SIGN UP

Unauthorised Absence From School

Avatar Image
anaxcrosswords | 21:10 Tue 16th Jul 2013 | Jobs & Education
50 Answers
Has anyone here, who has children at school, received a letter about the Government’s new strategy regarding unauthorised school absences? Ostensibly it’s saying that parents can be fined for taking their children out of school during term-time, but the reality is truly ridiculous.
Let me start by saying that if parents decide “We want a holiday and we don’t care about the dates we use” then clearly this is wrong. Our kids need to be properly educated and we can’t just take them out of school when we feel like it.
But did you know that, during term-time, there is now no such thing as ‘authorised’ absence? By that I mean the letter isn’t saying you can’t take kids out of school during term-time without authorisation – it actually means there is no authorisation full stop. So if you are trying to book flights but you find that the only ones available are a day or two before end of term (or the return is a day or two after resumption) then tough. You can’t have that holiday.
Thankfully, in practice this isn’t the case. I spent a good hour today talking to a director of my daughter’s school. He regards the entire thing as nonsensical.
For one thing, while the Government has introduced this rule, it hasn’t introduced anything at all by way of policing or enforcement.
In my particular case I need my daughter to miss the last 3 days before the Christmas break for an overseas holiday which is a special celebratory event, and many family members have committed themselves to flights and accommodation – there are very specific reasons for us needing those 3 days but I don’t need to explain them here. The school director said to me on the phone – go ahead, book the flights. For him, there is no problem whatsoever. My daughter has an exemplary attendance record and is one of the school’s highest academic achievers. To miss this holiday would, in his opinion, be totally wrong. He could say that to me over the telephone. But he can’t put it in writing. Because it’s against this new policy.
The odd – but predictable – thing he mentioned was that what I could have done, to make everything very simple, would be to wait until the day before we are due to fly out and telephone the school to say my daughter was very ill and would not be able to return until after the Christmas holiday. That would just be accepted without question. So what will happen, with this new measure, is that parents will get around it by phoning the school and lying. The honest ones will be punished with a “No, your child can’t have time off”.
Nice to know that our blessed leaders are so in touch with practical reality, isn't it?

Answers

41 to 50 of 50rss feed

First Previous 1 2 3

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by anaxcrosswords. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
I hasten to add that I agree with the "if you have kids, then you have an obligation to see that they are in school." The only exceptions should be post major exams and family events such as a couple of days (not 2 weeks to Rhodes) for marriage, then things like death and christenings. The power for the approvals for this should sit with the head and be recorded for audits.
But the child would know he/she was missing school....do you tell the child (if they ask) that they have been given permission?

Only a small fib, and I can understand why it would be done. Still wouldn't quite feel right to me though.
Question Author
You know, I just had a novel thought. As was indicated in an earlier post, some children have terrible attendance records, poor academic performance, and parents who seem to not give a fig. So, fair enough, if they want term-time absence it's probably right to say no.
On the other hand I'm thinking, here you have a student whose attendance record is excellent, whose exam results are in the top 5%, who is active in extra-curricular things likes chess, theatre... whatever. You know, a case of 'star pupil', one who is getting everything right.
Wouldn't you be tempted to say "Well let's cut this kid some slack - she's deserved it"?
In life, doesn't achievement merit reward?
Question Author
PS: And yes, there's favouritism at work here because my daughter is absolutely the star of my life. Soppy, but true.
Most definitely, and certainly when the holidays are taken due to exceptional circumstances such as your own.
there is more to education and bringing up children than sitting in a classroom reading text books etc.

unless it is exam time, then no great harm will befall the child if they miss a few weeks of lessons.

so many more lessons can be learned by taking a child away on holiday that far outweigh yet another dreary lesson wading through a text book etc.

i think this level of control schools are granted over parents is ridiculous, they should learn to be a bit more accommodating to the lives of their pupils.

we took amazing family holidays during term time every year, and it did me no harm, the school just accepted it.

besides, if you consider that most subject lessons occur once or twice a week, what really can be taught of each subject in that 2 hours that would be a catastrophe if it was missed?


i do accept and understand that for the teachers it means keeping back a handout or record of the missed lesson or something for the child so they can catch up, but is that such a hardship?
surely they have a lesson plan etc
they are not expected to completely re-do the lesson individually with them, the child is expected to learn themselves from the learning materials.
DJHawkes has provided the solution. If local authorities have the will to enforce this properly they should bring prosecutions under S444A of the education Act which provides for a maximum 3 months custody.

People taking children out of school for frivolous reasons causes disruption to the entire class, is a considerable problem and fining parents sixty quid is not the answer.
@anaxcrosswords

This topic has cropped up every few months on the BBC Breakfast news for the past few years. First a feature along the lines of "it's a problem, what should we do?", then a "legislation is being drafted" and finally "new legislation begins today".

So no-one can pretend that they didn't know this was in the pipeline and, if I'm cynical about it, your celebration just comes across as "special pleading". What's so bad about shifting the party a few days, to make it outside of term-time? I've known people who've shifted a birthday party to the following weekend, so that they could really go for it.

@themorrigan

//To book the same holiday next week would have cost us £600 more, so even if we were found out and fined the £50 it said in the letter, it would still be worth it. //

So do you think the fines should be revised to £500-600? Or a flexi-fine where the authorities work out what the holiday saving was going to be and set the fine at that level plus £50-100?

//No teacher will tell me my child can't have a few days off -its school not prison. //

You've paid taxes towards those lessons - why not take full advantage by having your kids attend them?

As for Policing this law?
I know they've already got a full plate but can't help thinking it would be workable if it was the UK Border Agency who intercepted outbound family groups turning up at the airport, took copies of tickets, enabling them to issue an additional fine to the holiday company for accepting a booking including children of school-age during term time.

Absurdist humour aside, I am merely attempting to highlight that it is the exploitative behaviour of travel companies, monkeying around with prices to milk 'captive consumers' which is behind this whole problem. Looked at from a particular angle, it looks like one of those cynical corporate-serving policies to help out yet another batch of companies who contribute to only one side of the political divide.


Just because a child is a star pupil it doesn't give them any more rights than another and that sort of attitude really annoys me. My children aren't high academic achievers, they were both extremely premature and have all the learning difficulties that stem from being prem. However, they work exceptionally hard (harder than most 'average' learners) to try and keep up with the work in class. Merit should not be given to a child just because they are lucky enough to have a high IQ, merit should be given for the amount of effort a pupil puts it regardless of the achievement. I constantly say to my children that as long as they try their hardest I will always be proud of them and whatever they achieve.
Just because a child is a 'star pupil' it doesn't give them any more rights than another and that sort of attitude really annoys me. My children aren't high academic achievers, they were both extremely premature and have all the learning difficulties that stem from being prem. However, they work exceptionally hard (harder than most 'average' learners) to try and keep up with the work in class, they too have a high attendance record (despite having chronic lung disease and asthma) and enjoy a range of extra-curricular activities. Merit should not be given to a child just because they are lucky enough to have a high IQ, if any merit is to be given then it should be for the amount of effort a pupil puts it regardless of the achievement. I constantly say to my children that as long as they try their hardest I will always be proud of them and whatever they achieve.
I was lucky enough to have a quick brain when at school, always top of my class with absolutely minimum effort, my sister was 'average' and worked extremely hard but never achieved results as good as mine, why should I have been rewarded for being a high academic achiever when the effort I put in was so much less than my sister who always worked hard.

41 to 50 of 50rss feed

First Previous 1 2 3

Do you know the answer?

Unauthorised Absence From School

Answer Question >>