/ School Unauthorised Absence Penalties
Schools are no longer allowed to authorise term time absences for holidays.
No longer can you take a long weekend by having Friday afternoon off.
The local authority will fine *each* parent £120 for *each* child who has an unauthorised absence from school. The £120 is reduced to £60 if you pay within 21 days.
If you are rich, then it is just another cost on the skiing holiday etc.
I imagine there will be an increase in children off sick. Also, we take one day off, why not take a week or two off, if the fine is the same.
Does anyone have a link to the actual law on this?
If a parent reports their child off sick, but is found to have gone on holiday, does the school have to dob them in?
Sledgehammer to crack a nut, this.
It is vital that all children are compelled to attend school during term time. If this is not rigorously enforced with swingeing penalties for parents who transgress how can those of us without school-aged children hope to escape the brats by taking our holidays in term time?
There was some research done a few years ago by a couple of psychologists on penaltys and rewards. There was a primary school that was having problems with parents arriving late to the 'after school' service to collect their kids. The school introduced a penalty for those whose parents were late.
The result? An increase in late arrivals to the after school service. The parents saw the fine as a fee. They were now paying for a service to keep their kids in school later, rather than feeling bad for making a teacher stay late.
And no, I can't remember the source.
Andy will be along in a moment to say that I should be encouraging my kids to have more respect for their school, but as the one has just gone to the uni of their choice and the other is top in all her subjects they seem to be doing OK, despite the subversive anarchy at home.
we'd just play football in the south of france or somewhere.
Travel is great experience for a kid.
Strikes me as parents wanting to have their cake and eat it.
TBH I'd hate such a rule. You I intend to stay active, travel to races, and so if it meant kids missing Friday afternoon off school, then so be it. I can't imagine I'll return to the UK but if I did that would be an issue if I had kids. I'd want the freedom to work around school. As long as kids are at 95% of lessons, developing well, passing exams, does it really matter?
my parents were small farmers, growing vegetables. holidays between early spring and the end of potatoes were out of the question, so I got taken out of school for a few days in late autumn. My mum wrote a letter to the school and off we went. This was in the late 70s and the school were fine about this
What?? Just feel there are responsibilities people have.
> I'd want the freedom to work around school.
That was my point. If everyone did that schools would be chaotic.
As long as kids are at 95% of lessons, developing well, passing exams, does it really matter?
I would guess yes, from the point of view of teachers, schools etc trying to keep track of who has done what and who is where.
URI and RUSTICHINI
I agree BTW
Where did you see that? Haven't seen anything in the news about it and we've certainly not heard anything about it for R's school. Although admittedly the Scottish schools system is different.
Its what exams are for. You go in ask school what subjects will be covered, take the notebooks and get them to do the exercises. I know a fair few kids who were home schooled for long periods due to extended travel, sailinga round the world for one family.
Now great rounded people, very clever, but also the most sociable people you could meet as from a young age they'd learnt to socialise and meet new people, picking up friends quickly.
Reading the thread, it appears that schools don't do anything the last week of term and that missing the occasional Friday doesn't do any harm. To that end, why not just extend the school holidays?
I'd fine the parents even more. About 200 a day should do it.
Rather different as there is no disruption to a school, teacher, other pupils etc.
I certainly didn't. In fact we always holiday'd outside of the holiday periods if we went abroad. If we stayed in the UK we'd go to Wales aT Easter and summer.
Education is not just from the classroom. I'd want my kids to experience as much as possible and if I deemed something a valuable experience I'd want to take them out of school for it. Its all a bit big government.
Fine, I agree - just do it at other times. I certainly did a lot in the holidays.
I find it strange that you can take your child out of school permanently and "home school" them, by just writing a letter, and with no fine.
However, if you take, in my case, 2 kids out of school a day early to go on holiday, they can fine you £240!
It doesn't seem right.............
I believe they were able to authorise up to 10 in an academic year for family holidays, provided it didn't clash with anything important that might be going on in the school during that time.
At least that was the case where my boys are.
Some parents would do that, and if so no problem. Many parents would not. If you have a kid of middling ability who does middlingly on exams (but isn't a self-motivated self-learner with parents who take an interest), then that kid might miss a chunk of maths that means he never understands that bit. And as a result, given that maths is a cumulative subject, it will mean there'll be other bits that he'll never really understand, which means he won't progress as he should.
Either the school shrugs and doesn't care, or they then make an individual effort to help that child catch up, which isn't easy with classfulls of other kids to deal with. One can understand the school not liking this, at a minimum it's going to cause them hassle to check what the kid has missed and arrange for and check that the kid covers that work. Afterall, school holidays are already a fair chunk of the year.
Hardly. I grew up in a working house and holidays were an odd leisure which were never took when I should have been at school. My parents had long hours / shifts etc. I certainly didn't go travelling about Europe. I got 10 days in Majorca on a package holiday during the summer holidays.
The only time I got off school was when I was dogging it (playing truant you filthy animals), but the few times I was caught resulted in a "referral" or once a suspension, and in all instances my legs smacked black and blue by my mum. It was the risk you ran but my parents would have never taken me out of school.
Given parents such as yourself who care about education and who are proficient at research-scientist level this might work fine. But most kids have parents who are of distinctly average and mediocre educational ability themselves and who don't have degrees and may have only mediocre GCSEs/O-levels in some subjects, and who don't want to be hassled with such stuff on holiday (the whole point of holiday being to get away from such things).
We got a letter from the school last week about this. Will dig it out the recycling box later.
Few people know why schools close for the 6 week summer break. this was originally started so that the children could help their parents with harvest. Since few children would be helping with the harvest these days you could argue that the whole holiday calendar should be overhauled. After all, people are always moaning that they can't get child care during any other school disruption.
Part of the problem seems to be that people seem to think that it's their right to have a fortnight in the sun every year and because capitalism responds to demand by increasing prices people want to go away out of school time. It's almost like parents no longer value education and see it as a chore and a hindrance to their holidaying aspirations.
When I was a kid I certainly wouldn't have been allowed to take time off school for holidays because my parents wouldn't have wanted me to miss school, not because my teachers wouldn't have wanted me to miss school or because we would have been hit with a fine.
Perhaps there should be a rule that, at a minimum, whatever lessons are missed must be covered by private tuition at the expense of the parents within a certain time of the holiday and some form of homework must be handed in to show that the child is up to speed.
Not related to the school absence topic at all, but I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day with the head of a local secondary school where all the pupils have iPads. Apparently this makes for improved remote working as well as familiarising them with technology in the classroom. The only thing that I found depressing about it was her excitement about the pupils doing all their art lessons on the iPads...
If we go again and they want to enforce this policy, it'll be sick time all the way. At least if he's on a plane there's a bag for him to hurl in.
> Not related to the school absence topic at all, but I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day with the head of a local secondary school where all the pupils have iPads. Apparently this makes for improved remote working as well as familiarising them with technology in the classroom. The only thing that I found depressing about it was her excitement about the pupils doing all their art lessons on the iPads...
I actually was going to say the same about my Brothers school, he's a head teacher of an international School in Italy and the kids there are fully ipad'd up. But thats an international school where most of the kids are from very wealthy families and pay big fees or their parents work pays. But I think for his school the kids are used to a lot of travel, and when parents pay lots, schools are more adaptable.. because basically parents are customers..
The simple answer is no. In many cases school holidays do not match up with those times when parents can afford time away from their work.
>My parents never organised holidays at other times of the year and I didn't get time off school unless I was sick - and many times not even then as my parents had jobs to go to so unless I was physically on death's door then I was in school. My school would never have authorised holidays during term time 15 years ago anyway so its moot anyway is it not?
You also need to take into account the issue of different counties being incapable of co-ordinating their holidays. If the education authorities can't get it right why should parents be fined? I guess that if you have kids in schools in two counties you either have to look big and stump up the money, pick the holidays of county that has the most lenient approach to enforcing this silly rule or encourage your kids to lie and say they were off sick.
I was taken out of school at certain times as a child, not to go on holidays in the sun, but to go on holiday in the UK with visiting relatives. I took no work with me. My parents only have a few o-levels between them yet it didn't seem to harm me academically.
Find it farily ludicrous to suggest that a few days missed prior to GCSE years would have any impact tbh.
Find it farily ludicrous to suggest that a few days missed prior to GCSE years would have any impact tbh.
How about in the GCSE years?
On the one hand it seems daft that schools/teachers can't distinguish between kids who are bright, motivated and doing well and those who are failing and/or mitching; on the other it's obviously easier to have a 'one rule fits all'.
Two slightly different things - yes, it was recorded as absence, and so affected OFSTED, but head teacher was until this September able to authorise up to 10 days absence, meaning parents couldn't be fined for these. Could, but didn't have to - round here most primary schools would, but secondaries wouldn't.
Personally, I think the whole idea that better attendance leads to better performance should be tested on MPs before it's let loose on school kids.
Like IanRUK, I missed plenty of school (including a year abroad on an entirely different syllabus and a month off in the sixth form) and still managed good a-levels. It was a bit more of an issue as qualifications went more course work based, but one of Gove's other plans seems to be to head back to purely exam based assessment.
You can't do that any more.
No holidays unless exceptional circumstances, the example given was accompanying a dying sibling somewhere. You are allowed a couple of days off if there is a bereavement in the close family.
The new law does not affect the wealthy, they can pay and play away.
The fine does not appear to be per day, but per unauthorised absence period.
Cannot attend a funeral unless close family.
Cannot attend a wedding unless the child is playing a role (page boy, bridesmaid).
Not any more - law's changed. Only "exceptional" reasons can be authorised - which I imagine is stuff like a family member's funeral, etc.
Although, as far as I can tell, whilst schools and LA can impose a fine, they don't necessary have to.
I have a vague plan for my son not doing SATS next academic year because I want him to have the well rounded education that he doesn't appear to be getting at present due to the school's perceived idea that concentrating on literacy and numeracy will make Ofsted happy. My thoughts were that we could use SATS week, where they aren't doing anything to develop his education for a nice time to do some experiential learning in art, geography, history and adventurous activities - all things in the national curriculum that get ignored if the "need" to get SATS results are too great. My planned week is educational - the school can put it down as Educational Visits if they don't want to be penalised by Ofsted. He has had 100% attendance for all his other years, so we don't have a poor track record. Or, they can put it down as Unauthorised Absence and suffer the Ofsted consequences. Maybe we'll be fined £60 - oh well, shit happens.
Don't know about Scotland (or Wales), certainly true for England.
by the way, schools never did have the authority to authorise holiday leave during term time. It is reported as 'unauthorized absence', and can affect the school's ofsted score.
They did until this term, certainly at my kids' primary school in Derbyshire.
find it strange that you can take your child out of school permanently and "home school" them, by just writing a letter, and with no fine.
However, if you take, in my case, 2 kids out of school a day early to go on holiday, they can fine you £240!
You are allowed to take them out for religious festivals - is that any use.
If you pick one with lots of festivals and perhaps your partner picks another, then you may get a few days.
> Andy will be along in a moment to say that I should be encouraging my kids to have more respect for their school, but as the one has just gone to the uni of their choice and the other is top in all her subjects they seem to be doing OK, despite the subversive anarchy at home.
Last days of term were watching videos or similar things when I was at school too.
> The only thing that I found depressing about it was her excitement about the pupils doing all their art lessons on the iPads...
That's a shame. There's something learnt in using different mediums for art classes even if people aren't artistic. :-(
It seems that as money becomes tighter and the European holidays become more expensive due to the financial problems over there, it could come to the point where all the rich kids have gone on holiday two weeks before the end of term. Part of education is learning to follow rules. If the rules are that you should attend school, but the parents say "Well it's ok to break this rule.", what message does that send to the kids?
They'll need to understand that when they get into the real world things are a lot tougher - There are four of us working in an office. Only one of us can take time off at any particular time. Three of us have kids. Last year the guy without kids went on holiday for 3 weeks during the summer holidays. Nice!
I only got holiday formed once, when I was about 6. The rest of the time we went away in school holidays.
Yes, it's more expensive. Just choose a less ambitious holiday - we stayed in the UK mostly and camped or caravanned, going to France every few years.
Do you know why he did?
I don't have my own kids, but I take a week each summer holiday so I can take other peoples' kids on Scout camp. Institute a rule whereby you can't if you don't have kids, and they won't get their camp.
Utterly ridiculous....i can't imagine it will stick in a court.
I tend to think that it's more about the attitude to education that going on holiday during term time sends. Sure the kids won't actually miss anything vital, but they'll get the message that school isn't important and you can decide to not pay attention when you feel like it. But while I don't 'approve' of taking your kids out of school, I'm not sure whether fining people will help - as someone else mentioned it could very well send the opposite message: that if you pay £120 you're allowed to take a holiday.... And parents will just say the kids are sick and teach their kids that pulling a sickie is ok as well....
Anyway those are my opinions as a childless 20 something. No doubt my opinion might change once I have to shell out for a family holiday.
> TBH I'd hate such a rule. You I intend to stay active, travel to races, and so if it meant kids missing Friday afternoon off school, then so be it. I can't imagine I'll return to the UK but if I did that would be an issue if I had kids. I'd want the freedom to work around school. As long as kids are at 95% of lessons, developing well, passing exams, does it really matter?
Yep, I took my kids out of primary school this year at the end of January to go for a weeks skiing because we couldn't go at half term and after one week back at school both of their teachers said that they were the only two kids that were full of energy, keen to learn and wide awake amongst a sea of lethargic zombies. They suggested I should take the whole class away for a week!
I don't see the schools making a big deal over the Baker/inset days, that comes out of term time doesn't it?
> The local authority will fine *each* parent £120 for *each* child who has an unauthorised absence from school. The £120 is reduced to £60 if you pay within 21 days.
How does this work with kids who play truant I wonder?
It usually is, but there are particular circumstances that at times mean it's not possible. Some people have jobs that keep them busy through school holidays so can't take a family holiday together. Sometimes things crop up that you want or need to take your kids to, the dates of which are fixed by someone else (family wedding abroad for example).
It does sound like the proverbial sledgehammer. What annoys me is the presumption that kids only learn at school.
> Anyway those are my opinions as a childless 20 something. No doubt my opinion might change once I have to shell out for a family holiday.
Of course, holidays during usual school holidays cost a fortune. Private schools have different/longer holidays so the posh don't have to worry about it...
Anyway those are my opinions as a childless 20 something. No doubt my opinion might change once I have to shell out for a family holiday.''
It will mate . Especially if you can't go.
Last years hol in a house in Scotland was £1165 in term time which we couldn't afford. One week later it was £600. The school had no problem with that. What exactly are they going to miss that they can't keep up with over the rest of the term? Nowt.
It's just another tax on the not rich.
> Schools are no longer allowed to authorise term time absences for holidays.
Do we have a link to this legislation?
> I don't see the schools making a big deal over the Baker/inset days, that comes out of term time doesn't it?
This is Gove's baby - nowt to do with the schools.
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007
The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
> The local authority will fine *each* parent £120 for *each* child who has an unauthorised absence from school. The £120 is reduced to £60 if you pay within 21 days.
Does the local authority pay each parent £120 for each child that has to stay home when their teachers go on strike for the day? The one they've got planned for December (aka teachers xmas shopping day) could net us a few hundred quid.
They can strike in the summer holidays....
> How does this work with kids who play truant I wonder?
Good point, you may have just saved me £60. Might ruin Boy Bingers' reputation as a goodie goodie, but needs must!
From a later post I see this -
"Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted."
It's our current policy.
"Amendments to 2007 regulations will reduce the timescales for paying a penalty notice. Parents must, from 1 September 2013, pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. This brings attendance penalty notices into line with other types of penalty notices and allows local authorities to act faster on prosecutions."
Just makes the money collecting quicker?
> Do you know why he did?
> I don't have my own kids, but I take a week each summer holiday so I can take other peoples' kids on Scout camp. Institute a rule whereby you can't if you don't have kids, and they won't get their camp.
Yes. So he could spend time in Thailand in swimming pools with naked women.
But that's not my point. I took 2 weeks off to take kids to scout camp when I was younger and had no family.
The point I'm making is we can't just pick and chose when we fancy doing things. What we do is determined by the actions of others and our actions impact others.
Next year I hope to take my kids to Disney during the summer. They're at the age that if they don't go now they never will. I will try to arrange this to fit in with the other two family guys but the fourth guy will do whatever he fancies.
If you can't afford the family holiday you 'want' then do something else. My family holiday consisted of a few weekends away last year!
> Schools are no longer allowed to authorise term time absences for holidays.
That isn't actually what the changes either say or mean.
It puts more emphasis on the Head to regulate absence.
Lots of kids still need time off for non-achool organised events, music concerts, sport competitions etc that the school should be very happy for them to attend.
A holiday to Egypt (like one of the mumsnet objectors(!) less so.
I think it does:
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 currently allow headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in “special circumstances” of up to ten school days leave per year. Headteachers can also grant extended leave for more than ten school days in exceptional circumstances.
Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.
"But most kids have parents who are of distinctly average and mediocre educational ability themselves"
I'd be very interested in an authenticated source for this. Daily Mail, perhaps?
You're reading it wrongly, it just puts the onus on the Head to make sure the circumstances are exceptional, that the child hasn't had too long off school already etc.
So savvy parents will say they have to go on holiday during term time because Dad is off to China for a 6 month secondment, stupid ones will say they're going to save money.
> "But most kids have parents who are of distinctly average and mediocre educational ability themselves"
> I'd be very interested in an authenticated source for this. Daily Mail, perhaps?
It's pretty obvious isn't it? Similarly, 50% of them will have parents of below-average ability, all things being equal (i.e. ignoring relationships between ability, income, and number of children).
Researcher quotes Wikipedia - shock, horror!
The thread seems to be littered with sad determinism, such fertile ground for reactionaries.
No - it's not obvious, in just the same way that Rutter (various dates) has been able to argue very convincingly that deviancy is not (necessarily) inherited.
I don't think I am, but hey. My interpretation derives from the guidance passed to us by our county education authority.
So savvy parents will say they have to go on holiday during term time because Dad is off to China for a 6 month secondment
If dad is there for six months, the kids can visit during a school holiday.
I would have thought a 6month secondment to China would be exceptional circumstances and a headteacher would be able to grant leave of absence for that but I am no expert on these matters.
As for family holidays I have a mixed feeling. My gut instinct would be that holidays within term time should be governed. However, when I was schooling in the 80s and 90s the teachers were so useless in the last week of term it was basically pointless to attend. Exams had been sat, curriculum had been covered, we just turned up to play games and socialise so we may as well have been on holiday.
Quite often we would miss the last few days of summer term time, up until age 13-14 anyway.
You can cut all you want.. its clear as day..
I think someone touched on this above but...
If you want to self educate your child you can. Children are home educated and I don't think its particularly difficult to opt out of schooling in order to do this.
Therefore I want to self educate my child 1/12 travelling through Europe in a camper van. 1/52 of this will be term time. But I would be penalised with a 60quid fine (whatever 60quid is worth these days - speeding ticket?).
That doesn't make sense to me.
That particular middle class excuse has been specifically "outlawed" in the wording - "educational benefits" of skiing round the Portes du Soleil because it's cheaper don't swing it.
There is a parallel with vaccination here (although i agree with the sledgehammer and nut point, but that's Gove for you) - all us lovely middle class parents who care about our kids' education and will ensure they either take work away, catch up or walk round a cathedral on holiday will not, individually, make the slightest difference to the outcome by taking a week or two in term time now and again. But if everyone did it whenever they felt like it, it could be bloody chaotic. Imagine if your kids had to do the same maths topic three times because some children missed it.
I won't take my kids out of school for cheap holidays (because in 95% of cases that's what it is - if a parent's in the forces or has absolutely fixed leave then school is allowed to authorise it) mainly because I think it gives them a message about school being less important than dojng what you like, but the is a "herd immunity" parallel here - one ir two doing it, no problem, open season and it's chaos.
> So savvy parents will say they have to go on holiday during term time because Dad is off to China for a 6 month secondment, stupid ones will say they're going to save money.
No, there's a strict list (probably in the guidance, rather than the legislation) that defines "exceptional". Holidays don't come in to it. Think family funerals.
If only. The school in my village had terrible problems because a group of parents organised skiing trips. Village school with only 50 kids found 15-20 of them going off skiing together.
Mind you, as far as I can see, you could de-register your child from school before you leave (opting to home educate them), and apply for a school place again when you get back, without getting a fine. Wouldn't be a popular option if school is oversubscribed, but would seem to work OK if it has spare places.
IIRC, doesn't apply to academies, which may be why some parents haven't heard of the change.
Bit like when the school itself organises a ski trip, then?
No idea of the status of the evidence you're quoting (are these papers regularly cited? are the sources/journals top-rated in the specific fields etc)
Also, so much appears to depend (in at least one paper) on an agreed version of 'intelligence'; as you'll know this has stirred huge controversy over the best part of 100 years.
We also shouldn't forget that many of the leading lights (historically) in claiming that 'intelligence' is hereditary and is diven significantly by race/culture have aligned themselves with activists on the far-right.
I am not denying some connection (Rutter is excellent, for example, in tracking the multi-factoral causes of delinquency and poor school attainment, and he includes cultural disposition as part of his explanatory).
What I am objecting to in the thread is unilateralism - there are very few single-factor causes for human behaviour.
Two drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff :)
> Does the local authority pay each parent £120 for each child that has to stay home when their teachers go on strike for the day? The one they've got planned for December (aka teachers xmas shopping day) could net us a few hundred quid.
I don't imagine many teachers strike unless they feel it's a point of principle to do with childrens' education?
We are responding to the Gove-fuelled madness that is our current education system - including this ridiculous rule - by taking our kids out to home ed.
We struggled to take our Reception aged child (not even of mandatory school age at that point!) on a holiday to France that was of personal importance, where she actually spoke real French words to real French people. We felt that was a great example of true education, far more valuable than the time she would have spent in school waiting around for all the naughty kids to come and sit on the carpet to listen to a teacher reading a book. Yet the school's view was that they granted our request with extreme reluctance, and basically told us to never ask again because our request would be refused.
There are many examples such as people being unable to take their kids to family weddings abroad because they are in term time, even where this has been planned and booked months ago before this ruling came into place. How can a family wedding in a foreign country be deemed to be less important than what happens in school?
It may be aimed at them, but it will hit all. I don't think the head has any wiggle room.
The absence is either authorised because it is exceptional (rather than 'special' which was the old adjective and could be used for holidays) or unauthorised and subject to fines.
> There are four of us working in an office. Only one of us can take time off at any particular time. Three of us have kids. Last year the guy without kids went on holiday for 3 weeks during the summer holidays. Nice!
That's one thing that definitely needs looking at. Mrs Ferg works in an office with about 30 people, and most of those have kids at school age.
The rules are that only 2 people can be off at the same time, so how are all those people supposed to have time off with their kids over the holidays?
I'm lucky that i can take my holidays pretty much when i want, but the wife has to get in there first morning back after Christmas, or she has no chance.
Everyone is missing the point that the state regards all (your) children as it's own. This is just another consequence of the fact.
>> "But most kids have parents who are of distinctly average and mediocre educational ability themselves"
Do you know what "average" means? Or perhaps you live in one of those utopias where all kids are of above-average intelligence? [Note: "mediocre" from "middling", "mid way".]
> I don't imagine many teachers strike unless they feel it's a point of principle to do with childrens' education?
Then imagine harder Tim. Most teachers grumble in work and to friends and family about points of principle to do with children's education, but strikes, although normally supported by a minority, are generally about pay and pensions.
Sounds like a sledgehammer job to me, very Govian.
I took my lad out of school 2 1/2 days before the end of his last term at junior school back in July, his sister had already started her holiday from high school the week before. I just sent the school a letter saying I had work commitments during the rest of the school holidays and that was the only week I could take them on holiday. Never heard any more about it. First time one of my kids has had time off school for a holiday though.
I understand the differences. Thanks
> Then imagine harder Tim. Most teachers grumble in work and to friends and family about points of principle to do with children's education, but strikes, although normally supported by a minority, are generally about pay and pensions.
To be honest, after I posted I found myself struggling to remember a strike which hadn't been about pay and pensions.
I think your entirely reasonable action is the type of thing that will attract the fine this year.
Actually, I'm not sure that's who it's aimed at at all.
Gove seems to be arguing that increasing attendance will not only result in improved attainment, but also close the gap between the lowest performers and the highest performers. There's probably some evidence that very poor attendance is associated with very poor attainment. But I'm not sure there's such good evidence that it's the main cause. Or that this change in the law will have much impact on either attendance or attainment, and certainly not on closing the gap.,
As I've mentioned before, maybe making MP attendence in the House of Commons compulsory would improve performance? ;-)
Could, rather than will, if the wording of letter we've had from the LA is to be believed - it sounded as though there was some discretion on if the fine would be imposed.
Absolutely spot on for when LAs organised holiday periods - it will be even worse when headteachers have the ability to set their own school's holiday periods! Imagine working in one school, having children in two other schools (primary/secondary) and then facing a huge fine because you are unable to take a holiday at any other time!
What discretion is there?
Does it all hinge on the word 'exceptional'?
What if you demonstrate that it is not a holiday? I (and others on a course I taught) took 30 trainee teachers, their mentors and 140 Primary age children to Anglesey for 2 weeks a couple of years ago. The trip was a component of a teacher training programme, sponsored by 3 local authorities. The 'camp' comprised a structured day, in which the students used the outdoor environment to explore (with the school-kids) elements of the KS2 national curriculum in English, History, Science and Technology. Everyone was provided with a homework 'task', and the students as well as the children maintained a diary and folder of their inputs etc.
I asked my lad's localPrimary school (not one involved in the camp) whether he could come. I explained the programme, and showed the head the workbooks etc and how it would support (even amplify) what he was doing at the time. A flat refusal, and even then a threat of some action or other.
In the end I took him, regardless. He had a great time, mixed with youngsters from a range of backgrounds, saw the value of learning about the world around him, experienced the outdoors etc.
Even now I think I'd be prepared to do a stretch inside for what he got out of it.
I realise there are abuses.But some youngsters learn far more on their holidays than in (some) schools where (some of ) the teachers are time-serving, rule-governed and risk-averse.
No. Assuming it's not exceptional (which almost won't be), it'll be recorded as unauthorised.
My impression (and I haven't scrutinised the legislation, am going on the letter our LA sent to all parents) is that, for unauthorised leave, the school and/or the LA can impose the fine. But it's not clear that it will automatically be imposed.
Found the letter - wording is "Parents who take their children on an unauthorised holiday in term time could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice".
Would you want to spend half your day reading letters, deciding whether they can or can't have time off then writing back. Not to mention then having to let the child's teachers individually know.
It's a headache and doesn't just affect the child taking time off.
That's the problem with people who don't understand that their actions have impact on others that isn't immediately obvious.
That's as maybe, but Gove's not introducing it because it's disruptive (which I'd agree doesn't need an expensive study), but because he claims it will improve attainment. Mind you, many of the heads and teachers I know would happily agree that the educational benefits outweigh the disruption.
Our head only wrote back if absence wasn't authorised, which presumably cut down the paperwork a little, even if it felt slightly random.
It is this discretion or wiggle room that I am trying to find out about. Whilst the school files (online) their attendance data, this does not automatically generate penalty notices.
AIUI, the school asks the local authority to issue a notice.
So, there will be a list of unauthorised absences and a separate list of penalty notices issued.
If a school has recorded 20 unauthorised absences, but only asked for 1 penalty notice, what happens?
That is ten pupils,
These have to be dealt with anyway, so dealing with additional absences because of holidays is only marginal - it's not as though it's a brand new task.
And teachers aren't - or shouldn't - be dealing with children in aggregate, or for the convenience of preparing Mr Gove's statistics. If pupil 'A' is sailing through school and takes a couple of authorised days off to enable them to enjoy a family holiday which might not otherwise be feasible, what's the problem; if pupil 'B' is struggling and does the same, shouldn't the school be talking to pupil 'B's parents anyway?
You didn't skip any maths classes, I can tell. ;)
I'm not sure, and I suspect it may be up to the individual LA. It's also possible the govt hasn't actually issued detailed guidance to LAs yet, so they're not sure, and are hedging their bets. The overall tone of the letter we got suggested the Director of Children's services might not be the greatest Gove fan.....
It appears I must have ranted too much about Gove - my iPad is now trying auto-correct all kids of things to "Gove" ;-)
Another point to consider if your child has 100% attendance is the school's target. Ours has a target of 95% (displayed on the parents' noticeboard, so that Ofsted can see it and tick one of their boxes), whereas my son's actual attendance has been 100% every year. This tells me he is due quite a few days off.
And they want to fine me for helping them hit their target!!!!!!
> No - it's not obvious, in just the same way that Rutter (various dates) has been able to argue very convincingly that deviancy is not (necessarily) inherited.
That's irrelevant. I'm not arguing that children of average ability have parents of average ability.
You have a population of children. They have parents. The parents will have a normal distribution of abilities.
Therefore most children have parents of average ability, and 50% of children have parents with below average ability.
I have spoken to our education authority, there is some wiggle room.
The interpretation of exceptional is left to the school.
Fines are not automatic, they are triggered by a request from the school.
The education authority does not check the attendance codes.
Cheers, that's really helpful.
Although it's only certain that most parents have average ability compared to other parents, not necessarily compared to the adult population as a whole, isn't it? If, say, really intelligent people don't tend to have any children.
I also wonder if the fine comes under criminal or civil law, and whether non-payment would actually cause any issues... is this similar to Tesco et al outsourcing their 'parking enforcement' and the outsourced companies not actually having a strong enough case for breach of contract to actually be able to take anybody to court over non payment (they rely on threats and trying to make it look like you have broken teh law etc....). In that case as I understand it they can only sue for losses and the loss of somebody parking for a few hours too long is tiny (much less than their penalty and much less than cost of going to court). What is the loss for a pupil not attending school? Nil in cash terms I assume?
> That's as maybe, but Gove's not introducing it because it's disruptive (which I'd agree doesn't need an expensive study), but because he claims it will improve attainment. Mind you, many of the heads and teachers I know would happily agree that the educational benefits outweigh the disruption.
> Our head only wrote back if absence wasn't authorised, which presumably cut down the paperwork a little, even if it felt slightly random.
The problem is the way statistics are interpreted.
If 10% of pupils are failing and the attendance of all pupils is 90% it becomes difficult to defend even if the 10% of pupils absent are not the 10% of pupils that are failing.
The aim should be for 100% of attendance. If I went to work and asked my boss for a day off and he said no but I took it anyway, I would get fired. Why is it ok to teach out children that its acceptable?
Look at the problems of absence due to sick in some public sectors. If they're 'allowed' 12 days a year sick? Not surprisingly they take 12 days a year is it?
Qualifications, according to Gove.
> If 10% of pupils are failing and the attendance of all pupils is 90% it becomes difficult to defend even if the 10% of pupils absent are not the 10% of pupils that are failing.
I think we'll have to disagree on that one. If (as in that example), the 10% of pupils who are failing are already in school 100% of the time, it seems entirely defensible to me. I realise OFSTED would take a different view, but I don't agree with them.
If you were a Tory MP, didn't ask your boss for leave, but took time off to go to Australia and appear on a reality TV show anyway, it seems you'd be forgiven soon enough......what kind of example does that set?
Out of interest, does anyone know whether this is something that's come out of a concern raised by teachers or something that's been made up purely by the DfE?
> Qualifications, according to Gove.
> I think we'll have to disagree on that one. If (as in that example), the 10% of pupils who are failing are already in school 100% of the time, it seems entirely defensible to me. I realise OFSTED would take a different view, but I don't agree with them.
> If you were a Tory MP, didn't ask your boss for leave, but took time off to go to Australia and appear on a reality TV show anyway, it seems you'd be forgiven soon enough......what kind of example does that set?
You're not disagreeing with me. All I'm pointing out is if a school is not reaching it's educational targets, one of the sticks that will be used to hit them with is absenteeism.
The example of a single MP is a fatuous one. For the majority of us that doesn't hold water.
I think some heads are supportive, at least to a degree - not necessarily because they object to absences, but because they felt threatened by parents if they refused to authorise leave for one child when they'd authorised it for another with different circumstances. Which I can understand.
But I don't think the change was driven by this. It certainly wasn't marketed as such.
But a pointless one (if interpreted without breaking it down). The logical conclusion is not to introduce legislation that reinforces it, but to change how schools are assessed. With is equally within the power of the Department of Education.
you're possibly right about the sledgehammer comment.
I am a teacher. I don't mind if the kids go but if they do:
a) I don't want to go out of my way to get them catching-up: not my problem they were off for no health reason.
b) I don't accept the excuse "but I wasn't here" why? refer to a)
As my username implies, I am a frog, but have been teaching in Scotland for a number of years... attendance by kids in this country is pretty poor. This is my opinions, not based on anything else then personal experience.
I would not fine parents, but I would tell them to get lost if they want me to do extra work for their convenience.
People do come and say "i'll be off for 2 weeks skiing, can you give me a program of work", that's a fair bit of thinking and resource preparing... but never mind!
Geniune (not I had an upset tummy because there was a maths test today)health absences and bearevments, if reasonable length, I'll go the extra mile.
> The absence is either authorised because it is exceptional (rather than 'special' which was the old adjective and could be used for holidays) or unauthorised and subject to fines.
I think you may have got it a bit better now (given your later post, and the lack of any real 'change') but I'm still not aware of absence being recorded as 'special'?
This new law is a joke. My two kids are different schools and not all holiday dates are the same. This means that we no longer get family holidays without breaking the law at certain times of the year.
I have posted the links to the relevant legislation and changes. I don't think I said that absences were recorded as special. The rule was that holidays could be authorised in term time, up to 10 days, in special circumstances. I think they were then logged as authorised holidays.
Of course you didn't :
"The absence is either authorised because it is exceptional (rather than 'special' which was the old adjective and could be used for holidays) or unauthorised "
But you don't seem to remember, or understand the new legislation either.
Are you a teacher?
How absences are recorded is different to how they are described in the legislation. The word special did not feature in the recording of absences, like the word exceptional will not from now.
You words make it seem like you are trying to patronise me.
> ... The word special did not feature in the recording of absences, like the word exceptional will not from now.
Did it ever?
> You words make it seem like you are trying to patronise me.
I was; you didn't answer my questions(s); I'm out of this one now.
> [...] You have a population of children. They have parents. The parents will have a normal distribution of abilities.
> Therefore most children have parents of average ability, and 50% of children have parents with below average ability.
Strictly speaking, if you are assuming 'abilities/intelligence' or any over metric of your choice is measured on a scale from 0 to lots, then you can't have a true normal-type distribution (as you can't have less than 0), in which case you would expect slightly more than half of parents to have below-average abilities.
This is why most men should have a below-average penis length :)
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