I need to take DS's out of school in term time, advice please?

(59 Posts)
mummyplonk Thu 10-Jan-13 14:46:02

Hiya, I have DS's in years 3 and 2. My brother (their only Uncle) has just proposed to his lovely girlfriend, they are going to get married in Novemebr next year. One problem, he lives in Australia sad we obviously hardly ever see him, we have never been able to afford to go there and he has announced he is going to pay for all of our flights and our parents so there will be 6 of our family and 100 of her smile.

I have never taken them out of school before but we are not going to miss his wedding for the world. It seems like an exceptional circumstance to me, do you think so too? and because of the distance I was thinking about asking for 3 weeks? Is there a maximum amount of time they will authorise does anyone know? This is probably the only time in our life we will all go there, accomodation provided so would you ask 3 as well or try and push it to 4 weeks? Thanks for reading.

ivykaty44 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:17

Recognising the issues?

Schools may wish to take account of the following when making judgements about requests for extended visits:


¨A visit involving family overseas can have an entirely different significance to the notion of a “holiday”
¨Visits may be an important part of a child’s identity and cultural links as he/she grows up
¨Parents may feel that the reason for their visit outweighs the disruption to their child’s education. Perhaps maintaining family links has a greater significance and pressure in different societies
¨It is often very difficult for ethnic minority families to maintain links during circumstances of family bereavements or sickness of relatives, especially when long distances and high prices are involved

Acknowledging the above issues should allow for a more positive and constructive dialogue with parents.

found the above in this

I can remember my father being granted 6 weeks leave from work as he worked within a large mixed group of Indians who where allowed 6 weeks holiday to go home every 4 years, apparently at the time it was not allowed to prevent them from going, my dad wanted to visit australia and visit his uncle and so was also allowed the time every four years.

i have no idea legally where the local authority stands in trying to prevent visiting family overseas. But would take a guess that the way the above is worded as some bearing on that - just a hunch

lljkk Fri 18-Jan-13 17:39:45

I think you need to chat to your school, informally, OP.

I've not had trouble taking mine out for 2-3 weeks, once every 4 years, to see family who live 13 hours flight away. We don't really go on holiday, otherwise.

izzyishappilybusy Fri 18-Jan-13 17:39:24

I don't get how a penal notice can be back dated per session.

I've read the link from below and it looks like £60 per notice to me.

Its just going to make foreign holidays the province of the well off.

ajandjjmum Fri 18-Jan-13 17:37:33

We chose to take the DC away from school for a few days just before the end of the summer term - they were actually back for the final couple of days. It was for family reasons that we thought were important - one school was fine about it, the other a bit iffy - and it was totally the opposite way to what we expected.

DH went and saw both heads and explained the circumstances and our reasoning. We were asked to put it in writing, and they approved.

If I were you OP, before you go and see the Head, I would spend some time finding out about 'educational' trips that you will undertake with the DC, and I think someone's earlier suggestion of a scrapbook is a great idea!

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 17:31:04

I don't think that the KCC are acting legally. The Education Act clearly states it is the responsibility of the parent to provide an education for their children. This can be outsourced to a school or otherwise.
I would argue they were receiving an education and any fine is the responsibility of the parent not another adult.

izzyishappilybusy Fri 18-Jan-13 17:28:15

If they are going to start fining us for being late I'm dead in the water.

I have real issues with ds refusing for go to school (there are reasons) and he is late nearly every day.

I refuse to leave him crying at the classroom door.

Frikadellen Fri 18-Jan-13 17:16:07

Well I live in Kent and we had the following send to us on the 9th of November 2012

The Educational Welfare Officer from Kent County Council’s Attendance Service visited {name of school}
last term to ask us to remind parents that ‘regular and punctual attendance at school is
both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational
opportunities.”, and to advise parents that under section 444 of the Education Act 1996
penalty notices (fines) will be issued to those parents whose children have unauthorised
absence. Under new guidance issued by Kent County Council the following will apply from the
beginning of term 2:

A parent of any pupil who has 10 unauthorised sessions in any two terms will be issued
with a penalty notice. By a session we mean 1 morning or 1 afternoon - therefore 10
sessions is equal to 5 days.

A parent of any pupil who is late for more than 10 sessions in any two terms will be
issued with a penalty notice.

A parent of any pupil who has had 10 consecutive unauthorised absences will be issued
with a penalty notice.

A penalty notice is a fine of £120 (reduced to £60 if paid within 28 days of receipt of notice) per
parent per child. So if a parent has two children with unauthorised absences or late sessions,
the fine would be £480 (each parent would be fined £120 per child. A parent also counts as a
partner who may be living at the same house as a child. KCC’s view is that any adult living in
that house has a responsibility to get the children to school). The fine is not issued by school
but by KCC attendance service. The attendance service regularly visits to look at the registers
and monitor each pupil’s attendance.

What do we mean by unauthorised? Any absence that is not authorised by the school is an
unauthorised absence. Examples of this may be: holidays, days off at the beginning or end of
terms to extend a holiday, days off because of birthdays, any absence for which the school has
not received a written explanation within a week of the date of absence.

When will an absence be authorised? For visits to the doctors or emergency dentist (routine
visits to the dentist should be made after school or in the holidays), visits to open days at other
schools, music exams etc. However if it is suspected that a false claim of illness is made in
order to get an authorised absence a doctor’s letter will be requested.If in doubt whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised please speak to us. If for any reason you feel there are exceptional circumstances for a holiday to be authorised you must write to the governing body, via the Headteacher, using the form in the school entrance foyer.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 18-Jan-13 14:24:23

Does your brother have any flexibility over the date of the wedding? I would suggest you either add on two weeks after the Oct half term hols or 2 weeks prior to the Xmas hols. Our head teacher is happy to approve 2 weeks for holidays so long as it's all in one block.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 17-Jan-13 20:24:14

I find it unbelievable that LEAs are able to do this. If school was compulsory I could understand it a bit more. I know that the dc in question are on the school roll, but surely they aren't going to miss much if they take a month out.
I'm sure the fines only serve to fill the depleted pot of local government, just like any other gov fines these days.

If it were me I would go for it anyway, but also keep a journal of all the subjects, topics etc their visit included.

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Thu 17-Jan-13 13:19:51

jeee has a good idea there. If your head is amenable you could ask whether there are spaces in your DCs classes at the school. If so, then you could deregister them, saying that you are going to homeschool (and it will be genuine homeschooling, as they will be learning and experiencing loads!) and then you can reapply for a place when you get back. This only works if there are space though, as otherwise you might find yourself homeschooing permanently smile

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 13:13:52

It doesn't make me sad it angers me - its the opportunity of a lifetime - when I was in school a month in Australia would have been seen as a good thiNguyen.

ivykaty44 Thu 17-Jan-13 12:53:44

This makes me so sad to read sad a family wanting to go and be with other family at a wedding on the other side of the earth is a battle due to schooling.

Where is the value of family and relatives sad We should promote family and family life as important.

jeee Thu 17-Jan-13 12:50:10

Assuming permission won't be granted (and you may yet be surprised), could you just withdraw your children from school for the period? Will there be space for them when you get back? Not ideal, but I think sometimes schools don't fully get the issues of dispersed extended families.

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 12:46:38

The prob with percentages is they are higher in first term than in say June.

izzyishappilybusy Thu 17-Jan-13 12:44:10

I'd aim for the 4 weeks myself - see where you go - if they are going to say no they 're going to say no.

No school can fine per half day - its downto local counci guidelines.

Its an appalling I infringement on our right to parent our own children.

They will learn a lot in a month to Australia - I love that they learn about airports in school - but visiting one is banned.

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:41:14

The only time it could rise to £1000 is if it is taken successfully through the courts. Which, if one paid up at the beginning could still have a cheaper holdiay in term time.

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:38:42
ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 12:25:38

which area are you if you don't mind me asking? Cos I cannot find anything on the net?

DeWe Thu 17-Jan-13 11:47:41

Per day fine is operated in this area, and not just for repeat performers. Know someone who had 3 children away for a fortnight. That came to 3 x 2 x 10 x 50 = 3000. Bit of a shock as they thought they'd got a cheap holiday. They appealled and lost.
I know others who've been fined for odd days too, they thought they'd get away with it as their dc had had no absence before, but that wasn't taken into consideration.

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 09:51:08

I can't see them enforcing a 'per day' fine. They would never recover the money. It could run into thousands with 2 or 3 children off for a fortnight. I know they want to scare people into not taking a hol in term time, but that is ridiculous! My LEA told me on the QT that they will only proceed through the courts if they a pretty damn sure they can recover the money, as it is expensive. They look at each case individually and decide whether it is worth it. More often than not, they don't. It would have to be a persistant offender.

scaevola Thu 17-Jan-13 09:50:42

"I think we would give you another week at least."

That would be illegal. The provision for up to 10 days authorised leave is part of the Education Act, and it is explicitly at HT's (not governors') discretion.

The provision for fines (including per-session fines) for unauthorised leave was also introduced in law (thanks, New Labour)

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Thu 17-Jan-13 09:47:28

Hmm, well now you mention it I'm not sure! smile The fine is for a session of absence and I was sure that I read that some LEAs see 1 week as 5 sessions. But I can't find anything to back that up so maybe I misread or misunderstood blush

ToeCap Thu 17-Jan-13 09:39:41

I have never heard of this 'per day' business? Are you sure? Mine was flat rate fine. £50 per child per parent. So max £200 doubling if not paid within 28 days.
Has anyone had this 'per day' fine?

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Wed 16-Jan-13 17:38:36

It is £50 per child, per parent, per day - but it is not true that fines are very common. They may be common in one particular area but a realtive of mine is an EWO and they hardly ever fine parents... only the repeat offenders.

DoodleNoo Wed 16-Jan-13 11:54:57

They might authorise up to two weeks depending on school / LA policy, maybe more if you are very lucky and take time to explain the special nature of the trip. You might then have to accept that extra time might go down as unauthorised, but really, big deal?!

Most LA will have an Educational Welfare Officer - I guess you might get a letter, but they are there to deal with persistent truanting, not a one-family occasion like this. I don't see that they would have a leg to stand on if they decided to get heavy, unless your kids have very bad attendance record and attitude to school anyway. The very fact that you're worrying about it and posting about it on mumsnet suggests that's probably not the case.

And if they fine you, again, why worry. It'd only be £50 or £100, and that's not lot to pay for a holiday like this!

I'd talk to the head and find out his / her opinion of what might be deemed reasonable. I have taken mine out for a week on this sort of occasion, not been granted any leave because our school don't ever grant any, but the head was fairly sympathetic and although said she couldn't authorise it due to school policy, she would turn a blind eye and that if we wanted to go, we should, and not worry about it.

They are your kids after all, and not the council's!

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