WWYD - request for authorised absence turned down...

(76 Posts)
edam Fri 23-Nov-12 12:08:32

Hi, I'm having an ethical dilemma and would be interestedin what you think... ds and I have got an invite to a play by a great children's author - a serious dramatist who also writes for children. So it's 'educational' in that sense. Only it's a matinee on a school day. I asked the head whether ds could have authorised absence and she's said no, which is fair enough I suppose (even though I know plenty of parents 'take' an extra few days around Feb half-term to go skiing and so on).

I really do want to take ds, this is a one-off event and there's no way we could go in the evening (finishes far too late) but also we couldn't pay for tickets - dh has been out of work so money v. v. tight.

WWYD? Would you pass up the opportunity, or would your child have a convenient cold, or would you be honest with the school and say, sorry, we are going, stick it down as unauthorised?

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 13:43:18

Right, looks like the majority vote is to go anyway and be honest about it. Ds does have a very good attendance record - he's in Yr 5, btw. I can't remember the last time he was off sick, he's doing well at school, always hands his homework in on time and so on. As he should do, of course, nothing special about that, just saying there's no pattern of swinging the lead here. (My Mother always worked so we were never allowed to be off sick unless we were actually bleeding from an artery and I've followed her example...)

sausagesandwich34 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:48:45

I can't believe the school has said no to a play and meeting the author? if that's not and opportunity to be educated of site, I don't know what is???

unless it's to go and see octonauts or some other pap

snowmummy Fri 23-Nov-12 13:56:49

I'd go. I'd also ask on what grounds the leave was turned down. It sounds like a really good educational opportunity to me.

Svrider Fri 23-Nov-12 14:01:30

My dd had an authorised absence on her school report last term
I know I phoned them (she was off sick having been sent home early the day before hmm)
I phoned the school and net with the head of year
She told me not to worry
I suggest you do the same

5madthings Fri 23-Nov-12 14:11:35

i would go, it sounds lovely and its ine day or even.just one afternoon depending on the time if the performance.

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 15:00:35

Oh, forgot someone asked what the play is: Feathers in the Snow by Philip Ridley.

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 15:01:21

(He writes plays for adults and books for children, this is the first play for children.)

Svrider Fri 23-Nov-12 15:01:28

Unauthorised obs.

Groovee Fri 23-Nov-12 15:07:47

I'd go to the event and accept the unauthorised absence.

radicalsubstitution Fri 23-Nov-12 15:23:30

Just to put another spin on things....

As a secondary teacher, I often have students missing from lessons as they are on school trips - or 'educational visits'. These can cause massive inconvenience - particularly when up to half a class are missing and you have to find 'something meaningful' for the rest of the class to do that doesn't disadvantage the absentees.

Most of these trips are very valid and valuable - trips to WW1 battlefields in Belgium, trips to mosques, field trips to the coast to see sea defences.

Some of them are simply school sponsored 'jollies'. Three days at Disneyland Paris with ICT. WTF? The Maths trip to Alton Towers. The sixth form trips are the most disruptive, as students can miss double lessons and thus over half a week's worth. There are many that have only the most tenuous link to the curriculum.

What I'm trying to say is that I find it extremely irritating when schools take a 'hard line' on absence and yet actively condone it when it is organised by them.

Blu Fri 23-Nov-12 15:23:53

Definitely go.

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 15:29:39

Thanks Blu, your words carry weight a. because you are Blu and b. because of your job!

And thanks radical, interesting to have that perspective.

Thanks to everyone, in fact, been very useful to have the MN jury as I was wobbling a bit. Didn't want to set ds A Bad Example and all that.

Blu Fri 23-Nov-12 15:49:52

wink Edam

a) it should be very good
b) if it is he will remember that afternoon forever
c)it will give him great ideas and keep his brain buzzing, and make him want to read the books
c) schools do not take children on enough good quality theatre, music and gallery trips,- someone has to do it!!
d) a head teacher would be bonkers not to see this as an educational opportunity - s/he probably feels no leeway over the definition of what can be authorised and will secretly agree that you should go
d) I am a curmudgeonly old gradgrind about not taking DS out of school - never ddf it for holiday, but I did take him out for a whole day to visit CERN and it was 100% the right thing to do.

I hope it is good - I'll be interested to hear back!

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 20:06:22

wow, you took your ds to CERN?! It's as if I've fallen into an episode of the Big Bang Theory grin

Will report back, but it's not for a week or two. I've already put several of the books on my shopping list, they look great but I'd never come across Philip Ridley before.

radicalsubstitution Fri 23-Nov-12 20:29:12

A trip to CERN......envy

edam Fri 23-Nov-12 20:32:59

I think there will be a lot of people releasing their inner Sheldon on this thread now Blu's mentioned that...

exexpat Fri 23-Nov-12 20:42:52

We went to CERN in the summer. Sadly my DCs aren't as interested in science as I am sad.

radicalsubstitution Fri 23-Nov-12 20:50:59

If I went to CERN, I would leave DH with both DCs at home.

Selfish me.

Mind you, DS is 6. I think the Higgs Boson is a bit beyond him at present.

Pyrrah Fri 23-Nov-12 20:52:33

I asked DD's teacher about taking DD out for an afternoon at the end of term to see The Nutcracker at ENO since I've been offered tickets. Even though she is in the Nursery and therefore not obliged to be in school as far as the LEA is concerned, I was advised that pulling a sickie would be a far, far better idea.

Since the form teacher knows the real reason I'm okay with it - as I don't trust DD not to tell her exactly where she was the day before!

So I would go 100%.

Btw, does anyone know what the score is regarding unauthorised absences at free-schools or academies? Does the LEA still get involved or is it down to individual schools to police themselves?

Ponders Fri 23-Nov-12 20:59:23

the whole authorisation for absences thing has got completely out of hand IMO

I feel so sorry for teachers/heads who would mostly doubtless love to say "yes, of course you should go, it will be enriching for you all" but daren't because of bloody regulations sad

My eldest left primary school in 1993 & her Head used to encourage people to take their kids out of school in pursuit of broadening their horizons. Honestly I could weep sometimes at what has been done to education.

Anyway, edam - go! damn you, GO!!! grin

I would also go. My dd was also turned down for something similar and I went.

radicalsubstitution Fri 23-Nov-12 21:10:10

Ponders Heads actually still have the powers to authorise absence under 'exceptional circumstances'. Whilst LEAs will always support heads in refusing absence, they are often very cautious about specifying what 'exceptional' circumstances are.

I am so glad that our LEA gives just enough 'grey area' that heads can make their own decision. I know some heads in the LEA who grant NO absence in term time. DS' head still authorises absences for nothing more complicated than family holidays occasionally.

May she continue to do so.......

Ponders Fri 23-Nov-12 21:23:26

Whilst LEAs will always support heads in refusing absence, they are often very cautious about specifying what 'exceptional' circumstances are

exactly sad

BooksandaCuppa Fri 23-Nov-12 21:49:07

Surely that could go down as 'educated offsite'? I would ask politely that that's what the Head puts it down as. Take him anyway. And take the theatre programme in for show and tell!

expansivegirth Fri 23-Nov-12 22:25:49

Please go. The problem here is not you, but the school policy. Definitely go. I agree with Ponders. It's nuts these days and is to be defied. It particularly annoys me as the hard line absence policy is meant to be because of a correlation between poor attendance and educational outcomes in later life. But the policy is applied even when it's obviously not relevant, as in this situation. There is obviously a difference between someone never coming to school because their parent is pulling them out to babysit a younger child, or is letting them truant so they can wonder the streets or stay at home watching TV. It particularly annoys me given that, at my kids school they spent half an hour this afternoon watching cartoons in educational class time, and whenever it rains they sit indoors and watch Disney Films...and I'm meant to not take them out for the day so they can do this!!!!!!!!! B*llocks!

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