Term-time absences banned by Gove? Have you heard anything?

(211 Posts)
FantasticDay Wed 12-Jun-13 13:43:22

Just that really. A colleagues had heard that all schools had received a letter from the Education Minister saying that term-time absences were not to be authorised. I wondered if any of school staff on here could confirm /deny? Cheers.

MirandaWest Wed 12-Jun-13 13:48:14

We had an email from school a couple of months ago (roughly) saying that from Septwmber 2013 leave could only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. As far as I was concerned this is what it has always been but I know lots of people believe there is an entitlement to 10 days holiday per year.

FantasticDay Wed 12-Jun-13 13:56:45

Thanks Miranda. I didn't think there was an entitlement, but have a friend considering a trip to visit family in Sudan that wouldn't be possible any other time, and I wondered if there was now a steer from the top that there was absolute ban.

How could they outright ban though, I wonder. You could make it an unattractive option (e.g. through fines) but how would you impose an actual ban? 'Take so much as one step towards the airport in term time and I'll have the chair of governors hanging off your bags, quick as!' Sounds a bit unworkable.

I suppose you could say,'Go on holiday during term time and your child will lose their place at this school,' but that would seem to be counterproductive.

I can't see how it can be any more 'banned' than it already is, apart from maybe hiking up the fines.

Manchesterhistorygirl Wed 12-Jun-13 14:04:04

Yes, I went in yesterday to see head about taking ds1 out in a few weeks. She said from September no leave would be authorised at all and they were getting rid of forms to even request it.

5madthings Wed 12-Jun-13 14:07:32

Our school is carrying on the same,e as normal ie only in exceptional circumstances, so for us as dp cannot be leave in school holidays that counts as 'exceptional' and will therefore be author used.

scaevola Wed 12-Jun-13 14:07:36

Theree's a minor change which means the verbiage in the 1996 Act which mentions holidays is being removed. Heads can still authorise up to 10 days in exceptional circumstances.

The regime of fines for unauthorised absences (introduced 2003) remains as well.

nohalfmeasures Wed 12-Jun-13 14:11:25

Then it's just recorded as an unauthorised absence.
We had to ask for a day of for a wedding and were told it would be unauthorised. It depends on the head teacher if further action is taken- I guess if it becomes a pattern they might.
Interestingly, in Scotland, with the "new curriculum which doesn't really exist" there is a leaning to a much broader "life experience", so if trip has an educational slant it's could be considered to be "enhancing life skills"

rabbitstew Wed 12-Jun-13 15:17:33

Too many unauthorised absences from pupils at the school and the school will have OFSTED coming to visit.

Up to 10 days holiday in term time used to be specifically permitted by the legislation in "special circumstances" and any more than that only in "exceptional circumstances." Now, no leave of any sort will be allowed unless "exceptional circumstances." Some schools are playing chicken and not daring countenance the idea that a holiday could ever be an "exceptional circumstance" but effectively it's up to the HT to decide what's exceptional and what isn't. A holiday every year wouldn't be very exceptional, but a once in a lifetime trip, or visit to long lost relatives ought to be, imo, if only I were a HT!

Blueskiesandbuttercups Wed 12-Jun-13 17:18:21

So what happens to the parent if there are unauthorised absences?

scaevola Wed 12-Jun-13 17:22:04

Worst case, parents are fined (and can be imprisoned for non-payment - yes that really happened under the last government).

Most LEAs only start the cascade of intervention (referral to EWO etc) if there is a lengthy absence, or repeated shorter ones. But in theory it could be activated for any unauthorised absence at all.

NewFerry Wed 12-Jun-13 18:49:55

So what about 1/2 day absences to take part in drama festival? Head teacher authorised this for dd in March, are we saying this too would be outlawed from September?

5madthings Wed 12-Jun-13 18:56:47

No newferry it is still at the discretion of the ht, they decide what counts as 'exceptional circumstances' so it will vary from one to another what they allow.

Ours seems to be quite good and use common sense but others do not.

exoticfruits Wed 12-Jun-13 19:05:25

Our LEA had a letter about 4 years ago saying that they would not be authorised. Some schools take it further ad fine.

HeySoulSister Wed 12-Jun-13 19:07:24

I predict lots if sick children with week long 'illnesses'

NewFerry Wed 12-Jun-13 19:15:02

5madthings - good to hear, thank you

CPtart Wed 12-Jun-13 19:21:23

I too agree about the "illnesses." Particularly in the last two weeks of school before summer holidays when instead of watching DVD's every day parents will prefer to risk whisking their DC off to sunnier climes. The sun tan has time to fade too before new term in September!

rabbitstew Wed 12-Jun-13 19:30:42

Exactly, HeySoulSister. It's a great way of turning more people into liars or rule breakers, thus setting a very poor example to their children; particularly in the schools that pretend no holidays are allowed at all any more, which is not what the legislation says, it's just what headteachers say when they don't want to be hassled.

kayakaya Wed 12-Jun-13 19:59:08

I have never understood why schools or the govt think they can dictate to parents about this. A school simply provides a service, which we pay for through our taxes. As far as I'm concerned it's then up to me if I choose to not use that service for week because I've taken my child on holiday.

scaevola Wed 12-Jun-13 20:01:16

If you pit your child into state school you have to accept the basic T&Cs, which include attendance.

If you don't want to be bound by that, you do not need to use schools at all.

rabbitstew Wed 12-Jun-13 20:47:42

The terms and conditions do not include full attendance at all times, no matter the circumstances, scaevola. And different state schools use their discretion differently, whereas most parents don't in reality have much, if any, choice of state schools. It's a little bit OTT to suggest that someone who still wants to take their child out of school two days early at the end of the summer term should opt out of state education altogether if their school won't allow it. grin

joanofarchitrave Wed 12-Jun-13 20:51:27

''Take so much as one step towards the airport in term time and I'll have the chair of governors hanging off your bags, quick as!"

grin georgian

rabbitstew Wed 12-Jun-13 20:56:36

Chair of governors would only be hanging off bags to try and get a free ride to a nice, hot destination. grin

Moxiegirl Wed 12-Jun-13 20:59:46

Well then inflating holiday prices outside of term time should also be banned!

topknob Wed 12-Jun-13 21:15:36

what moxie said !

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