teachers are no longer allowed to give permission at their discretion for children to be absent for holidays.


Well they are, it's up to the Head Teacher to decide what is exceptional or not
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Sorry to resurrect and old thread but it feels relevant to put this here. My youngest starts school in September and due to her birthday will be 5 on her second day in school. The school though are trying to make her only 12 - 3pm for her first week, 8:35 to 1:10 for her second week and not actually be there full time until the third week! I am about to do battle to try and get her there full time from that first week. They also want to do a home visit the first week of term (the week before she is due to start)..... er well there will be nobody there and my daughter will still be in nursery as she isn't allowed to start school for another week.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

12 - 3pm for her first week, 8:35 to 1:10 for her second week and not actually be there full time until the third week!


I think that's a pretty standard approach now, certainly was with both of our children.
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yep but (I am presuming) that was before they were saying you can't take kids out of school, as that is as far as I am concerned having them 'out of school' for 20 of there "sessions' each half day being a session.
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
ansta1 wrote:
Quote:

12 - 3pm for her first week, 8:35 to 1:10 for her second week and not actually be there full time until the third week!


I think that's a pretty standard approach now, certainly was with both of our children.


Same at our school, and it took more than 4 weeks to get up to normal school length days. Even the kids themselves were complaining 1-2h in the first week wasn't long enough, having already been used longer days nursery.
snow conditions
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
When Ellie started as she had only just turned 4 (she is an August chlid), she had to go part time until the week after Half term, It was INCREDIBLY disruptive and meant it took until Easter before she started to feel settle. She said to me one day "Mummy, I know I need to go to school to do learning, but I do learning at nursery as well" - she was really feeling the toll of half days at school and half days at nursery. She would have had no problem if it had just been full length days at school. Then I couldn't change it. However then I also applied for and got permission to take her skiing for a week. So as far as I am concerned it that was fair enough, it was the wrong call for my daughter but it least it was vaguely fair.,
ski holidays



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy