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Term-time holiday father wins in High Court

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@jd_evans,
Quote:

I'd like to see the 5 inset days currently sprinkled around the school year lumped all together, say in the 2nd or 3rd week of January...

Although that would be convenient for many parents, I doubt the need for teacher training on changes and developments present themselves in a way that would make that easy to do.
I think the priority has to be teachers getting the training & development they need, in a timely way.
Any teachers out there with a view on this? Most of the INSET days at my son's school are spread through the year, almost always latched on to the start or end of school holidays.
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Tubaski wrote:

Not for those of us that would like them to spread the winter holidays across the whole winter snowHead snowHead


Oh no please don't.
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When I taught all our inset days were in our own time, so in September for example, we went back two or three days before the students.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
As I've said before, I struggle to understand why the inset days don't happen during the holidays or on Saturdays.
As I'm sure I've said before, they do. When the compulsory inset days were introduced (during the 1980s) the school year was not reduced, teachers lost a week of their holidays. There are perfectly sound reasons why these five days are not taken in a block in, say, the beginning of September. The priority should be on effective training and school development for those days, not an opportunity for parents to get a cheap week of holiday.
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rob@rar wrote:
abc wrote:
I'm at a lost to why schools must have such inflexible policy regarding student ATTENDANCE alone.
I think most schools wouldn't like to have the authority to set their own rules for term-time absence, but they do not as this policy is set by the national government (the current government is very keen to reduce term-time absence, so the rules have changed in recent years).
Sure, some schools don't like kids taking time off during the term. But that doesn't mean that they would like the flexibility to set their own rules, which is what I think should happen (and until relatively recently used to work reasonably well). If a school was relaxed about kids missing weeks they would still be subject to the usual accountability measures about progress, attainment, etc.
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My concern about this case is that 93% attendance sounds good on paper - but its not really that great when you do the maths. Its rougly 14 days - so almost 3 weeks.
To get below the magic 90% attendance figure you have to take 20 days off - 4 whole weeks which seems an awful lot to miss.
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Quote:

My concern about this case is that

it seems you are more likely to be fined if you take a week off for a holiday (in some LEAs, by no means all) than if your child is habitually absent and you simply CBA to get up in the morning, put some clothes on, get the kids some breakfast and take them to school.

There are limited resources available to LEAs to pursue truancy cases. In my view they should start with the biggest offenders - who are also likely to be the kids/families most in need of support.

It seems to be the view of some contributors to his thread that the threshold for "truancy action" should be much tougher than 90%. Where's the sense in that, when there are so many kids with far worse than 90% attendance?
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@pam w, Your argument is a bit like the person caught speeding and grumbling that the police should be out arresting 'proper' criminals.

I'm not talking about thresholds. I'm talking about attitudes. Regardless of where the threshold is I think it is fundamentally wrong for someone to say "Well, they only missed one day in ten of their schooling and that's good enough". I don't think it's anything like good enough. If those absences are unavoidable. E.g. Sickness, then it is still a tragedy that the schooling has been missed, but it is unavoidable.
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pam w wrote:
INSET means in-service training, @foxtrotzulu. In-service training isn't done on your days off. wink


If the only problem is the teachers worrying about their precious days off then I'd be happy for them to be compensated. Most of the companies I have worked with who do 'away-days' or team building nonsense, do it at weekends. In some cases the time off is compensated. In others it's not. Surely the sensible approach would be to run the inset days on Saturdays and then work out any necessary compensation.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
... 'away-days' or team building nonsense...
So you think the training and development that is done during INSET is nonsense?
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
@pam w, Your argument is a bit like the person caught speeding and grumbling that the police should be out arresting 'proper' criminals.

I'm not talking about thresholds. I'm talking about attitudes. Regardless of where the threshold is I think it is fundamentally wrong for someone to say "Well, they only missed one day in ten of their schooling and that's good enough". I don't think it's anything like good enough. If those absences are unavoidable. E.g. Sickness, then it is still a tragedy that the schooling has been missed, but it is unavoidable.

The grumbling would be valid if the police catch speeders AT THE EXPENSE of catching "proper criminals". That seems to be the heart of many school absentee issues.

Education isn't a black and white thing like speed. Just because the kids are away from school doesn't means they're not learning.
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Quote:

Your argument is a bit like the person caught speeding and grumbling that the police should be out arresting 'proper' criminals

No it's not. It's like saying "We'll fine you for doing 40 mph in a built up area once in a while because you're late for work but the people (and we know who they are....) who habitually do 40 mph along that stretch will be ignored because they won't pay, they won't turn up in court and if we remove their driving licences they'll drive without them anyway."
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It's not a "tragedy" to miss a bit of school. My dad regularly took us out of school in term time because he was allergic to crowds and busy roads (we never went out on Bank Holidays either). I missed two weeks school, and sometimes missed school exams (that was absolutely the best ever....).

We went camping - I went walking with my dad who taught me how to read a map, how to route-plan, how to take bearings, how to identify a good spot in the lee of a dry stone wall to brew up the tea on a primus. I was the regular map reader, sitting in the back of the car and had the camp site books to identify a good spot to stop. When we started going abroad I was the only one who could speak any French or German so was always the one to ask whether there were any "zimmer frei", etc.

It felt far from being a tragedy.

It's the quality of school-time and home-time that matters, not the quantity. There are kids who have spent many years at school who are functionally illiterate. Loads of them (and there's nothing new about that; half the kids in my junior school class couldn't really read and write when we left at 11, in 1958). They'd all been in full time education since they were 5. In a tough school in a poor area (such as the one my daughter teaches at) only the very worst cases are able to get special support. By the time they start formal education at 5 many are already a lost cause - and an experienced Reception class teachers can pick them out in the first week.
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rob@rar wrote:
foxtrotzulu wrote:
... 'away-days' or team building nonsense...
So you think the training and development that is done during INSET is nonsense?
No, that's not what I said. I have no idea whether INSET days are a nonsense or not. I think a lot of team building exercises are a nonsense. Whether they are nonsense or not is irrelevant to the question of why INSET days cannot be held during the holidays, at weekends, or during half-term. The idea of stopping the whole school for INSET days seems daft. Can you imagine TESCO, or HSBC or BA just shutting down on the odd random day just for staff training. There simply has to be a better way.
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@admin, " .....chav-spawn that his rules keep in school, disrupting classes instead of learning how to down a pint with nu-daddy and his crim mates in Marbella......"

You have no idea just how true this is of state schooling in urban/conurbations. It's not the "chav-spawn" that go skiing, their genetic coding is set to reproduction at the earliest opportunity, and with IQ's of less than 80 despite regression to the norm, there is no way out of the moron spriral. Birth, sex, rebirth..........

Just imagine six generations per 100 years...... a new speces is evolving right in front of our eyes! Homo Chav-spawn. Skullie
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@foxtrotzulu, you keep on missing the point: schools are not shut for INSET, they are opened up during the holidays for the training.
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rob@rar wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, you keep on missing the point: schools are not shut for INSET, they are opened up during the holidays for the training.

Not around here they're not. Inset days are held during term time and the schools are closed to pupils.
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@spyderjon, when during term time?
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I think they do in Peterborough too. Used to be generally the Monday after a holiday. But my daughter finished school a couple of years ago so a bit hazy now.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
Can you imagine TESCO, or HSBC or BA just shutting down on the odd random day just for staff training. There simply has to be a better way.


As an aside, I've seen high street banks with signs saying they are closed for half a day for staff training.
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@Claude B, I think that is typical, although a different way to describe it would be "term starts on Tuesday". Whichever way you slice it the school year is still 190 days, as it was before schools were required to run 5 days of staff training.
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My grand-daughter was thrilled to have what she called an "insect day" recently as we got to spend a special day together, went to Chichester on the bus and had elevenses in a café. My daughter and son in law, both teachers, were working. Ella told me the whole school was closed.
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I often represent parents in care proceedings (applications by local authorities to remove their children into care) where poor school attendance is one of the many features of neglect. Once attendance slides down towards 90% alarm bells start to ring.

This is my take on it. As a lawyer, I completely understand the argument that a parent who takes their child away on holiday in term time is still able to fulfill the requirement of ensuring their child attends school regularly. The law is not really designed to prevent with the odd middle class holiday.

HOWEVER, I do question what message it gives a child if their parent chooses to take them on holiday in term time. My folks would never ever have contemplated it with me and my sister when we were kids. But there again...we went camping...in Wales (and jolly good fun it was too!). The truth is, no one needs to jet off to Florida with their kids out of school hols, they just have to decide to do something more mundane and cheaper during school holidays. It's a matter of choice not necessity.

How often have I been at Gatwick in mid June to be faced with a family toting huge suitcases off to Malaga. Teenagers who really should be at school being allowed to languish by the pool in some cheap hotel for the more than price as a week in a tent in Wales in August. ..I suppose their parents' priority was never going to be ensuring the kids got an education..so why the hell should I get indignant.
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A Martian reading this thread might think the UK population is split broadly into two groups. One a bunch of lazy, feckless n'er do wells, squandering their education and jetting off on frivolous holidays. The other a bunch of worthy upstanding citizens, working themselves into the ground and tutting in their odd few minutes of spare time. wink
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@rob@rar, I have 23/24 June as inset days, well my children do.

I am going to take it on the chin, take the days off and not moan.

Festival of speed anyone?
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@Perty,

Have you seen the prices many campsites charge in this country ? We used to do 3 weeks in the south of France excluding fuel prices ( avoided tolls ) for less than one week in Gulag Butlins in August and about the same as 10-14 days in a tent ( every time in the rain and no fun looking round Welsh castles wee wee wet through ).

The message we gave to our children was work with the school, earn the chance to go away, learn while away and share in school what they learned thus enhancing the learning experience for the whole class.


Edit oh how we all love the wee, wee wee edits Toofy Grin
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@Perty, when my father took us out of school it was always camping holidays. Camping is much nicer without the crowded roads and sites. wink it was nothing to do with cost; we never flew anywhere.
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speed098 wrote:

The message we gave to our children was work with the school, earn the chance to go away, learn while away and share in school what they learned thus enhancing the learning experience for the whole class.
+1

Time has changed. Teaching needs to keep up too.

The future generation of contributors to economy are not going to be standing at an assembly line doing the same move for 8 hrs and only go to the loo at pre-defined time slots. School should not focus so much in making students into robot with a heart beat.

The future generation of workers will NOT be done learning when they leave schools. They will NOT have a nicely printed textbook for their future study. They will need to be strongly self-motivated, learn whenever there's a need.

Leaving for a holiday during term time WITHOUT falling behind in school work will be a very helpful learning experience.
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You know it makes sense.
intermediate wrote:
A Martian reading this thread might think the UK population is split broadly into two groups. One a bunch of lazy, feckless n'er do wells, squandering their education and jetting off on frivolous holidays. The other a bunch of worthy upstanding citizens, working themselves into the ground and tutting in their odd few minutes of spare time. wink


You don't need to be a Martian to see it that way. The argument that 90% attendance is "regular" is entirely bogus. Try turning up for a job 90% of the time and see how long you last.

We should be listening to the teachers on this, most of whom are clear that individual pupils missing a week in term-time is not OK.

I'm aware this won't be a popular opinion on SH.
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abc wrote:
.

The future generation of contributors to economy are not going to be standing at an assembly line doing the same move for 8 hrs


Very true. They will be flipping burgers and driving delivery vans, unless they pay attention to their education.
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Quote:

The argument that 90% attendance is "regular" is entirely bogus.

90% is not regarded by anybody as a "good" level of attendance (though for some kids in the system it would be a triumph). It is the level below which investigations should begin to establish whether a criminal offence has been committed.

"Regular" is not being used in precisely its normal sense here. At what level of attendance would you suggest that line should be drawn, @dogwatch?

Parents are not, of course, legally required to send children to school at all, if they can establish that adequate education is being provided "otherwise", but that is not really the issue here.
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@dogwatch, burger flipping and van driving will be 100% automated in 5 years. Society has to prepare for high and permanent unemployment in the classic sense.
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Oh. F*ck. I sound like Whitegold.

Off to do chores.
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@pam w, I think most of us agree that it would be better if term-time holidays could be decided more flexibly, by teachers, on a case-by-case basis. I think we also agree that trying to draw a line to establish what is regular/acceptable is extremely difficult. It seems as though 90% attendance is to high a figure to be classed as being 'irregular' and yet it is also far too low an attendance figure. The answer ought to be for head teachers to decide. However:
1. We do need to get away a culture where term-time holidays are the norm.
2. Teachers need to be a little more muscular in how they manage the issue. They have said that they often feel unable to deny a term-time holiday for fear it will damage the parent-school relationship. As a consequence, it seems parents ride roughshod over them.

I fully appreciate that there is a world of difference between state and independent schools in many wayy. However, in the independent schools my children have attended term-time holidays are incredibly rare. I won't say they never happen, but I genuinely cannot remember hearing of a single instance. Whether this is because it's less necessary (longer holidays, more affluent etc.) or whether it's because of the different culture, the fact that you can instantly see how much money you would be wasting, or just the fact that your child would find themselves booted out if you did it with any regularity, I don't know. In addition, there is none of this nonsense of INSET days interrupting school terms. I suspect that if they do have them then they occur on Sundays or more likely during the holidays.
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under a new name wrote:
@dogwatch, burger flipping and van driving will be 100% automated in 5 years.


I suppose that applies to taxi driving as well.
Johnny Cab, anyone? Toofy Grin



http://youtube.com/v/xGi6j2VrL0o
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under a new name wrote:
Oh. F*ck. I sound like Whitegold.

Off to do chores.


We all knew he was your sock.
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pam w wrote:

Parents are not, of course, legally required to send children to school at all, if they can establish that adequate education is being provided "otherwise", but that is not really the issue here.

To a degree, it IS the issue.

For as long as the child was able to keep up, one may argue it's the equivalent of "adequate education". So the parents are not legally required to send their kid to school for that 2 weeks.

Now, individual school may wish to set a limit for such behavior. But not the government, and not under the pretens of 'education'.

Any attendence policy that makes no distinction on the academic performance of the student in question is not about education.

In the heart of hearts, such policy is just another example of too many people (in this case even some teachers ) wanting to forcefully tell other grown adults how to live their life.
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abc wrote:
pam w wrote:

Parents are not, of course, legally required to send children to school at all, if they can establish that adequate education is being provided "otherwise", but that is not really the issue here.

To a degree, it IS the issue.

For as long as the child was able to keep up, one may argue it's the equivalent of "adequate education". So the parents are not legally required to send their kid to school for that 2 weeks.

Now, individual school may wish to set a limit for such behavior. But not the government, and not under the pretens of 'education'.

Any attendence policy that makes no distinction on the academic performance of the student in question is not about education.

In the heart of hearts, such policy is just another example of too many people (in this case even some teachers ) wanting to forcefully tell other grown adults how to live their life.
I would be more sympathetic to the argument that one child's absence has an adverse effect on the rest of the class if schools, at least round here, were not so keen to send children home at the first sign of illness even in the middle of the day. The mother who works as an assistant to Mrs Rabbie is not infrequently phoned up and expected to rush back to collect her child.
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Quote:

For as long as the child was able to keep up, one may argue it's the equivalent of "adequate education". So the parents are not legally required to send their kid to school for that 2 weeks.


It doesn't work that way under the UK legislation (no idea about the US). A family can opt for home education ("otherwise" - the NGO which supports home schooling is called "Education Otherwise") but you can't just dip in and out of school as it suits you, however brilliant the education you are providing at home (or on the ski slopes).

A number of schools in the UK (especially good ones) are oversubscribed. You can't hang on to a place to pop the child in there just when it's convenient. It's all or nothing, with home schooling, though the arrangements are complex and vary in different parts of the UK.

Home schoolers can expect to be "inspected" to ensure they are providing an adequate education.

So, I'd suggest that home schooling is not the issue here. It's the rules governing attendance at school for children who are on the school register.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:

I fully appreciate that there is a world of difference between state and independent schools in many wayy. However, in the independent schools my children have attended term-time holidays are incredibly rare. I won't say they never happen, but I genuinely cannot remember hearing of a single instance.

Perhaps it's simply because independent schools provide much better education when the kids are in school. So parents aren't so keen to take them out for a holiday?

I do wonder how many of the state schools that support such policy are the kind of school where the kids weren't learning all that much in a week's time, so parents simply don't feel it's a big disadvantage to take the kids out for a ski holiday?
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