Unauthorised Absence from School

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firsttimerSW11
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Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby firsttimerSW11 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:25 pm

Hello
Does anyone know what Wandsworth Council's policy is re unauthorised absence from school?
We missed the boat on booking a ski trip for half term such that everything is booked up.  We are tempted to go the week after. Obviously it will be 5 days off. Child is in reception in a state primary but will be 5 by the end of this term and has never had any other time off for holiday/illness etc.

Have heard of fines/prosecution in some councils but have also heard that the "punishment" varies considerably from council to council.

Thanks for any info.
FT
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coldatchristmas
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby coldatchristmas » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:28 pm

My youngest was given leave off for a skiing holiday a few times but it was a private school,  not sure if that's different?
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Alchemy
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby Alchemy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Wandsworth has a minimum attendance target of 95%, and the Education Welfare Officer reviews attendance records regularly and will probably follow up if attendance falls short of this target.

Personally I think as long as the child has perfect attendance otherwise and is not struggling academically it is acceptable in early years.

Of course you should mention it to the teacher, as it can be disruptive to the class, although end of term typically is messier (as more parents take kids out early) than the beginning of a new term.
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firsttimerSW11
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby firsttimerSW11 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:28 pm

@coldatchristmas I think private schools have more leeway as they self govern to a certain extent whereas my child attends a state primary which is at the mercy of the council, regulation-wise. I doubt very much that the school itself would be too upset as my child has had no other time off but the council is a different matter.

@alchemy I agree with you and I will absolutely mention it to the teacher as well as informing the school officially. Presumably it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence but I don't want to end up being taken to court. I would imagine that Wandsworth Council has bigger fish to fry but it might be that they decide to make an example of someone taking their child off on a ski holiday and come down on me like a ton of bricks which is my main concern.
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Goldhawk
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby Goldhawk » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:34 am

Wandsworth do fine parents but I'm not sure at what attendance level they take action

You only get taken to court if you refuse to pay the fine issued to you
They can fine both parents £60 each per child

This link has info from a previous FOI request
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ ... wandsworth
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mum_1980
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby mum_1980 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:58 pm

I only ever did it once and my kids were off school for a day. I got an email from the school office saying the leave was unauthorised and that was it. I know lots of people in Wandsworth and other boroughs who have taken their kids out of state schools for skiing. 

Obviously, you are not meant to do it, but if your kids have amazing attendance, I personally think travel is an amazing experience for kids and they really won't miss out on their education because of one week away.

I reckon your best bet is asking other parents in your school what they did.
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LastMumStanding
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby LastMumStanding » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:30 am

Private schools are not bound by the same inspection standards as State schools so you can’t read across. Headteachers in state schools are not allowed to authorise in- term leave for non-educational purposes like holidays. However, in practice, low-attendance procedures usually only kick in when a child’s attendance drops below 95% and at that stage it is just a meeting with a school officer (and possibly a governor) - sometimes called an attendance panel - but really just a chance for you to explain (after the event) the circumstances and that it’s not going to be a regular occurrence. (Schools have to do them to demonstrate to Ofsted and the local authority that they take absence seriously and enact their own policies and procedures). Referral to the Council happens usually when attendance falls below 90% and usually prompts a standard warning letter. (Again the LA has to be seen to respond to avoid Ofsted criticism). Statutory fines and court cases are steps further down the road and are rare in the circumstances you describe. Many Wandsworth families take primary age children out of school for one week (for holiday or to visit family overseas or to travel with a parent who is working abroad for a stretch) without any negative consequences where attendance is otherwise good and the child is achieving well in school.
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cynic
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Re: Unauthorised Absence from School

Postby cynic » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:36 pm

Appreciate your question was about local authority policy and its sounds like your decision is already made.
I have several friends who are teachers and even they have mixed views on this.

I would very respectfully suggest you could perhaps informally ask your child’s teacher their opinion on this.
It may depend on the work planned for that exact week, etc.

As a complete aside I would happily pay for some extra hours of teaching to bring my child up to speed, if only such a mechanism existed, this would be a much better use of funds than fines.
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