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Taking children out of school....

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

£50/child per day

not exactly..... see above. The fine is the same for 5 days over the limit as for 1. But many parents seem completely unaware of the limits and fear they will be fined for any unauthorised absence which is not the case.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Pam looking it up it is indeed currently £60, but that's per absence/per child/ per parent, increasing to £120 if not paid in 21days. For two children with two parents the limit for one day could be £480. Agreed that's not likely but is theoretically possible. I can't be sure but my recollection of the upper limits pre2012 was £50/child/parent/day. Anyway potentially a lot of money- and particularly galling as the school closed at the first hint of snow, and the children were often sent home if they appeared "poorly" with no reciprocal potential fine for the school! Puzzled
The point is for a well settled child in a caring environment a day (or a week) for a family trip is not going to disrupt their education especially at Nickyj's children's ages- and it probably will be positively educationally developmental for them. I'd say definitely don't fret about a minor porky to avoid even the possibility of a heavy fine.
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 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?
We've taken our two children out of primary school for one week every academic year for a ski holiday and we have never been fined or had any problem with the school. This is the only time they have off, fortunately they are never ill and our summer holiday is always in the 6 weeks beak.

They have to log it as 'unauthorised' but always say "have fun, enjoy skiing" etc.

Also they are both performing well above where they should be so no problems with 'falling behind' either. Very Happy
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Quote:

I can't be sure but my recollection of the upper limits pre2012

Your LEA will have a code of conduct on unauthorised absence giving the correct up to date information. There's a lot of scary misinformation being whizzed around the internet on this.

The "limit" I referred to is the number of sessions unauthorised absence you have to have, before the question of a PN even hoves over the horizon. It'll be in the code of conduct and cannot, I think, be altered at the whim of an individual school.
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@Bianchigray, accurate information - you just can't beat it! snowHead
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

I can't be sure but my recollection of the upper limits pre2012

Your LEA will have a code of conduct on unauthorised absence giving the correct up to date information. There's a lot of scary misinformation being whizzed around the internet on this.

The "limit" I referred to is the number of sessions unauthorised absence you have to have, before the question of a PN even hoves over the horizon. It'll be in the code of conduct and cannot, I think, be altered at the whim of an individual school.


It is accurate information that even short unauthorised absences can be fined heavily- it is also accurate to say in the main this doesn't occur. This small chance of a heavy fine can be eliminated by not asking for permission and simply taking the time off and fibbing about the reason afterwards. Everyone (including for us the school who weren't stupid) content. That's what we did and (much less frequently now as the kids are at big school and have exams and things) do. Just saying Very Happy
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Perhaps anybody planning to take kids out of school can also arrange for a refund of the taxes paid to fund that place - just because it's 'free' doesn't mean that you can voluntarily not bother to turn up and use the place that someone has funded 'because there is something more interesting to do'. It's on a par with not turning up to an NHS hospital appointment and not a big step from dumping rubbish as 'it doesn't matter as someone else is paying'. The argument that 'they're learning more/a life skill' compared to what they would have learnt in school just doesn't wash. I suspect the same people who take their kids out of school wouldn't dream of skipping a ski lesson they paid for themselves because child fancied a lie in - why is skipping school any different.

Fine feels too low - £250 per week is probably nearer the cost of providing education per child . . . . suspect somewhat more.

We have rules/laws for a reason and I don't see why we can just ignore the ones we don't like/agree with.

Whilst the law of supply and demand will mean 'peak weeks', I do think there should be some form of guidance/regulation which might stop half term week being say 200% of a week in the middle of January. Very difficult to do in practice however.
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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!
@alti - dude, and I suspect any teachers present will confirm that most schools won't be spending £7500 per week on a class of 30 - certainly not on them anyway.
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@Richard_Sideways,

"In state-funded secondary schools there were 3.2 million pupils in 2012" with £25bn spent and over a 39 week school year it's £200 per week so wasn't a bad guess.

I wasn't trying to breakdown the cost between teachers' salaries and other educashun costs (suspect another forum for that) just illustrating 'waste'. School is compulsory and not optional - not sure any of the recent manifestos put forward a policy of optional schooling so looks like it's here to stay until the "Schooling is Voluntary when there's something Better to Do" political party gets off the ground NehNeh NehNeh
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@alti - dude, The Dedicated School Grant for 2014/15 is £4550.54 averaged across England. So that's £136.14 per week - about half what you originally quoted.
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One day will be fine but you have to remember why the school is worried about it. They are judged on the statistic of attendance and any "unauthorised absence" even those that they would have authorised previously count. Hence they get heavy to try and dissuade parents and improve their stats.

However, it is not you they are trying to control it is the uncaring parents that ignore all the rules and do what they like.

Best to come clean and tell them. Also absence record is not used for school selection round here - can't definitively say it is not where you are. Wife just doing loads of appeals now for people who live next to school (a) but want to go to schools (b) or (c), which are full, 5 miles away. Its all about catchment area round here with very little leeway.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Progress - we are debating the quantum of the waste not whether it is wasteful or not!
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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
@alti - dude, that doesn't wash with me - we pay monthly for swim academy bit my girls DO miss some of those sing lessons specifically for ski holidays and to allow them to occasionally visit their grand parents (who live so far away it means a weekend away to see them). Also I certainly more than contribute to the cost of my child's education in the multitude and significant amount of tax I am paying. Before deciding whether to pass on a free weeks worth of accommodation near a ski resort due to weekend flight prices meaning we would not be able to afford it overall or taking them out of school for 1 whole day to allow them a full week of ski tuition I decided that overall it was worth it. I have no problem with my decision being the right one for my children.

I have also thanks to the advice on here, made my decision which is to notify the school in Advance of their absence.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've also done that. What they say is irrelevant but I explained to my son that lying isn't the rght way to go about things and that is much more relevant to parenting.

His mates mum however was planning to phone her kid in sick on Friday and now he's actually ill on the Thursday. Thats Karma for you!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@NickyJ, you're right - lots of "good advice" on how to cheat the system and to demonstrate to kids that lying is OK. You can also find some good advice around on how to avoid VAT etc by cash in hand etc

PS I'm not sure it's in your gift to decide if your child goes to school or not but not sure of the specific legalities just know that morally the expectation is that children are expected to be in school . . . .

Quote:

Before deciding whether to pass on a free weeks worth of accommodation near a ski resort due to weekend flight prices meaning we would not be able to afford it overall or taking them out of school for 1 whole day to allow them a full week of ski tuition I decided that overall it was worth it


PPS Just because you pay more tax than most, it doesn't give you optionality over complying with rules and regulations. Should you get to jump to the front of the NHS queue as you pay more tax? (As an aside it frustrates me that 'business class' customers get a special queue at airport immigration) . . .

Quote:

Also I certainly more than contribute to the cost of my child's education in the multitude and significant amount of tax I am paying


Perhaps a way out of this is schools need say 3 or 4 'duvet' days annual allowance then? That would mean not lying about the state of health of relatives/cat/dog/child
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

It is accurate information that even short unauthorised absences can be fined heavily

If by short unauthorised absences you mean a few days, that information is NOT accurate in the case of any of the LEAs I've investigated in my efforts to calm the paranoia sometimes displayed on these pages on this fairly trivial matter. I recall one Snowhead, carried away by his own righteous indignation, mentioning totalitarian regimes and a complete disregard for family welfare. Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

If you come across any LEA whose code of conduct enables them to levy large fines for a couple of days unauthorised absence I shall make a £50 donation to the charity of your choice, @Doccam.

Quote:

I explained to my son that lying isn't the rght way to go about things and that is much more relevant to parenting

hear hear. No wonder so many adults think that "pulling a sickie" is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@alti - dude, I hope you're not implying that @NickyJ is planning to tell her kids that lying is OK. She's not. Not all the "good advice" was about how to cheat!
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 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?
@alti - dude, thankfully and ultimately parents are responsible for their children's education, this is why parents can chose to homeschool, send children to private schools or state schools. I sincerely hope that we will never see that change.
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The average spend per pupil in senior schools in England in (IIRC) 2011 was £5547 per annum. or £138 per week over a 40 week academic year. Approxinmately half what @alti - dude, quoted.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
alti - dude wrote:
Perhaps anybody planning to take kids out of school can also arrange for a refund of the taxes paid to fund that place - .... It's on a par with not turning up to an NHS hospital appointment
Yes.

If they were funding the little darlings themselves, it would be none of my business. However, as a tax payer without ongoing DNA investment I'm definitely unhappy with parents wasting my money. Fines should ensure that doesn't happen, and may remove the market incentive for parents to treat their kids' education poorly.
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@alti - dude, I'm guessing you don't have kids . . .? Either that or the moral high ground seems to be a hobby . . .
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Presumably the sole objective of the exercise is to cheat the system so the cost of a ski holiday is lower - snow is the same, accommodation is the same etc . . . .only difference is price. I wonder if there are other options and perhaps cheat the airlines/hoteliers rather than the UK taxpayer?

How about sneak a family of 4 into a room designed and billed for 2?
Kids in hand baggage and family of four pay for 2 flights?

@Belch, if 'moral high ground' is a euphemism for 'boring and compliant', then guilty as charged. Yes before you ask, I don't pay cash in hand, and sorry I do go above 70mph so not always consistent. This thread just presses a button for me in that it appears that just because it's 'free' people don't value it as much and can 'throw it away' without a care and I think that's why a fine system has been introduced - sorry if that comes across as being all moral . . . . I much more normal on lots of other subjects !
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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!
Quote:

I'm definitely unhappy with parents wasting my money


There's a lot of things I'm not happy with "my money" being wasted on, but that's the way the system works. Everyone of us will see money being spent in a way we consider wasteful
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@alti - dude, Children are very special little people and I'm going to make sure I do my best by mine. Their education is very important, I support their school learning with night time reading, weekly home work, learning spellings and learning maths facts. Despite being a working Mother I am also Chair of the PTA - I would say I spend over 30 days an academic year giving my time for free organising and running fundraising event for the school. This money is used to buy stuff that enhances the learning and learning environment of the school. I do not want this role but for the last two years no one else has volunteered...so either I do it or the school and the kids suffer the loss of the PTA and the money it raises.

However, I believe in raising a well rounded child, not just one that meets the tick box requirements of whichever Government is currently in charge. My child will get a good education and I will ensure she has very good attendance levels. But if I feel my family need a family holiday and the way to achieve this involves missing a few days of school then I will take my child out of school and I won't feel in the slightest bit guilty. Society will benefit from my raising a child that is happy, educated and a well rounded individual. She might only get an A instead of an A* in whatever exams the Government next decide she should sit...but I think it's a sacrifice easily made. I actually don't really believe it will make any difference to her over all achievement.
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Quote:

I do go above 70mph

You really think speeding is more forgiveable than taking children out of school for a family holiday ? I don't think many people would agree. You probably think you're the kind of driver who can judge perfectly when there's no need to stick to laws made for lesser mortals.

It's not comparable to failing to turn up to an NHS appointment, because that directly deprives another patient of that opportunity and lengthens waiting lists.

It's a bit odd to describe taking a child out of a state school for a week as "wasting money". Does that mean that taking the child out of a state school permanently is wasting lots of money?

It probably does cause teachers a little bit of extra work but the parents who are really "wasting" the educational opportunities their kids have are the ones whose kids rarely turn up for school at all or turn up without having had a decent breakfast or so stoned they fall off their chairs half way through History.
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@Shimmy Alcott, Very well said.
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@alti - dude, The thread was not asking about how to "cheat the system", the thread was trying to work out if there were going to be any unknown (to me) side effects of being honest with the school about the absence my personal MUCH preffered option.

As to looking just for a lowever price ski holiday - it is actually one of finding ways to allow us to GO on that holiday. I have had that option of the free accomodation for the last few years BUT prohibitively expensive flight costs have meant that we haven't been able to take up that offer. This year I spotted an option meaning that we could afford it if we take the girls out of school for one day.
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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
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
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=119038#2726907
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@alti - dude, rather a long transfer from Geneva to Bansko.

I saw that thread and did check that they hadn't released any new LHR - SOF seats. They haven't. Sunday to Sunday with BA would still cost us £2333.04 - the Monday to Monday flights with Bulgaria Air I have booked have come through on the credit card now - £646.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@NickyJ, I missed the whole first week of year 7 as I was on a family holiday to Australia in 1999. It had no effect on me, my brother or sister. My uncle bought my dad the flights for his 40th for the five of us! So we went on the trip of a lifetime for a month inc a few days in California. It was a fantastic holiday and a great experience. Holidays are enriching and if this enables you to take one where you otherwise might not then carry on. Apart from that week all three of us had exemplary school attendance records as we had too much respect (scared of - lol) for our parents to skive!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A really interesting discussion, but @NickyJ you being comfortable with your decision is the main thing. Whether it's asking permission before hand or telling a fib/lying after the event doesn't change the basic fact that none of us should feel guilty about deciding to take the children out of school and enjoying a family holiday together in the fabulous mountains.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

none of us should feel guilty about deciding to take the children out of school and enjoying a family holiday together in the fabulous mountains.


agreed. But I would feel guilty about lying, and so would lots of parents who drum into kids the need to tell the truth even when it's uncomfortable.

I did it with my little hatchet
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 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?
It would be impossible for our daughter to lie about a skiing trip, she gets so excited by it she tells everyone at school she is going counting down the sleeps.

We just write the letter to the head, usually get back a nice letter saying hope our daughter enjoys her skiing Smile
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@Little Martin, There are certain givaways that the child has been on a skiing trip - panda eyes for example or a sun tan in the middle of winter. This caught one of my friends out (this time a teacher in further education) who had a bad back for a week while he went skiing. The same friend managed to break his leg while ski mountaineering close to the summit of Mont Blanc and had to be helicoptored off. Fortunately he had retired by then so didn't have to explain how the managed to break a leg while suffereing from a bad back.

Lies generally have consequences.

@NickyJ, driving and self catering is often only a little bit more expensive during the school holidays than outside them and over Easter about the same price as mid January. It is worth looking at other times than just the half term week
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The last three years we have gone at Easter, @johnE, this has meant the nursery slope my daughter should have been on as a 4yr old, had no snow on, so they had a palaver involving lifts to get to the higher nursery slopes. Those higher slopes were incredibly hard and unforgiving for them to be learning on.

One year we did have fantastic conditions so I know it is possible at Easter and I know perfect conditions aren't guaranteed in mid Feb however the odds are certainly in your favour.
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@NickyJ, What resort was it? I know you probably said earlier but I have forgotten

Sadly I have never skied in Febuary and usually go Christmas, New Year and Easter. Easter usually has the better snow.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
That was les Deux Alpes mid April 2014.
Mid April 2015 was St Anton and mid April 2013 was Belle Plagne.
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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!
pam w wrote:
How many days does your LEA allow before issuing a PN?


From our local website

A penalty notice can only be issued if a child has been absent from school without permission for five days in the same term or period of 12 weeks. This could be for a block of absence or a number of single days. If a penalty notice is issued, it will be one fine for the whole period of the absence. So the fine would be the same amount for an absence of five days or 10 days. For example, a parent could be issued with a £60 fine if their child misses one day of school each week over a five week period, whilst another parent might be issued the same fine for one two-week block of absence. Parents will not be fined for a single day of absence if their child’s
attendance is otherwise good.

Interesting nugget i found reading the website was that the decision to inform the council of an absence sits with the school so if they dont want the hassle and the unauthorised absence on their stats i'm hoping they wont report it Smile
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@Vessigaud, good. So in your area, like most, parents cannot be hit with heavy fines for short absences. However I think you may be wrong about schools being able to decide not to disclose stats on unauthorised absence. These days they constantly have to keep data of all kinds. It'll be how many times each teacher takes time off to go to the loo next. wink
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The unauthorised absences will be on their stats but it is up to the school to inform the LEA on individual cases. Some LEAs and schools are pushing hard to fine where possible where as others are turning a blind eye if attendance is not generally a problem. I know that our school met with the other schools in town to agree on how they would deal with the new regulations and the head told me that they all agreed only to push for a fine if attendance was generally poor for the child concerned. The Head also said he would push for a fine if he had been lied to.

I remember reading a few articles about the difference in numbers of fines issued from County to County...some have chosen to take a much firmer stance and the number of fines rocketed.
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