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Taking children out of school....

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

but it didnt worry me as I knew the LEA's rules

I thought these had been closed down. Is it not all centralised now?
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pam w wrote:
People just have to get used to the idea that a couple of days of "unauthorised absence" is not the End of the World.
Obviously a couple of days absence here and there will make no obvious difference to the overall education of any individual pupil. However, if every pupil takes a couple of days here and there, plus a few who take a week or two, and perhaps a small number who are absent for several weeks at a time because of longhaul family commitments and very quickly the school's attendance rates become a major problem in terms of OFSTED inspections and the performance indicators that school Heads and Deputies are directed measured against.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Is it not all centralised now?

Laughing Not even Mr Gove managed that....

@rob@rar, I recognise the issues for schools. But that's a battle for the education world - parents have always taken kids out of school for holidays (I was in school from 1958 - 65 and I was nearly always taken out in June or early July) but until this new change it has been recorded as authorised absence.

I don't think this is, by a long chalk (and there's not much of that around these days) a key issue for schools though the kids who just don't bother to turn up much of the time certainly are. The whole "box ticking" culture and very prescriptive political intervention in curricula is a big problem.

If their indignation at not being able to take Little Henry out for skiing in January gets more middle class parents taking a bit of interest in the wider issues of education and the difficult life of their local school, that would be all to the good. wink
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pam w wrote:
[I recognise the issues for schools. But that's a battle for the education world - parents have always taken kids out of school for holidays (I was in school from 1958 - 65 and I was nearly always taken out in June or early July) but until this new change it has been recorded as authorised absence.

I don't think this is, by a long chalk (and there's not much of that around these days) a key issue for schools though the kids who just don't bother to turn up much of the time certainly are. The whole "box ticking" culture and very prescriptive political intervention in curricula is a big problem.

If their indignation at not being able to take Little Henry out for skiing in January gets more middle class parents taking a bit of interest in the wider issues of education and the difficult life of their local school, that would be all to the good. wink
I agree with all your points, but it seems to me that some parents overlook, in their understandable frustration with the system, that many schools and many teachers feel their hands are tied by central government on this issue, when they would like to be able to exercise some common sense. My girlfriend is the deputy headteacher of a large primary school serving a very disadvantaged area in West London. One of her personal performance targets this year is to improve the attendance rate for Yr1 and Yr2 pupils, which will partially depend on reducing the rate of unauthorised absence. Is this a key issue? No, probably not, but it is a real issue for schools.
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Runner boy son will be missing his second day of school this month tomorrow, as the school have entered him into a competition

If your child is generally at school, just tell them the truth and go. I was going to lie but, based on advice here, wrote to the school and told them the truth. Have done that for 3 one days over last year, so far no fine.
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Quote:

her personal performance targets

A teacher's performance can be marked down because of the dismal attainment of kids who practically never turn up for anything.

It's a bit crazy, really. Personal performance targets need to be attainable by the individual concerned (e.g. contacting those responsible for kids who have poor attendance, talking to the kids themselves, setting up special programmes - whatever.
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pam w wrote:
It's a bit crazy, really. Personal performance targets need to be attainable by the individual concerned (e.g. contacting those responsible for kids who have poor attendance, talking to the kids themselves, setting up special programmes - whatever.
Indeed. But the target is a straightforward % improvement in overall attendance, rather than any of the measures that you suggest.
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Rubbish targetry, then. One shared with a host of other individuals and institutions.
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pam w wrote:
Rubbish targetry, then. One shared with a host of other individuals and institutions.
Couldn't agree more, and that's just the tip of the madness mountain.
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pam w wrote:
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.


You can authorise them in exceptional circumstances or you can approve them as 'an approved educational visit'
Being as some schools take children skiing in term time and call it an approved educational visit, I am suggesting that a ski holiday organised and supervised by a parent is also an approved educational visit.
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rob@rar wrote:
pam w wrote:
[I recognise the issues for schools. But that's a battle for the education world - parents have always taken kids out of school for holidays (I was in school from 1958 - 65 and I was nearly always taken out in June or early July) but until this new change it has been recorded as authorised absence.

I don't think this is, by a long chalk (and there's not much of that around these days) a key issue for schools though the kids who just don't bother to turn up much of the time certainly are. The whole "box ticking" culture and very prescriptive political intervention in curricula is a big problem.

If their indignation at not being able to take Little Henry out for skiing in January gets more middle class parents taking a bit of interest in the wider issues of education and the difficult life of their local school, that would be all to the good. wink
I agree with all your points, but it seems to me that some parents overlook, in their understandable frustration with the system, that many schools and many teachers feel their hands are tied by central government on this issue, when they would like to be able to exercise some common sense. My girlfriend is the deputy headteacher of a large primary school serving a very disadvantaged area in West London. One of her personal performance targets this year is to improve the attendance rate for Yr1 and Yr2 pupils, which will partially depend on reducing the rate of unauthorised absence. Is this a key issue? No, probably not, but it is a real issue for schools.


I was a Vice principal of a secondary school and I had similar targets. The good thing about authorising a ski holiday as an authorised educational visit is that it comes up on the register as though the student has attended school - win win. Very Happy
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
The good thing about authorising a ski holiday as an authorised educational visit is that it comes up on the register as though the student has attended school - win win. Very Happy


We seem to get ski trips (NOT HOLIDAYS) marked as "approved sporting activity" - which goes down as attended.

18 sessions so far this (academic) year. Likely to be a lot more next year if BSS insist on 10 weeks on snow.....
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Head teachers do have the power to authorise absence . .in my experience it depends on their view and the general attendance, behaviour, academic records of your offspring and whether you are an 'easy to manage' parent. . .mine kids are all obviously diligent, adorable and intelligent, I'm also incredibly charming (!) - so informing (as other posters have stated do NOT ask) the school they will be absent for X period of time seems to have worked for me so far without fines / grief etc. Saying that, this year easter falls early so I will probably stay 'legal' for ski hols. . .

From memory the fine is £60 per parent, per child if paid within 21 days of the 'offence' . . .this is a blanket figure applied whether its a day or two weeks - so if you are going to get stung you may as well make the most of it!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Belch, when the stuff says per absence I believe each absence is in fact a half day.

The head teachers are no longer ALLOWED. To authorise family holidays.
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You cannot authorise a family holiday. You ca authorise an approved educational activity. Schools do it all the time for football/rugby tournaments etc.

If the absence is not approved then it goes to an unauthorised absence. You can be fined for these. The school will look at the overall attendance record before deciding whether or not to fine
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@NickyJ, each "session" is half a day, so two days absence counts as 4 sessions. But the fines are fixed - I believe @Belch is right that it's a flat rate fine which doesn't change according to the number of sessions missed.

School attitudes certainly vary but so do the policies of different LEAs, which don't always have the same threshold for starting the process of acting on unauthorised absence.
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@NickyJ, have you got accommodation sorted from Monday to Monday? That may be more of a worry than the school!
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@flangesax, yep all booked.

Staying here http://www.muriteclubhotel.com/

My parents have an apartment in that complex, with weeks get won be using next year Happy
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@NickyJ, the fine is for each incidence so a one week holiday would be £60 per child, per parent...same for a two or three week holiday. If it's 1 day then my LEA wouldn't be able to fine (under their own rules).
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@NickyJ, the following is an extract from the Hampshire Code of Conduct:

Quote:
3.2. 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.

3.3 Penalty Notices are intended to be used in tackling parentally condoned absence where it is reasonable to expect that the parent can ensure the child's regular attendance but s/he is not willing to take responsibility for doing so e.g. where a parent is not cooperating with advice or support offered to help improve his or her child's attendance. Furthermore, in accordance with Department for Education and Skills (DfES) guidance, they should only be issued when to do so is likely to secure an improvement in the child's future attendance.


So I really don't think you should worry!
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I see that banning mobile phones is supposed to give a 6.4% overall improvement in attainment, or the equivalent of an extra week's tuition per year.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/may/16/schools-mobile-phones-academic-results

So... Ban little Henry from taking his phone in, then take 5 days skiing, and we're all square. Laughing
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Quote:

I see that banning mobile phones is supposed to give a 6.4% overall improvement in attainment, or the equivalent of an extra week's tuition per year

I can well believe that. Many schools are nowhere near tough enough.

Banning internet browsing and mobile phones at work would probably have an even greater effect on productivity. wink
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Hush there woman!
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Shocked
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On topic, I've printed off the form to tell the school our lad shall be off for one day at the start of term, flights were Monday to Monday.
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This whole ruling is a farce. As mentioned by many no head of school has the authority to implement a fine. A head has strict guidelines from the LEA as to what constitutes authorized absence and holidays are not part of that. The head marks it down as unauthorized absence and then IF the governors wish to the flag it to the LEA. The LEA may fine you, they most likely will not. The idea was to prevent "consistent truancy" - taking a 1 week holiday is not truancy. It is a warped government directive that fee paying school children do not have to abide to; these being the very same children that have extended holidays and therefore can dodge the highest costing ski weeks of the season......and who says this country is equal?
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There aren't many LA schools left in many areas. Academies are free from LA control. Most Academies will use the LA to issue fines. In a secondary, the head probably isn't involved and the attendance lead will do it. Most LAs won't fine unless attendance is below 80% for the term. A weeks holiday is very unlikely to result in a fine if it's the only absence that half term. We took ours out to Centerparcs last year for the week and were fine.
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@cameronphillips2000, were fine or were fined. Happy
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fine. They wouldn't fine us - my wife's one of those pushy parents it's better to keep sweet.....
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I took my eldest out for 4 days this year - we were honest with the school and applied for discretionary holiday knowing full well it would be refused by the school. As expected we got a letter back refusing our request, we replied back acknowledging the school but informing them he was going anyway. Didnt hear another thing. Have no idea how its been logged with the school.

We've already booked for 2016 and will do exactly the same, although as it'll be 5 days we're already budgeting to pay the fine.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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as it'll be 5 days we're already budgeting to pay the fine.


Why? Even if you are not allowed 5 days (and in many areas you are) that's not usually the only criterion for issue of a PN.

If you intend to take the time off anyway, why apply for the holiday in the first place, knowing it'll be refused. If I were on the receiving end of all that extra paperwork, in a school, I'd be brassed off.
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@pam w, we don't have holiday forms, it's a notice of absence form. So it's either fill that form in in advance or just phone in on first day of absence. I filled in the form as I always have done (4 days absence) as id prefer the school to be pre-informed of the absence. It wasn't loads of paperwork, just a fill in the blanks form.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

we don't have holiday forms, it's a notice of absence form.

yes, that makes perfect sense, @Shimmy Alcott. I was commenting on the post from @Vessigaud who said
Quote:

we were honest with the school and applied for discretionary holiday knowing full well it would be refused by the school. As expected we got a letter back refusing our request, we replied back acknowledging the school but informing them he was going anyway.

if I was the Secretary in the school office I do think I'd feel a bit cross and wonder why they asked. I logged the request, put it through the system, a senior member of staff had had to deal with it, then send it back to me to despatch a reply, turning down the request. Then got another letter/form saying they were going anyway. I wouldn't do that - I'd just inform they of absence, as required, noting the reason, if necessary, as holiday.
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The inconsistency schools apply makes you rather annoyed...

I heard yesterday that my nephew (year 7) was due to spend a week in isolation after his haircut was deemed too short - until his mother intervened and the decision was rescinded rolling eyes

Had he taken that week off on holiday, she'd have gotten into trouble, but seems that the school can cheerfully exclude him from lessons Confused rolling eyes
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Ray Zorro wrote:
... was due to spend a week in isolation after his haircut was deemed too short ...
Wow Shocked
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This fuss about hair is ridiculous. If kids can't experiment with their hair when they're teenagers, when can they? There is so much that schools really should be firm about.

And it's especially bad if "intervention" by a parent can overrule a disciplinary decision. Consistency is essential - but obviously difficult if the school reacts in such a ridiculous way to a hair cut. Any rule should be able to be applied with zero tolerance. The school my daughter teaches in has strict no-phone rules, which are enforced. The one my SiL works in has a halfarsed rule and inconsistent enforcement; it drives him mad.

Though actually, a child in isolation probably gets plenty of good learning done.... he wouldn't be sitting there watching the telly, would he?

And maybe the school has another version of what happened? wink
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Exclusion from lessons doesn't mean the children do not learn. They might not learn as much, but they will be doing the work they should be doing in the lessons they're not in.

Anyway back to the main content of the thread... If the school does not have the systems for the teachers to easily deal with these things then they may do nothing. I'm a primary school teacher (in keeping with the topic, unwell and awaiting a doctors appointment this morning hence not in school) I have had children off one day - their parents have called in and reported the absence. The following day they're in, when they walk through the door or when taking the register I ask the child if they are feeling better and I get the response - "I'm fine I was at Alton Towers" or "we went away for a long weekend".

What do I do about it? Not a lot, I teach the same children all day and I have to go straight on to teaching the next lesson. To be honest it's not top of my priorities so occasionally I forget until the moment has passed and it's too late. If I do remember I do mention it to someone, but I can't ensure I can apply consistency all the time.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

as it'll be 5 days we're already budgeting to pay the fine.


Why? Even if you are not allowed 5 days (and in many areas you are) that's not usually the only criterion for issue of a PN.

If you intend to take the time off anyway, why apply for the holiday in the first place, knowing it'll be refused. If I were on the receiving end of all that extra paperwork, in a school, I'd be brassed off.


Just being prepared - as we are taking 2 kids possibly finding £240 quickly would be a pain so at this point including in the cost of the holiday we need to save for. If we dont get fined happy days Smile if we do we have the cash to hand.
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How many days does your LEA allow before issuing a PN?
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Nickyj I'd suggest just go, don't tell the kids they'll be missing the first day back so they didn't feel stressed about "breaking the rules", and send a "sorry they're ill" note on the Monday morning. We've done that loads of times- and now the children are older we tell them it's ok to fib (ok lie) in the face of unreasonable rules and bureaucracy. We did this because of a local schools "cluster" initiative to fine all such absences £50/child per day as is allowed. I was at the time a governor at the school which made things a little awkward but everyone new the truth- especially as I (and other parent governors) argued against our school (which was and is outstanding with excellent results) signing up to an initiative trying to deal with a real problem of pupil non- attendance at neighbouring schools.
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